TD with :07 left makes Glenelg champions

Hamilton's score earns 28-21 win over Wilde Lake, 1st county title in 16 years

High Schools

Football

November 04, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

It had been awhile - 16 years to be exact - since Glenelg last won a Howard County football championship. Yesterday, the Gladiators' long wait yesterday in dramatic fashion as Jay Hamilton scored the winning touchdown with seven seconds left and Glenelg defeated host Wilde Lake, 28-21.

"If you know you can win, you always have that drive to keep on pounding it and pounding it, no matter who you play," Hamilton said. "That's what this team is all about this year. We have confidence and we believe we're the best."

It would be tough to find someone who could argue otherwise. Glenelg (9-0 overall, 8-0 in county) has been the toast of the league this year, and holds a three game lead over Centennial (6-3, 5-3), Oakland Mills (5-4, 5-3) and Long Reach (6-3, 5-3) with only one game left in the season.

"It's an awesome feeling," said Glenelg coach John Davis. "It's well deserved. These guys have made the sacrifices necessary and to see the look in their eyes is so satisfying."

But Glenelg's coronation didn't come without several nervous moments.

Wilde Lake (5-4, 4-4), which knows a thing or two about what it takes to win county titles, played an inspired game and was in a great position to win thanks to Austin Merrills, who rushed for 191 yards on 27 carries.

The Wildecats tied the game at 21 with four minutes remaining on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Charles Berlin to Cameron Golden, and even got the ball back at their own 20-yard line with 40 seconds by forcing Glenelg to punt. But on Wilde Lake's very first play from scrimmage after regaining possession, Berlin was intercepted by Glenelg linebacker Lee Hufnagel at the 30-yard line, and instead preparing for a potential overtime, the Gladiators were in a prime position to win."[Berlin] was rolling out and I just followed him," Hufnagel said. "It wasn't even my coverage really, but he just happened to throw it right to me. We knew we could kick a field goal from there if we had to."

They didn't need to rely on a field because of Hamilton, who had to carry a much bigger load than normal after Glenelg running back Kevin Ganascioli - who scored six touchdown a week ago - left the game with a sprained foot in the second quarter. Hamilton rushed for 83 hard yards, 20 on his second touchdown of the game with the clock winding down.

"I saw how much time was on the clock and I was just looking at the end zone thinking nothing's going to stop me," Hamilton said. "I knew I had to suck it up and make a play for us.

"It feels good to put Glenelg back on the map," he added. "We know teams are gunning for us, but even when we don't play our best, we can suck it up and wear you down in the end."

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