It’s not only the oldest rivalry in Howard County, but it’s the best.
Howard versus Glenelg boys lacrosse — the so-called new kid on the block with three straight state championship game appearances taking on the old, grizzled veteran that is looking to regain its dominance.
“They’ve won state championships, we’ve won state championships,” said Gladiators coach Josh Hatmaker. “You think you’re the biggest kid on the block, of course we think we’re the biggest kid on the block, and when that happens it’s going to be a good fight all the way through.”
On Friday night, the two teams squared off in another one-goal battle one year and two days after Glenelg handed the Lions their first and only county defeat since the start of the 2014 season.
Behind six different goal scorers, Howard got its revenge and held off a late Gladiators rally to win 8-7 and improve to 2-0 this year and 30-1 in county games over the last three-plus seasons.
“The last few years, you know, it seems like it’s just been two very talented teams going at it, two coaching staffs that are prepared, two teams that are scouting each other to the nth degree,” said Lions coach Jimmy Creighton. “It’s kind of a chess match.”
Howard jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes of play before the young, talented Gladiators slowly chipped away. They cut the deficit to one three different times, the last of which came on newcomer Tyler Reiff’s goal with 47 seconds remaining to make it 8-7. Glenelg forced a turnover with 17 seconds to go but couldn’t manage a good look on net.
“I think our kids played with incredible heart. I use a different term, but you can use gutsy,” Hatmaker said. “This is a really young crew and we have some great senior leaders and stuff like that, but they just kept fighting back and fighting back and fought until the final whistle.”
In year’s past, one or two players usually carried the Lions’ offense from game to game, but five different players scored the first five goals against the Gladiators. Nathan Handwerk (two goals), Mark Bruner and Patrick Sutch buried shots about three minutes apart from one another, and it looked early on that Howard could run away with it.
Howard goalie Matt Hubbard, who stopped 10 shots in his second-ever varsity start, said his team may have been a little overconfident with a quick 3-0 lead.
“Our offense was on fire,” he said. “I think after we scored those first three goals, we might have got a little over our heads. When they started coming back I think it really leveled us out.”
Eric Gruber scored for Glenelg with four seconds remaining in the opening quarter, and after Howard’s Michael Travisano pushed the lead back to three with a goal with 5:50 remaining in the half, the Gladiators got two quick goals from Michael Doughty and Tyler Nalls to cut the deficit to 4-3. Kendall Cooper made it 5-3 with a goal with 7 seconds left before the break.
In the second half, however, Reiff — a sophomore transfer from Reservoir — started to heat up. He cut the deficit to one two different times with a pair of unassisted goals in the third quarter to make it 6-5 entering the final 12 minutes.
Howard County Times sports reporter Tim Schwartz sits down with Oakland Mills senior defender Evan Riss to break down what to expect from the Scorpions and the rest of the Howard County boys lacrosse teams this season.
We talk about Evan's expectations for his team this season, his recruiting process and how he ended up choosing Ohio State among several Division-I schools, why he plays three sports and how each help him improve in certain areas on the lacrosse field, how he has helped build the program over the last three years, and comparing top public school players to top private school players.
We talk about which teams are expected to compete for the county county championship (Howard, Glenelg, Marriotts Ridge, River Hill), a team that might make a big leap this season (Centennial, Oakland Mills), who the top players in the county are (faceoff guys Felix Knorr and Derek Isaac, Marriotts Ridge's Lewy Anania and Ben Ellrich, Centennial's Mason Smith, Glenelg's Tyler Reiff and their attack and others) and overall how competitive the county will be this spring.
“The kid’s a stud. He’s tough, he’s physical, he digs ground balls, he plays defense,” Hatmaker said. “That’s the first thing I said after three days of practice — he’s an old school [midfielder]. He’s scoring goals and scoring nasty goals where he’s getting hit. He’s an old school kid who loves playing the game and grinds at it.”
Howard, like it had all night, answered the bell. Handwerk scored his second of the game three minutes into the fourth quarter and Rund’s second with 7:29 proved to be the game-winning goal.
Justin Silk made things interesting with a tally with 3:13 left, and Reiff’s third of the half had Creighton fearing déjà vu of last year’s game, when Glenelg tied the contest in the final minute.
“It was kind of a survival of the fittest there at the end,” he said. “Just hold on to it for dear life and luckily our defense made some timely stops and our goalie made some saves there and we were able to clear the ball and kill some clock. We came out a little fortunate, but again, it was a total team effort and I’m most proud of that.”