- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Huntingtown is headed back to the state playoffs after upending Southern Maryland Athletic Conference foe Westlake 29-7 in the Class 3A South Region championship on Friday.
The Hurricanes (11-1 overall) received two rushing touchdowns from Arnez Bowens and a quick-strike 75-yard pass from quarterback Zach Piazza to Brian Rawlings to upend Westlake (8-4).
Bryson Curtis put the nail in the coffin with a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines defeated Huntingtown 14-7 on Oct. 19, the Hurricanes' only loss of the season.
"It's a great feeling and it's our last year playing and this is the best team I've ever been on," said Piazza, who completed 5 of 9 passes for 129 yards. "We've got a shot and I'm ready to take that shot."
Huntingtown will travel to Milford Mill of Baltimore County (11-1), the 3A North Region champion, at 1 p.m. Saturday in the 3A state semifinals.
River Hill of Howard County, the East Region champion, will battle Urbana of Frederick County, the representative from the West, in the other state semifinal that will be played on Friday.
This is the Hurricanes' fourth straight trip to the state tournament, which includes a state final appearance in 2009.
"We've been here before, but every year it's special," Huntingtown first-year head coach Brendan Galligan said. "Last year's loss [to Thomas Johnson at home in the state semifinals] hurt. It lingers, it's with you in the offseason, it's with you in two-a-days [practices]. It left a bad taste in our mouth last year and I think it was a good motivator this summer."
Trailing 7-0, Westlake tied the game with 59 seconds left until halftime when Desmond Holley sliced into the end zone from two yards out to complete a 10-play, 72-yard drive.
But on Huntingtown's next offensive play, Piazza aired one out to Rawlings, who had slipped behind the defense and caught the ball in mid-stride for a 75-yard score.
The Hurricanes moved ahead 22-7 in the third quarter when Bowens (24 carries, 159 yards) scored from six yards out.
Westlake turned the ball over on three of its next four possessions, the final one resulting in Curtis' defense score.
"It's not so much as frustrating as the way we lost. We blew assignments, we did things that we worked on, we just had a lot of mental letdowns," said Westlake first-year head coach Marlon Curtis. "They came in and wanted to set the tone physically and they did that. They knocked us off the ball and we responded too late to make something happen."
Huntingtown 29, Westlake 7
Westlake 0 7 0 0
Huntingtown 0 15 7 7
H – Bowens 12 run (Reeves kick), 6:01
W – Holley 2 run (Stevenson kick), 11:01
H – Rawlings 75 pass from Piazza (Bowens run), 11:17
H – Bowens 6 run (Reeves kick), 11:34
H – Curtis 38 interception return (Reeves kick), 7:59
W (11 first downs, 32-128 rushing, 56 passing, 2-0 fumbles, 11-77 penalties)
H (12 first downs, 43-267 rushing, 129 passing, 4-2 fumbles, 7-45 penalties)
Top individual performers
Rushing – W: Holley 12-92, Brooks 7-27; H: Bowens 24-159, Rowe 6-87
Passing – W: Roddy 3-10-2 34; H: Piazza 5-9-0 129
Receiving – W: Napoleon 2-31; H: Rawlings 3-99, Woodburn 1-21