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Glenelg quarterback Mason Davis (4), seen throwing a touchdown against River Hill, played a key role in helping the Gladiators win their second straight Howard County championship this season.
Glenelg quarterback Mason Davis (4), seen throwing a touchdown against River Hill, played a key role in helping the Gladiators win their second straight Howard County championship this season. (Daniel Kucin Jr. / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The road Glenelg traveled to the 2019 Howard County championship wasn’t nearly as easy as the one last year.

The Gladiators steamrolled everyone in the league in 2018 and won each game by at least two scores and nine of the 10 by 28 or more. This fall was a grind, as they needed a late touchdown to beat Marriotts Ridge, 14-7, a field goal on the final play to take down Howard, 10-7, and a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat Wilde Lake by 19.

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Yet, Glenelg (5-1 county, 6-3 overall) is the county champion again, only this time it’s sharing the crown with River Hill (8-1, 8-1) and Marriotts Ridge (7-1, 7-2). First-year coach Tim Cullen said winning the league wasn’t the ultimate goal but added “the kids enjoyed it.”

Marriotts Ridge defeated Atholton, 35-7, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, to win a share of the Mustangs' first county championship in program history.

“I think the county is a lot different this year but it’s kind of helped us with the kids buying in on everyone has to be paying attention at practice because you never know when your number is going to be called,” he said. “It was tough losing the two starters on the offensive line, the starting running back, our dual-threat quarterback as well. It can be tough at times but it’s a testament to the kids and how they pay attention at practice and fit it seamlessly.”

Glenelg, which has won four of five after starting the year 2-2, dominated Long Reach, 43-6, to clinch a share of the title. Both of Mason Davis’ completions on three attempts went for touchdowns — a 26-yarder to Drew Sotka and a 25-yarder to Trisden Bovello — while senior running back Kyle Dry notched his fifth 100-yard game of the year, running for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. Davis also scored on the ground.

Defensively, Sotka got his fifth interception of the season, while Bovello secured his third and second in as many games to hold the Lightning to a season-low six points.

The Hawks beat the Lions to win a share of the county title, their 11th in program history and second in three years.

All in all, Cullen believes his team is hitting their stride at the perfect time. Glenelg, the No. 2 seed in the 2A West region, will host No. 7 seed Century Friday night to kickoff the postseason as the reigning 2A state finalists seek a fourth straight regional title.

“I know we’re going to show up and play hard,” Cullen said. “Century is a great team. They had a great season as well and it will kind of be mirror images of each other as far as style goes, which we don’t see too often, so it will be fun to get out and battle and let the chips fall where they may.”

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