Members of the Glen Burnie High football may not all come from the same household, but they are a family.
And after rolling past Meade, 16-0, Friday night for their fifth straight win in six starts, the Gophers have become one big happy family.
"Last year, we had some good guys on the team, but they were playing for their own good," said senior running back Andrew Baldwin, who entered the ball game as the Gophers' leading rusher with three touchdowns and 434 yards on 70 carries for a 6.2 yards-per-carry average.
"This year, we're more together, and we play as a team. We won't be satisfied until we make to the states."
Baldwin had a below-average day on the wet turf but still managed to pick up a game-high 47 yards on 11 carries.
Senior middle linebacker William Dorsey, who led the Gophers' stingy defense with 13 tackles, echoed Baldwin's evaluation of this year's squad.
"This year, we're a family," said Dorsey, a 6-foot-1, 200-pounder. "We practice hard all week, and we won't be satisfied until we beat every team in the county. We want to take it to the hill."
While the threatening skies were kind to the crowd on hand at "Pop" Whalen Field in the first half, the Gophers were all but gentle on their guests from Fort Meade.
Meade helped out its host on its first play from scrimmage when quarterback John Oxendine fumbled, giving the Gophers possession with only 23 yards of real estate between them and the end zone. Glen Burnie failed to get a first down on its first three run attempts but still managed to put three points on the scoreboard when junior kicker Daniel Whitmoyer found his range from 31 yards out.
After exchanging punts much of the rest of the first quarter, the Mustangs tried to a fake punt to start the second quarter, with fourth-and-seven at their own 39-yard-line. Fullback Mike Brogden snagged the snap from center and nearly got the needed yardage before being whipped out of bounds by Dorsey.
Two plays later, the Gophers made the Mustangs pay for their chancy play when senior signal caller Carlton Ash connected with Lee Kinzler on a 43-yard touchdown strike down the left sideline. The Gophers' point-after attempt was swatted down by Brogden, but the hosts still led at the half, 9-0.
"I think that first fumble was the turning point," said Meade first-year coach Hayse Henderson, standing in the rain after watching his team fall to 1-5. "We couldn't get anything going after that."
Players and coaches were greeted the second half by a downpour that made even the simplest handoff a victory in itself. Meade's young offensive unit appeared to be more bothered by the conditions, as it fumbled away the ball three times in the contest.
The only highlights for the Meade crowd were a trio of punts by senior Quinn Huggins, which traveled 63, 55 and 60 yards, respectively.
Huggins brought Meade fans to their feet in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter when he intercepted an Ash pass and ran it out to the 10-yard line. The Mustangs' celebration was short-lived; however, as Oxendine fumbled at the 2-yard line following a sack by Ash. After defensive tackle Samuel Bestpitch recovered, the Gophers needed only one play to reach pay dirt. Baldwin was given the nod on the 2-yard dive and with 7:03 on the clock, Glen Burnie was in command, 16-0.
"The kids are really hungry," said a wet but cheerful Glen Burnie coach Dave Rigot. "They just want to win. Last year they got a taste of victory, and this year they just don't want to give up."