Howard uses `D' to get `W'



Offended by the way it played two Fridays ago against Glenelg, the Howard football team went on the defensive to get back on track against Wilde Lake Saturday.

The Lions caused six turnovers - returning two for touchdowns - to come away with a satisfying 26-7 win over the Wildecats.

The defensive scheme Howard coach Dave Glenn devised against Wilde Lake's big offensive line presented a lot of different looks, with pressure coming from all directions.

"We didn't want to be stale with anything, so we wanted them to be thinking, every time, `What's going on here? Do we block this one or that one?' and just pressure them," Glenn said. "We kind of got away from what we wanted to do against Glenelg [a 48-20 loss], so we wanted to get back to playing our game and not let other teams dictate what we do. We dictate to them."

Junior linebacker Marcus Randolph was the Lions' biggest threat Saturday. He finished with seven solo tackles - including three for losses - and iced the win with a 17-yard fumble recovery. Junior cornerback Anthony Elliott started the Lions' turnover-for-touchdown trend with a 65-yard interception return that gave the Lions a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.

"Against Glenelg, our defense was made fun of and we knew we were better than that, so we wanted to prove it," said Randolph. "We were definitely going for the turnovers, playing aggressive and disciplined. We have speed and power - we have it all - and there's no individuals on defense. We play as a team."

It was the Lions' first win over Wilde Lake since 1999.

Sisterly rivals

The dinnertime chatter at the Gibbons residence in Columbia has some extra spice this fall.

That's what happens when you have sisters playing on rival soccer teams.

With Alex Gibbons in her senior season at Notre Dame Prep and Megan Gibbons a freshman at McDonogh - each a starting midfielder for her team - the sibling rivalry began.

"We're both really competitive, so we've been talking a little - it's been fun. It steps up the intensity and makes me want to win even more," said Alex.

Round one, however, went to little sis Megan, and she was a big reason why.

The two teams met on Sept. 13 and McDonogh came away with a 4-3 win. Megan scored an insurance goal in the second half to give the Eagles a 4-2 lead that turned out to be the game-winner when Notre Dame Prep scored in the game's closing minutes.

It was the first time the two played against each other in a game, and they crossed paths in the middle of the field plenty.

"One time, we were both going for the ball - both pushing on each other - and I won it, but then got a foul called on me. Alex knew it was her fault and she laughed at me," said Megan.

Although she thoroughly enjoyed the win, Megan made sure to keep quiet during the drive home together.

"She knows better," said Alex.

More than just luck

River Hill freshman Katie Harman had an inkling that she would fare well at the Knights Invite Friday.

"I found my first four-leaf clover before the race," said Harman, who won her first invitational with a time of 19 minutes, 26.84 seconds. "I thought it would be lucky."

Luck isn't the word Hawks coach Earl Lauer would use to describe Harman's accomplishments this fall, which include a third-place showing in the large schools division at the Bull Run Invitational and a sixth-place effort at the Howard County Striders Invitational.

Lauer - who coached Carolyn Forde, holder of the Class 2A state record in the 3,200-meter run, and Lee McDuff, a Class 3A state titlist in cross country - said he thinks Harman has the potential to surpass Forde and McDuff.

"She's untapped," Lauer said. "She has the ability, and she's got the fire and desire."

Mengel leads defense

While the offense for the No. 5 Mount Hebron field hockey team has scored a staggering 24 goals in its 6-0 start, the Vikings' defense has posted four shutouts.

Holding it all together in the center is senior Alex Mengel.

"Alex has a real steady stick and she stays so calm back there. Rarely does she get beat - she always makes incredible stops and starts the ball back up to our attack," Mount Hebron coach Jeanette Ireland said.

Coming off a 3-2 overtime win against Centennial Friday, the Vikings will get another test today when they visit No. 6 Century.

Making mark in `B'

The Glenelg Country boys soccer team is more than holding its own after making a jump to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference this season, competing in the second division.

The Dragons, the C Conference champs last year, went into the week 4-1-2 overall, and their 3-1-2 mark in league competition puts them only behind defending champ Boys' Latin and Friends, which are both 4-1-1.

Welcome back

A welcome sight for the Atholton girls soccer team is junior standout Kate Nicholson, who's healthy after rehabilitating a medial collateral ligament tear.

A first-team All-County selection last season, Nicholson will likely see time at center midfield and forward for the Raiders, who went into the week with a 2-2-1 record without her.

"She's fast, has great foot skills and is pretty much all over the field," said Atholton coach Stephanie Stoutenborough.

Sun staff writer Edward Lee contributed to this article.)

Numbers game

0 -- Goals allowed by the No. 2 Glenelg girls soccer team in its 5-0 start. Going into the week, the Gladiators had outscored their opponents 15-0.

8 -- Players who scored touchdowns for Glenelg in its 64-7 win over Oakland Mills Friday night.

33 -- Saves made by Centennial's field hockey goalie, Chelsea Farley, in a 3-2 overtime loss to No. 5 Mount Hebron Friday. Said Mount Hebron coach Jeanette Ireland: "In the first half I was thinking, `OK, this one is definitely going in,' and she kept stopping them."

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