Atholton’s football coach Kyle Schmitt knew that no matter what happened in Friday night’s game against visiting Wilde Lake, these same two teams would be squaring off again next week in the semifinal round of the Class 3A East Regional playoffs.

However, he knew if his Raiders had won, next week’s contest would be held at Atholton and Schmitt likes playing at home.  In 11 career home games, over the past two seasons, the No. 18 Raiders are 10-1 with the lone loss coming in the last seconds against Hammond earlier in the year.

“It is important for us to play here,” said Schmitt.  “I told the kids that home playoff games are big, for program in general, but for us, we haven’t loss much at home.  It was important to get it here one more time.”

Behind a rugged offensive line, comprised of Paul Federinko, Colin Gordon, Zach Plotkin, Kyle Gordon and Adam Brown, King rushed for 212 yards on 20 carries and scored twice for the Raiders (8-2 overall and in Howard County).  Junior quarterback Brian McMahon plunged into the end zone twice on one-yard sneaks to give Atholton a 27-15 victory.

“This game gave me a lot of confidence because I had two big touchdown runs against them,” said King.  “I’m just looking forward to doing the same thing next week.  The line was blocking really well and they just couldn’t stop it.”

Wildecats senior running back Khalil Viera ran for 85 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.  Backfield mates E.J. Gilman and A.J. Harris combined for 177 yards on the ground but the Wilde Lake defense had no answer for King.

“This was a great football game that was played by two great teams,” said Wilde Lake coach Mike Harrison.  “It didn’t turn out our way. We made a couple mistakes that I think cost us but this game made it a lot easier for scouting this week.  We’re going to watch the game film, be ready, come back next Friday night and we’ll see what happens.”

Wilde Lake (7-3, 7-3) marched down the field on the opening drive, spanning 13-plays and covering 63 yards on the ground but the Raiders defense stuffed Gilman on a fourth-and-one play at the Atholton five-yard line.

Backed up deep in his own end, McMahon had an errant snap bounce off of his hands and King recovered it in the end zone for a safety, giving Wilde Lake an early 2-0 lead.

The score remained unchanged until King jump-started Atholton’s offense with a 39-yard run to put the Raiders in Wilde Lake territory. Seven plays later, McMahon plunged into the end zone on a quarterback sneak with 7.8 seconds left in the half.

After halftime, King took the first play from scrimmage 65-yards for a score, giving the Raiders a 14-2 advantage.

Late in the third quarter, Wilde Lake quarterback Joe Kelly found senior wide receiver E’Ron Pruitt for a 25-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 14-8.

On the next drive, McMahon answered with another one-yard keeper for a score that was set up by a big kickoff return by Curtis Pumphrey (10 tackles).

“The line was blocking great tonight,” said McMahon.  “We were just going up the middle on them and gashing them, it was working.”

Three plays later, the Wildecats responded again with a 57-yard scamper by Viera, putting the score at 21-15.

Each time Wilde Lake got close, Atholton’s offense halted the momentum with a big play.  With 1:44 left in the game, King made magic happen again, this time running for a 42-yard touchdown that put the game away for the Raiders.

“I think [the win] gives us confidence but they will probably show us something new and we’ll show them something new, so it’s a little bit of a chess match,” Schmitt said.  “You’d rather be on the winning side than the losing, so we’ll take that.”


No. 18 Atholton 27, Wilde Lake 15
Wilde Lake
1st Q
WL- Safety – 3:04
2nd Q
A-McMahon 1 run (Haas kick) – 0:07
3rd Q
A-King 65 run (Haas kick) – 11:49
WL-Pruitt 25 pass from Kelly (kick failed) – 1:25
4th Q
A-McMahon 1 run (Haas kick) – 11:55
WL-Viera 57 run (Kelly kick) – 10:15
A-King 42 run (pass failed)