Second-ranked Glenelg's old-fashioned double-wing T offense ran into a stone wall yesterday afternoon in the Class 2A state football quarterfinals.
Kevin Ganascioli and Jay Hamilton, the Gladiators' two 1,000-yard rushers, were held to a total of 78 yards on 27 carries as undefeated Middletown of Frederick County defeated previously unbeaten Glenelg, 7-0, before a crowd of approximately 2,500 at Glenelg.
The sixth-seeded Knights (11-0), who were making their sixth playoff appearance in the past seven years, will travel next week to second-seeded Joppatowne for a semifinal. Middletown's last trip to the state final was in 1991.
Glenelg (10-1) was making its second straight playoff trip, but the Gladiators have failed to advance past the semifinal round. Glenelg is 1-5 all time in the state playoffs, with the school's only win coming last year in a 1A quarterfinal game against Oakland Mills.
Yesterday, Middletown outgained Glenelg 262-138 in total offense and held an 18-9 advantage in first downs. Ganascioli, who rushed for 1,022 yards during the regular season, finished the afternoon with 48 yards on 15 carries. Hamilton, who had 1,060 yards rushing in the regular season, was held to 30 yards on 12 carries.
"I give them credit. They were an awesome football team," Ganascioli said. "I think we played a great game. They just came out with the upper hand."
Middletown running back Josh Keeney gained more yards than the entire Glenelg offense, accounting for 72 percent of his team's production. Keeney, who has already set a Middletown single-season rushing record with 1,773 yards and counting, amassed 189 yards on 39 attempts and scored the game's only touchdown.
That lone score came on a nine-play, 53-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard Keeney run with 6:25 remaining in the first half. On that drive, Keeney carried the ball six times for 42 yards.
Glenelg, which gained 53 yards and did not attempt a pass in the first half, had its best chance to tie the score when it drove to Middletown's 26-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
But facing a second-and-nine with 9:33 to play in regulation, junior quarterback Tim Phelps - who threw just four passes - was intercepted over the middle by Middletown defensive back Kyle Swanson.
Middletown 0 7 0 0 - 7
Glenelg 0 0 0 0 - 0
M-Keeney 3 run (O'Leary kick)