Class 3A East Region championship
River Hill (9-2) vs. Atholton (10-1)
Last week: River Hill defeated Howard, 33-0; Atholton defeated Stephen Decatur, 49-0
Outlook: For the second consecutive season, two Howard County rivals compete for a berth in the 3A state semifinals. The Raiders and Hawks had little issues in their postseason opener last weekend.
No. 8 River Hill secured its 7th straight region finals appearance with its shutout of Howard. Evan Griffin scored a pair of touchdowns and senior Randall Lawson picked a blocked Howard field goal and return 80 yards for another score.
The Hawks, who missed the state semifinals last season for the first time since 2004, have won seven straight following their first two-game losing streak in years. The Clarksville school has outscored the opposition, 288-33, during its run.
No. 6 Atholton, which dethroned River Hill as county champions remained unbeaten on the field with a romp over Stephen Decatur. The Raiders had a running clock in the first half as built a 42-0 advantage at intermission.
Dequan Ellison caught three scoring passes from senior quarterback Brian McMahon, and Kenny Thomas (138 yards rushing) and Jorry Matherson (104) combined for three touchdowns. The Columbia school forfeited its opening victory to Glenelg, but has won all 10 of its on-field decisions.
The Raiders’ defense provided arguably the team’s biggest victory this season, a 14-0 decision over River Hill, in week three in Clarksvillle. It was the second consecutive season Atholton shutdown the Hawks’ offense.
A McMahon to Ellison 33-yard pass play in the opening quarter, and a three-yard run by Thomas in the fourth quarter was all the Raiders needed. Cameron Fogle had a sack and a fumble recovery as Atholton limited River Hill to 60 yards and two first downs.
The Raiders seek their first state semifinal berth. In 2005, Atholton lost to eventual 2A state champ Potomac from Prince George’s County in the South Region finals. River Hill defeated the Raiders in the 2009 3A East Region title game.