Vince DePaola wanted to shoulder the burden for Hereford High’s offense Friday evening against Franklin.

“Big players made big plays in big games,” DePaola said later.

In the Bulls’ biggest outing of the fall, DePaola was ginormous. The senior running back rushed for 234 yards on 41 carries and a score, leading the No. 7 Bulls to a 14-6 decision over previously unbeaten and 10th ranked Indians at McWilliams Stadium in Reisterstown.

Greg Fultz had a fourth-quarter touchdown run for Hereford (7-1 overall), which claimed sole possession of first in the Baltimore County 3A/4A league (5-0). Franklin (7-1, 4-1 3A/4A ) received a 56-yard touchdown run from senior Mark Venable for its lone points.

The Bulls dashed Franklin’s hopes of a perfect regular season with DePaola and an impressive defensive effort. Hereford coach Steve Turnbaugh said his team succeeded in controlling the clock.

“We knew we had to have sustained drives and we knew we probably our best chance was to keep their offense off the field,” said Turnbaugh. “We had some missed opportunities, but the offense made the plays when they had to make them.”

The Bulls took advantage of field position, going 42 yards in seven plays as Fultz opened the final quarter with a seven-yard touchdown run. DePaola established the drive with 20 yards on five carries.

“We probably had our best week of practice this season,” said DePaola. “We knew they were coming in pretty confident.”

Which is something DePaola, who missed most of last season due to injury, has lacked at times this season. Turnbaugh said DePaola has fumbled the ball several times.

“He came to us today and he goes, ‘I’ll win this game tonight,’” said Turnbaugh. “He obviously came through.”

DePaola made his presence felt immediately Friday with help up front from seniors Scott Niles and Tim Ball, juniors  Zach Bosley, Brennan Butz and Ken Butz and sophomore Justin McClure. He opened the game with seven straight carries for 67 yards, 32 on a burst up the middle and into the end zone for a 7-0 advantage.

austin brown, scott niles, tim bristol and cory nettletonFranklin needed only two plays as Venable (95 yards) out ran the Hereford defense for the 56-yard touchdown. But the Bulls’ defense kept the Indians at bay, including a pair of denials inside the Hereford’s five.

“We were just all over them,” said Hereford junior linebacker Cory Nettleton. “We knew what they were doing every time.”

Nettleton, who emerged as Hereford’s best defensive player after being a reserve last year, brought down Franklin’s Joey Dorsey for a nine-yard loss on a fake field goal attempt. Nettleton (six tackles) caught Navassa Brown in the backfield on a quick screen pass for a nine-yard loss the play prior.

Franklin advanced the ball to the Bulls’ four-yard line on the opening drive of the second half, but junior linebacker Austin Brown (eight tackles) blocked Jake Gibson’s 22-yard attempt. Tim Bristol had a pair of interceptions and junior Zach Bosley recorded a sack as the Bulls kept constant pressure up the middle against Dorsey (6 for 15, 82 yards).

“Our defensive line was great. I don’t think Dorsey was expecting the pressure,” said DePaola, who played safety on defense. “Isaiah Taylor shut down 21 [Franklin’s Ian Thomas] their big-time receiver along with Joey Jones. Everyone did their job tonight.”

Especially DePaola, who had 106 yards in the first quarter alone. Franklin coach Anthony Burgos said his team couldn’t stop him consistently.

“We knew he was going to get the ball,” said Burgos, whose team came in averaging nearly 45 points a game. “He’s a tough kid; keeps his feet moving.”

DePaola’s mom and several friends congratulated him as he walked out the stadium and towards Hereford’s bus. One of his friends lauded the performance.

“It was alright,” DePaola replied.


No. 7 Hereford 14, No. 10 Franklin 6
1st Q
H-DePaola 32 run (Ruark kick) 
F-Venable 56 run (kick blocked)
4th Q
H-Fultz 7 run (Ruark kick)