When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Coaches: Bruce Strunk, Howard Lions; Butch Schaffer, Glenelg Gladiators
Last meeting Howard won, 28-14, last season
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH
Howard: RB-DB Terrell Charles, Sr. (86 carries, 166 yards, 8 TDs); QB Kevin Sheahin, Jr. (22-for-50 passing for 272 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT); RB-DB Malik Anderson, Soph. (22 carries for 166 yards, 3 TDs; four catches for 51 yards, 1 TD), TE-DE Neil Caruso, Sr. (7 catches for 11 yards, 2 TDs), WR-DB John Travisano, Sr.; WR-DB Kyle Walker, Sr.
Glenelg: QB Jack Hogan, Jr., (14-for-16 passing, 229 yards, 2 TDs); RB-DB Jared Jacoby, Sr. (67 carries for 325 yards, 2 TDs); RB-DB David Brookhart, Sr. (39 carries for 213 yards, 3 TDs); WR-DB Luke Cheswick, Sr. (5 catches for 134 yards, 1 TD; 3 INT); WR-DB Matt Baxter, Jr. (20 tackles); RB-LB Sam Hulett, Soph., (24 tackles); WR-LB Chris Lipp (16 tackles); OL-DL Jordan Alexander, Sr. (3 sacks)
KEYS TO VICTORY
Only two teams in Howard County remain undefeated — No. 2 River Hill and Howard — but only a single touchdown keeps Glenelg out of those ranks. The Gladiators fell to the Hawks, 7-3, in the season opener and are looking to tighten the race in one of the top county games of the season.
With both teams looking primarily to run the ball, line play will be critical. The Gladiators likely have the edge there, with a veteran line, while Howard has talent but is a bit smaller this season and less experienced.
The Gladiators have dominated their last three opponents up front. Led by Alexander, Craig Burris and David Robbins, who weigh in at a combined 740 pounds, the line plowed the way on 53 running plays in last week's 35-3 win over previously-undefeated Hammond. Twelve players carried the ball, gaining 320 yards and running for four touchdowns.
"They're a big team. They're a strong team," Strunk said. "They've got a quick little back [Brookhart] and then they've got some power backs who run the ball hard. We have a big task ahead of us. That's definitely toughest team we've played this year."
The Gladiators mix up the running plays with the nimble Brookhart (11 carries for 84 yards and three touchdowns last week) offsetting the power of Jacoby (16 carries for 94 yards and one touchdown) and Max Baxter (six carries for 30 yards).
The Lions also have a solid corps of running backs led by Charles (149 yards rushing and two touchdowns last week) and Anderson (102 yards and one touchdown), the younger brother of Michael Anderson, who led the Lions in rushing last season.
Howard start seven or eight underclassmen on both sides of the ball and the line is young, but Craig Brauer, Eric Martinez and Winston Delattiboudere combined for five sacks in last week's 35-13 win over Mount Hebron.
The Lions have more experience in their defensive backfield; seniors Travisano, Walker and Brett Schaefer each intercepted a pass last week.
"They might be young, but they're really, really talented," Schaffer said. "They play extremely hard, they're very well coached and it's a battle each and every time we play them."
The Lions' win last season was their first in the rivalry since 2007, but the Gladiators' defense has been stingier this year, allowing just 19 points and no more than a touchdown in each game. The Lions, who haven't played as difficult a schedule yet, have given up 49 points but have won by an average of 18.8 points.
Other than Glenelg's loss to River Hill, the only close games for either team have come against Wilde Lake. Glenelg won 14-6 and the Lions won 13-10.