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Defending champs rush to 48-14 victory

High School Football

In its first 12 games, the 2008 Century Knights used a balanced offense and opportunistic defense to carry them to the best season in school history.

For a while, that same formula worked in Friday night's Class 2A state semifinal against undefeated River Hill. But the Hawks proved why they're the defending Class 2A state champs and ranked 20th nationally by USA Today.

River Hill rushed for 501 yards on the way to a 48-14 victory over previously undefeated Century.

River Hill advances to Saturday's Class 2A state championship game to face Eastern Technical of Baltimore County at M&T Bank Stadium.

"We ran into a great football team tonight," said Century head coach Tony Shermeyer. "They made big play after big play. But I'm so proud of the way our kids played, and I don't want them to ever forget this season."

River Hill's offense had too much size and speed for a Knight defense that had held opponents to just 9.3 points per game. The Hawks were the big-play team, with four of seven touchdowns coming on runs of 40 yards or more.

Senior tailback Malek Redd gained 279 yards on 16 carries and galloped past the Knights' defense on touchdown runs of 71 and 40 yards. His backfield counterpart, Michael Campanaro, picked up 146 yards on 17 tries before injuring his knee in the third quarter. Campanaro scored three touchdowns in less than three quarters.

"Their speed was the big difference, not only in their backfield but across the board," said Shermeyer, who saw his Knights finish their campaign with a 12-1 mark.

The Knights scored more points against River Hill than any of the Hawks' previous opponents. Century relied on the running of senior Cory Anderlik and the passing of junior quarterback Josh Bordner to senior receiver Luke Wright to stay in the game for three quarters.

The night started roughly for Century, as Redd burst through the defense for a 51-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later, Campanaro went up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Hawks lead.

Midway through the first quarter, the Hawks were driving again before Century defensive back Tyler Chavis pulled down an interception at the Knights' five-yard line.

The visitors embarked on their best offensive series of the night. On fourth-and-one inside the Hawk 20, Anderlik fought off a River Hill defender to catch a short Bordner pass and get a crucial first down. Three plays later, Anderlik's two-yard touchdown concluded the 15-play drive that tied the game at 7-7 with 9:13 left in the second quarter.

The game's turning point came on the next Century possession. On third-and-three from the Hawk 20, Bordner weaved through the River Hill defense for an apparent touchdown. But the Knights were called for holding, and Bordner was sacked for a 17-yard loss on the next play.

On the Hawks' next possession, Redd outraced the Century defense on a 71-yard run that gave the Hawks a 14-7 halftime lead.

Early in the third quarter, River Hill used another big play to extend its lead. After Redd was dropped for a loss on first down, Campanaro found a hole on the right side and raced 62 yards to put the Hawks up by 21-7 at the 10:48 mark. Campanaro scored again on River Hill's next drive, with his two-yard run giving the Hawks a three-touchdown lead.

Century got back in the game with a big play of its own.

Bordner, who was sacked eight times by the Hawk defense, avoided the rush and hit Wright down for a 70-yard score that brought the Knights within 28-14 at the end of the third quarter.

But River Hill countered with a seven-play, 65-yard drive that effectively ended the game. Senior tailback Ryan Griffin concluded the march with a four-yard touchdown.

River Hill extended its lead to 42-14 with 7:50 remaining on Redd's 40-yard touchdown, and reserve Thomas Neuberth rushed for a two-yard touchdown to close the scoring.

"We saw what we expected in the first half," said River Hill head coach Brian Van Deusen. "They had a big running back (Anderlik) who was tough to bring down, their line was good and they mixed in the pass well. But Malek (Redd) stepped up for us and had some great runs, and I think we were able to wear them down a little in the second half."

"They have a great program going here," said Shermeyer of River Hill. "Where they are is where we want to be."

Century enhanced its own football reputation this season. The Knights won their first Carroll County, Blue Ridge Conference, and Class 2A West Region championships on the way to their initial state semifinal appearance.

Century became the first county team to finish the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record since the 1978 North Carroll Panthers, and tied the 2005 Westminster Owls for most victories by a county team in a single season.

Entering the season, Century was the only county school without at least one appearance in the MPSSAA playoffs.

The Knights are well-positioned for 2009. The core of next year's team will include three of this year's top producers: Bordner, tight end-linebacker Zack Zile and defensive tackle Dan Williams.

The Knights will face increased competition for a Class 2A West Region playoff berth, since South Carroll moves up from Class 1A and North Carroll will drop from Class 4A when the new Manchester Valley High opens next fall.

"Our best season before this year was 5-5 (in 2006)," said Anderlik, who led the Century offense with 78 yards on 16 carries and caught four passes for 36 yards. "I don't think anyone expected us to make it this far.

"It's a hard loss, but I think we're taking away the good things," he said. "I hope that the juniors and sophomores can just take it from here."

River Hill 48, Century 14

1 2 3 4 F

Century 0 7 7 0 14

River Hill 7 7 14 20 48

Scoring: River Hill - Michael Campanaro 10 run (Scott Trench kick); Century - Cory Anderlik 2 run (J.P. Hudson kick); River Hill - Malek Redd 71 run (Scott Trench kick); River Hill - Michael Campanaro 62 run (Scott Trench kick); River Hill - Michael Campanaro 2 run (Scott Trench kick); Century - Luke Wright 70 pass from Josh Bordner (J.P. Hudson kick); River Hill - Ryan Griffin 4 run (Scott Trench kick); River Hill - Malek Redd 40 run (Scott Trench kick); River Hill - Thomas Neuberth 2 run (kick blocked).

Rushing: Century - Cory Anderlik 16-78, Mike Conway 1-2, Josh Bordner 12-(-58); River Hill - Malek Redd 16-279, Michael Campanaro 17-146, Ryan Griffin 6-47, Luke Hostetler 3-28, Thomas Neuberth 2-2, Kevin Moore 1-(-1).

Passing: Century - Josh Bordner 13-26-1, 162 yards; River Hill - Luke Hostetler 2-6-0, 29 yards.

Receiving: Century - Luke Wright 4-80, Cory Anderlik 4-36, Mike Conway 2-19, Zack Zile 2-16, Robbie Castor 1-11; River Hill - Nick Bonhag 2-29.

First Downs: Century - 12, River Hill - 22.

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