Hereford High put an exclamation point on its regular season, piling up 476 rushing yards in a 49-14 drubbing over Perry Hall to clinch the Baltimore County 3A/4A league title in Parkton Friday evening.
The senior tandem of Vince DePaola and Tim Bristol spearheaded the Bulls’ charge to a ninth straight decision. DePaola rushed for 198 yards and four touchdowns, and Bristol finished with 176 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.
“All the credit goes to our offensive line,” said DePaola, whose team improved to 9-1 overall and finished a perfect 7-0 in 3A/4A play. “They gave us great holes to run through all night.”
While Hereford’s offensive line dominated from start to finish, its defense smothered Perry Hall (7-3, 5-2 3A/4A). After stopping the Gators on the opening possession, Hereford went right to work.
Hereford ripped off an 80-yard drive in five plays as Bristol accounted for 71 yards alone on his first two carries. DePaola opened the floodgates with his two-yard touchdown run.
The Bulls’ offense marched up and down the field at will in the first half. DePaola had 142 yards on 18 carries in the first 24 minutes while Bristol accounted for 156 yards on nine carries.
“Our offensive line did a great job,” said Hereford coach Steve Turnbaugh. “We don’t have starter back on the offensive line this year. They’re either young kids or senior first-year players and they’ve all really developed, taking a lot of pride in what they do.”
The Bulls’ defense held Perry Hall’s no-huddle offense to 25 first half yards on the ground. They also relentlessly harassed the Gator junior quarterback Mike DeBaugh, who absorbed some punishing hits in the pockets.
“The old expression is that the best pass defense is a pass rush and we come up with a lot of different ways to get to the quarterback,” said Turnbaugh. “It was a complete team effort. Our coaches did a good job of game-planning and our kids executed.”
The quick-strike ability of Perry Hall’s fast-tempo offense was evident when DeBaugh connected on consecutive scoring passes near the end of the second quarter, a 45-yarder to senior receiver Jamal Craig and a 73-yard middle screen that senior tight end Antoine Snyder (two receptions, 145 yards) showed some excellent vision, burst and power.
Those highlight plays were an anomaly as Hereford’s thorough toughness and precision was too much for the Gators, who will play either Patterson or Frederick County’s Urbana in the Class 4A North Region playoffs next weekend.
Hereford will host Franklin in the opening round of the Class 3A North playoffs next weekend.
“Going into the first game, we had one returning starter,” said Turnbaugh, whose team only loss came against unbeaten and No. 6 North Harford. “We lost, pulled our players aside and said, ‘Alright, you’re no longer virgins, you’ve got to build from this.’”