Glenelg's Nick Crabil runs for a touchdown after receiving… (Noah Scialom, Patuxent…)
The race for the Howard County championship entered week eight with two teams ahead of the pack, and finished with the same two teams deadlocked in a tie for first place: No. 4 Atholton (7-1) and No. 15 Glenelg (7-1).
Atholton shut out defending 3A state champion Wilde Lake (4-4), 35-0, Saturday while Glenelg scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to get past Howard (5-3), 35-13.
The Lions led 7-0 after the first quarter and cut Glenelg's lead to 14-13 with 23 seconds left in the third quarter. But when Glenelg scored on a 72-yard hook-and-ladder play from Mark Darden to Curran Robertson to Nick Crabill, the balance swayed in the Gladiators' favor.
"They were making some plays and we weren't, and fortunately that changed the momentum a little bit on our side," Glenelg coach Butch Schaffer said.
After that, Joe Tolbert stripped a ball free from a Howard receiver at midfield, and Ryan Perry recovered a blocked Glenelg field goal attempt and returned it to Howard's 5-yard line, setting up a short touchdown run by Glenn Lucas. JT Komsa's 80-yard fumble return for a score with 1:23 remaining turned the game into a blowout.
"We were really fortunate to get a couple big plays on some freak kind of things," Schaffer said.
Glenelg plays at River Hill (6-2) Oct. 28 and finishes the season Nov. 4 with a home game against winless Marriotts Ridge.
"River Hill's playing tremendous, they're back to the old River Hill," Schaffer said. "They've got their guys healthy, and it's going to be a battle. It's going to be a big challenge for us, and I think our young kids are going to come to play."
Atholton's remaining games are home against Mt. Hebron (3-5) on Oct. 29 and at Centennial (0-8) on Nov. 4. Atholton outscored Glenelg 39-0 in their Week 1 game, but the Raiders had to forfeit because of a practice violation.