11:08 PM EDT, June 8, 2011
Hatmaker's seventh season at Glenelg brought more uncertainty than any other, as youth clearly overshadowed the roster's undeniable talent. A season-opening loss to Fallston showed just how much work had to be done.
The Gladiators — with only seven seniors and a handful of inexperienced underclassmen — responded impressively. Hatmaker and his staff had never coached a team more, and they saw the hard work pay off in the biggest way possible.
The Gladiators finished with a 19-1 mark, capturing the program's fourth straight Howard County championship, the District V title, a fifth straight regional crown and its third Class 2A-1A state championship. The wins that came along the way built confidence, and none was bigger than the 6-5 victory over perennial state power Hereford, which went on to capture its fourth straight Class 3A-2A title.
"The kids didn't back down [against Hereford]. After the game, I told them they had the ability to make something special happen," said Hatmaker, who has a 108-18 career mark. "They showed up."
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