Before yesterday's game, Glenelg senior Jason Beall felt he had not been playing well, but Beall ended his slump emphatically. Led by his performance on defense and special teams, visiting Glenelg whipped Hammond, 31-18.
The Gladiators (4-0, 6-1) won their fourth straight game and handed Hammond (2-2, 4-3) its second consecutive defeat.
Beall hurt the Bears all over the field. His second-period interception runback for a touchdown -- the second of the quarter by Glenelg -- made it 28-0. He also recovered a fumble in the second quarter to set up another Glenelg score, and contributed six tackles from his cornerback position.
Beall didn't stop there. He went 4-for-4 on extra-point attempts -- and added a 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to complete the Gladiators' scoring. He even ran the ball four times for 14 yards in the second half while filling in for halfback Paul Brosenne, who left the game in the third quarter with a cut on his arm.
"Until today, I don't think I've played very well. Now I think it's coming around," Beall said. "We knew if we let their offense score, we'd be in trouble. We attacked them instead of taking the shots. It worked pretty good."
Before departing, Brosenne (16 carries, 83 yards) cracked the 1,000-yard rushing barrier. But the day really belonged to Beall and the Gladiators' defense, which forced four turnovers and sparked a 21-point barrage in the second quarter.
The Gladiators broke on top after a 10-play, 54-yard drive highlighted by a costly personal foul penalty against Hammond. Brosenne scored from the 1 and Beall kicked his first extra point to make it 7-0 with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
The next two possessions were disastrous for Hammond. On third-and-9, Chris Cordisco (seven tackles) stepped in front of Kelvin Stevens, picked off quarterback Rudy Cooper's pass and raced 32 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
Two plays after the kickoff, Beall pounced on a fumble by Hammond's Erin Woodward (13 rushes, 63 yards). On the next play, Glenelg quarterback Sean Lookingbill hit Aaron Gross for a 41-yard touchdown that put Hammond in a 21-0 hole with 10:31 left in the half.
Beall essentially finished the Bears seven minutes later, when he intercepted Cooper on another third-down play and ran 53 yards for a score. That gave the Gladiators a 28-0 lead with 3:19 left.
Hammond out-gained Glenelg, 252-210, but because of turnovers and six penalties for 40 yards, the Bears never got closer than 13 points. And they didn't manage that until Danny Boone scored on a 1-yard run with 20 seconds left.