The way Glenelg played yesterday against Centennial, it needed someone to step forward.
Senior Jason Beall decided to do it. With four seconds remaining and a Class 2A, Region I playoff spot for Glenelg on the line, Beall drilled a 23-yard field goal. His accuracy gave the Gladiators a 9-6 Howard County victory over host Centennial and a taste of postseason play for the first time since 1985.
Beall, who earlier had missed an extra point, had a lot to contemplate during the two timeouts preceding the kick.
"I just had to make up for what I did before," he said. "It's not the way I would want to go into the playoffs, but at least we're there."
Beall's kick was the bright spot in Glenelg's otherwise sour performance against the Eagles, who finished 3-10 overall, 1-6 in the county. Glenelg (8-2, 6-1) turned the ball over three times, failed to generate consistent drives (six punts), and threatened deep in Centennial territory just once.
That lone threat, though, made the difference. After Glenelg's Ryan McKibben returned a punt 13 yards to Centennial's 33, the Gladiators took possession with 1:48 remaining. Runs by James McKinney (five carries, 59 yards) and Paul Brosenne (19, 77) created a first down at the 21. McKinney lost 2 yards. But with the 20 seconds left and the clock running, backup quarterback Craig Hooker, who had replaced injured starter Sean LookingBill in the third period, completed a 12-yard pass to Aaron Gross.
Following back-to-back timeouts, Centennial jumped offside, placing the ball at the 6. Beall then calmly became the hero.
Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell admitted that his team was flat, blaming a lot of it on last Saturday's 28-0 loss to Wilde Lake.
"Last week, we had a real emotional game, and any time you have a game like that, it's hard to come back and play well," Ashwell said.