Play a game of word association with any Howard County football or baseball fan and mention the name of Glenelg's Tim Siders, and the first word uttered will be "speed."
Blazing, breakneck speed.
He was timed in the 40-yard dash at the Maryland Football Combine at 4.5 seconds, but Glenelg coaches have timed him at slightly better.
"He runs a high 4.4," said Gladiators coach John Davis. "At a school like ours, where we haven't had a lot of speed, he's an extremely valuable player. He's one of the fastest players in the county and can break the long one. You'd better have a bunch of folks on him, because hardly anyone can catch him."
Not only does Siders have speed, he has tremendous acceleration, hitting the holes so fast he looks as though he was shot from a cannon.
In Glenelg's run-dominated double wing T offense, he slices through a hole and reaches the secondary so swiftly that it seems he must have lined up out there.
The 5-foot-8, 170-pound senior currently has 519 yards and six touchdowns on 63 carries and is on his way to a second straight 1,000-yard season for the unbeaten Gladiators (4-0 overall, 4-0 league) after spending his sophomore season as a varsity back-up.
His longest run this season was a 65-yard touchdown against Hammond. Last season he ran two of his four kickoff returns back for touchdowns, but hasn't had a chance to return one this season.
"They won't kick it to me," he said.
He has great hands, as he showed with a one-handed catch against Middletown in last season's playoffs. That's been the only catch of his career on a team that almost never passes.
Although he likes playing defense, Siders almost never does, because Davis wants to keep him as fresh and injury-free as possible.
A shoulder injury to Gladiators running back Joe Derwent means a healthy Siders is more important than ever toward Glenelg's success. Derwent is not expected to return until late in the season.
Siders is small but strongly built and has withstood some hard tackling, especially in the last two games when Hammond and Howard keyed on him.
He fumbled for the first time this season against Howard last week, but he also rushed for a season-high 167 yards in the 21-6 victory.
Siders mentions a drive late in the Howard game as one of his best memories. During a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive, he ran up the middle nine times and finished with a 20-yard touchdown run.
"My other top personal memory was a 95-yard kickoff return to open the second half against Mount Hebron last season when the game was still tied," said Siders.
Siders ran track his freshman and sophomore years, but said he prefers team sports. Also an outstanding center fielder on Glenelg's baseball team, he especially enjoys being part of Glenelg's 30-game regular-season football winning streak and 27-game league winning streak.
"The streaks do put some pressure on us because we want to keep them going," he said.
He never played football before high school and said that he never expected to become an All-County player, as he did last season when he ran for more yards than any other Howard County junior.
Siders said he doesn't know where his speed comes from.
"He didn't get it from me," said his father, Mark. "I did a little pole vaulting in high school and that was it. He's a quiet kid who has a lot of heart and will fight through tough times without giving up. He can endure more pain than most people and he's the most honest kid I've ever met."
Siders was selected by the Baltimore Touchdown Club for the Super-22 game last spring in which the top 22 offensive juniors and top 22 defensive juniors squared off.
"He always has a smile,' said Davis. "But he's a tough, hard-nosed kid who can single-handedly beat a team."