One week after playing one of the worst first halves of its season in a one-point loss to River Hill, Reservoir traveled to Glenelg Friday night for a 3A East regional semifinal and played its best first half on the way to a 34-13 victory. It was Reservoir's first football playoff win in school history.
"It's an exciting time for the kids to be playing well," Reservoir coach Bryan Cole said. "In big games, anything can happen."
The Gators scored 21 first-half points — more than Glenelg (9-2) had allowed in a game all season — on a touchdown run by Avian White (32 carries, 122 yards), a 15-yard pass from Max Schuster to Dominic Lopes and a 50-yard touchdown run by Craig Jones (8 carries, 89 yards).
"It was just a good game plan," said Cole, whose team lost to Glenelg, 24-6, on Sept. 20. "Our offense moved the ball the way we do and burned some time off the clock, and our defense came through big for us … playing ahead was nice, we got off of the bus like we didn't do last week."
Glenelg, the Howard County champion for the first time in a decade, turned the ball over on downs five times, including four in the second half. The 34 points was the most allowed by Glenelg since a 2011 regional championship loss to Douglass, and the most to a league foe since a 39-0 loss to Atholton in the opening game of the 2011 season. Glenelg won that game by forfeit because of an Atholton offseason practice violation.
The Gladiators, who scored on a 21-yard run by David Brookhart (151 yards, 22 carries) in the first half and an 11-yard run by Jared Jacoby (56 rushing yards, 11 carries) to cap the first drive of the second half, were still in the game until Craig Jones intercepted a pass at midfield with less than four minutes remaining and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
"I just saw the ball in the air and I knew I had it," Jones said. "I ran it back and knew that was the game-winner."
The Gladiators completed only two passes for 42 yards in 14 attempts, including 10 incompletions in the fourth quarter.
After Jacoby's touchdown to start the second half cut Reservoir's lead to 21-13, the Gators responded with a 17-play, 80-yard drive that burned almost eight minutes off of the clock. White ran for 40 yards on 11 carries on that drive.
Glenelg's next three drives ended on incomplete passes inside the Reservoir 40 as the Gators continued to drain the clock by pounding the ball with White. That pattern continued until Jones' interception sealed the win.
Sam Powell blocked a punt and an extra point for Glenelg, and Luke Cheswick returned two kickoffs for 58 yards.
Glenelg was on a nine-game winning streak and hadn't allowed a touchdown since Oct. 19.
"They made us get out of what we have to do and we know if that happens, we're not that type of team," Glenelg coach Butch Schaffer. "I'm proud of the season we had … we had a great group of seniors and I'm real sad for them right now, but they'll remember 10 years from now that they had a great experience and they're going to be great people."
Reservoir awaits the winner of River Hill and City College, who play Saturday at City at 1 p.m.
The Gators fumbled the ball away twice and missed an extra point late in the fourth quarter in a 14-13 loss at River Hill last week.
Re (8-3) 7 14 6 7 - 34
G (9-2) 0 7 6 0 -13
Re: White 1 run (Romer kick), 5:30.
Re: Lopes 15 pass from Schuster (run failed), 10:26.
G: Brookhart 21 run (Paul kick), 7:57.
Re: Jones 50 run (Mitchell pass from Janush), 5:47.
G: Jacoby 11 run (kick failed), 9:41.
Re: Schuster 1 run (kick blocked by Powell), 1:44.
Re: Jones 50 interception return (Romer kick), 3:26.
Re: Avian White 32 carries, 122 yards, TD; Craig Jones 8-89, TD; Max Schuster 11-35, TD; Josh Young 4-20.
G: David Brookhart 22-151, TD; Jared Jacoby 11-56, TD.
Re: Max Schuster 4/6, 38 yards, 1 TD.
G: Jack Hogan 2/14, 42 yards, INT.
Re: Jack Barry 2-23; Dominic Lopes 1-15, TD; Joey Janush 1-5.
G: Brent Richardson 1-33; Brookart 1-9.
Undefeated Patuxent shut out visiting Hammond (6-5), 49-0, in the 2A South regional semifinals. The Golden Bears trailed, 35-0, by halftime.
Patuxent quarterback Tyler Crounse rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Rafiq Douglas added 133 yards and three more touchdowns. Tyler Gross touched the ball only once but scored on a 54-yard touchdown run.