Glenelg senior running back James McKenney ruined the much-anticipated debut of new Liberty coach Ken Johnson and his Delaware wing-T offense.
McKenney was virtually the whole show for the Gladiators last night, rushing for three touchdowns and 165 yards to lead visiting Glenelg to a 26-20 victory in the season opener for both teams.
McKenney was aided by a strong offensive line that averaged 225 pounds and was too big for the Liberty defense to handle.
The game was delayed one hour early in the second quarter by a thunderstorm.
Johnson has pumped a lot of excitement into the Liberty football program in just a few weeks at the school after compiling a 73-26 record in nine years at Randallstown and Chesapeake in Baltimore County.
And when the Lions scored on a 9-yard pass from quarterback Jon Barnowski to Chris Cougnet with 2:19 left in the game, reducing the Glenelg lead to 26-18, there was even more glee at the Liberty Bowl.
Barnowski then hit Brandon Scarborough for a two-point conversion to make it 26-20, and there was talk about a late miracle.
But McKenney took care of that by running out the clock with his power running up the middle.
"McKenney had a good game," said Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell. "But everyone contributed for us."
Johnson said his Lions just didn't have enough size to match up with the Glenelg offensive line.
"That was the difference," said Johnson. "I was pleased overall. We've made some progress and the kids seem to be enthusiastic."