A weak nonleague schedule left some skeptics wondering just how good the Hammond Bears are this season. The Bears hope they've put any doubts to rest.
They are now the only undefeated Howard County football team.
Hammond (4-0 overall, 1-0 league) dampened Glenelg's homecoming celebration by defeating the Gladiators, 44-13, yesterday.
"Everyone said we haven't played many good teams but we know what we can do," said running back and defensive Josh Zillmer, who kicked five extra points and a 28-yard field goal, threw a 32-yard halfback option pass, made a 42-yard run and had an interception.
Glenelg (2-2, 0-1) had made just two turnovers all season, but made five turnovers and had a punt blocked. Four of the turnovers and the blocked punt led to Hammond scores.
The Bears' defense held Glenelg's running game to 10 yards in the first half and pressured Glenelg's sophomore quarterback Beau Pich (9-for-23, 123 yards, two touchdowns) into three interceptions and two fumbles.
The Bears' balanced offense was able to pass or run almost at will. It had 177 yards rushing and 83 yards passing in the first half.
Fullback Ron Gamble scored four touchdowns on short runs behind the blocking of Tim Spruill and Hansel Henry.
"I had huge holes to run through," the 230-pound Gamble said. "And they weren't making good tackles."
Henry had a big game. Not only did he throw some key blocks, he sacked the quarterback and caused a fumble that led to a touchdown. He also blocked a punt and made an interception, both leading to touchdowns.
Wide receiver Mike Bright scored on touchdown passes of 31 and 25 yards.
Hammond's balanced attack put the game away by halftime when it was 30-7.
A pass interference penalty against Glenelg provided the impetus for Hammond's first touchdown. The Gladiators had Hammond backed up to the 9-yard line, but the penalty moved the ball to the 25-yard line.
From there it took just four plays to score with a 42-yard run by Zillmer setting up a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tim Spruill to Mike Bright.
Hammond's second score followed a Glenelg punt that was blocked by Henry and recovered by William Oliver at the Glenelg 3-yard line.
Gamble eventually scored on a 1-yard plunge and Zillmer's kick made it, 14-0.
An interception by Henry at Hammond's 39-yard line led to Hammond's fourth touchdown. Gamble scored on an 11-yard run.
An interception by Zillmer at Hammond's 40-yard line led to a field goal and a 30-7 score.
The second half was much like the first with Hammond scoring on its first two possessions after fumbles by Glenelg.
"Their speed was what bothered us the most," Glenelg coach Steve Martinec said.
"They had two great linebackers in 34 [Vince Sharps] and 44 [Gamble]. They played with super intensity and are the first team to pressure our quarterback."
* Wilde Lake 36, Mount Hebron 12: Dain Lewis scored two touchdowns and rushed for 109 yards to lift Wilde Lake (3-1) over visiting Mount Hebron (2-2).
Jeff Johnson completed 11 of passes for 235 yards.
Barrett Wragg caught five passes for 126 yards and one touchdown.