The Howard County football championship is rarely a climactic event. And that is true for Glenelg, even though the Gladiators clinched their first championship in a decade with a 33-0 shutout of Atholton last Friday.
"It's a great accomplishment because our county is so tough every year," said Glenelg coach Butch Schaffer, whose 9-1 team will host No. 4 Reservoir (7-3) in a 3A East regional semifinal Friday night at 7. "We're proud of (the county championship,) but now we're looking for bigger and better things."
Glenelg and Reservoir — which played earlier this season with Glenelg winning, 24-6 — are two of five Howard County teams in the playoffs, joining Hammond, Howard and River Hill.
Scroll down for capsule looks at each Howard County playoff game.
Although Hammond has lost two of its last three games — including a 53-19 blowout at Centennial (7-3) last week — the Golden Bears secured the No. 4 seed in the 2A South. First-year coach Justin Carey is excited to have the opportunity to continue the season Friday night at undefeated Patuxent, which is an almost 80-mile busride south.
"We're very appreciative. You never take any opportunity for granted," said Carey, whose team will face an opponent that gave up an average of 19 points per game. "They can be scored on ... and we have all the tools in the world to score."
With quarterback Tyler Martin (107/178, 1,664 yards, 19 TDs, 4 INTs) throwing to tight end Brendan Urban (43 catches, 588 yards, 4 TDs) and sophomore receiver Deandre House (25, 537, 9), the Golden Bears have been strong on offense.
Howard (8-2) takes a four-game winning streak to second-seeded Perry Hall (9-1) in the 4A North regional semifinals. It will be the first time a Howard County football team has played in a 4A playoff game. The Lions' last playoff win came in 1999. Perry Hall has won nine in a row since opening the season with a 9-7 loss to North Harford.
Playing Saturday at 1 p.m., River Hill (8-2) visits City College (8-2) in the Hawks' return to the postseason after winning back-to-back state championships. But after losing twice in a three-game span, this year has been a challenge for the Hawks, who finished 14-0 in 2012.
"We know that back in 2011 they (the Hawks) lost two games and ended up winning the whole thing, so we've just been telling ourselves that we're not out of it until we're out of it," River Hill captain Anthony Corrao said. "There's always that chance. And if we keep fighting and putting the work in, it will eventually pay off and we'll get to where we want to be."
No. 4 Hammond (6-4, 259 points for, 225 points against, one shutout) at No. 1 Patuxent (10-0, 333-181, no shutouts), Friday at 7 p.m.
Top players (offense)
Hammond: QB Tyler Martin (107/178, 1,664 yards, 19 TDs, 4 INT, 473 rushing yards, 6 TDs); TE Brendan Urban (43 catches, 588 yards, 4 TDs); WR Deandre House (25 catches, 537 yards, 9 TDs); RB Talib Hedgepeth (518 rushing yards, 4 TDs).
Patuxent: QB Tyler Crounse (57/116, 884 yards, 10 TDs, 5 INT, 1,519 rushing yards, 10 TDs); RB Rafiq Douglas (918 yards, 16 TDs); WR Laron Gross (10 catches, 134 yards, 1 TD).
Top players (defense)
Hammond: LB Drequan Reed (91 tackles, 4.5 sacks); LB Pierre Sylvert (74 tackles, 5 sacks); S Saul Whittaker (58 tackles); DE Deandre Cummings (45 tackles, 7 sacks); DB Deandre House (40 tackles, 6 interceptions).
Patuxent: LB Austin Criss (109 tackles, 8 for loss), LB Geoff Ricker (105 tackles, 14 for loss, 4 sacks), LB Mike Henry (101 tackles, 9 for loss, 4 sacks); DB Joey Parsons (54 tackles, 5 interceptions, 13 passes defended).
No. 4 Reservoir (7-3, 254-181, no shutouts) at No. 1 Glenelg (9-1, 272-62, two shutouts), Friday at 7 p.m.