The Glenelg Gladiators knew if they were going to have a chance against undefeated Damascus in Friday night's 3A state semifinal football game, they were going to have to slow down Hornets junior running back Jake Funk.
Unfortunately for the visiting Gladiators, Funk had his way, running for nearly 200 yards in the first half alone to lead Damascus to a 33-0 victory over Glenelg.
"Damascus was a better football team," Glenelg coach Butch Schaffer said. "Unfortunately, tonight we needed some breaks, and we just didn't get them."
Offensively, junior running back Trey Davis ran for more than 100 yards, but the Gladiators couldn't find the big play to help push them into the red zone. On several third-and-shorts, the Damascus defense stuffed Davis or quarterback Jack Hogan to force a punt, and Glenelg never threatened to score until the final seconds of the game.
Damascus, meanwhile, seemed to do everything right on both sides of the ball. The Hornets took the opening possession of the game and put the load on Funk, who was more than willing to carry his team.
Damascus took a 7-0 lead when Funk scored from nine yards out after he broke a long run earlier in the drive and they converted a fourth down inside the red zone.
"We had chances to get off the field, and we didn't get off the field. You can't give them extra plays," Schaffer said.
The Gladiators went three and out on their first two possessions, and a failed fourth down conversion at their own 47-yard line proved costly.
Damascus dominated the run game on the ensuing drive, and Funk took the opening carry of the second quarter 17 yards for another score, extending Damascus' lead to 14-0.
Glenelg seemed to get some offense going when Davis carried for 7 and 10 yards on back-to-back carries, but a penalty on a third and three followed by a four-yard loss on a carry by Brent Richardson forced another punt, pinning the Hornets back at their own 5 yard line.
It took only five carries for Damascus to drive 95 yards, and was capped off by a 50 yard run up the left side by Funk to give the Hornets a 20-0 lead with 4:26 left until half.
"Funk's a tremendous football player. He's one of the best football players I've seen in a long time," Schaffer said. "He's a great player and I love watching him run myself, I just wish it wasn't against us."
The Gladiators (9-4) took the ball to start the second half and drove 35 yards on 10 plays, but failed to create a big play and were forced to punt again.
"I was happy with what we were doing offensively schematically, we missed a couple blocks here and there and a couple bad calls here and there, but they took advantage of it," Schaffer said. "You can't make mistakes against a great team like that."
Funk would score his fourth rushing touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run later in the fourth quarter to make it 26-0, and backup running back Markus Vinson added another touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to give the Hornets a 33-0 lead.
The Hornets will play in the 3A championship game on Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
"My line just created huge holes, got to their backers and got push up front at the line, and I just made a couple cuts from there and would be gone," said Funk, who now had 32 rushing touchdowns on the season.
While Glenelg didn't finish their season the way they had hoped, they still had a lot to be proud of, Schaffer said.
"We played hard each and every week, and we made some improvements," Schaffer said. "I'm sad for the kids, but the sun will come up tomorrow and we're going to be good people for it and we're going to get better."
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