For the second straight year, a Glenelg running back has made Howard County football history.
Gladiators sophomore Wande Owens broke the single-season county rushing record during his team's 21-7 playoff win over Wilde Lake on Nov. 11. His 2,229 yards on 294 carries through 11 games eclipses his former teammate Trey Davis' total of 2,129 yards he set in 12 games on 309 carries last year.
"It feels good," said Owens, who ran for 274 yards and two scores on 42 carries in Glenelg's playoff win and has 25 touchdowns on the ground this season. "I credit all of my success to the offensive line. I can't do anything without those guys. It feels good to have that milestone."
Gladiators coach Butch Schaffer credited the hard work Owens put in in the offseason, but like Owens he knows the offensive line – which includes Dakota Davis, Trae Folkman, Alex Medley, Cory Wilson, Owen Kaiser and Brian Doughty – is a dominant group that has carried the team all year.
"It's a big compliment to the runners and the guys up front," he said. "It's a team effort. The kids up front open up some big holes and our running backs do a tremendous job running hard and doing what they do.
"To have two 2,000-yard rushers in back-to-back years is a pretty good testament to the hard work of our guys."
The running styles of Davis and Owens are different in that Davis was more of a power back while Owens is shiftier, but both are workhorses in every sense. It's no secret what Glenelg is going to do when they lineup on the field – run it over and over again – which makes the accomplishment even greater.
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"A lot of it is the style that we play," Schaffer said. "It says a lot about the hard work the guys put in in the offseason up front. ... [Owens] just has really good vision. He anticipates the hole early and has the natural instincts of just finding the seams."
Owens, who is averaging 7.58 yards per carry and 202.6 rushing yards per game on almost 27 carries per contest, has had several huge games this fall. He ran for 308 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries against Marriotts Ridge on Oct. 21, and against Mt. Hebron on Sept. 30 he had 215 yards and five scores on just 20 carries, but he entered the playoffs 45 yards shy of 2,000 and 174 yard short of Davis' record.
It wasn't lost on Owens, though. He said he knew how many yards he needed to break his teammate's record, but said it wasn't on his mind during the game. Only after the win, however, did he realize that he had accomplished the feat.
"After the game it just some pats on the back saying good job, way to go, stuff like that," Owens said.
He will have another chance to add to his record total next week against River Hill in the 3A East regional championship game. Owens ran for 182 yards in a 49-7 rout over the Hawks on Sept. 9.
"We're really excited to get a second home game in the playoffs and especially versus our rival River Hill," Owens said.
Owens has a long way to go to break the state record for rushing yards in a season or a career. Isiaha Smith of South Hagerstown ran for 2,918 yards in 2013, while current Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Tavon Ausin accumulated 7,962 rushing yards for Dunbar from 2005 to 2008.