Glenelg's foreign-exchange program paid major playoff dividends yesterday when senior place-kicker Pierre Grenier made a 23-yard field goal in overtime for a 3-0 victory over visiting Hammond.
Grenier, a native of France who missed a 33-yard field goal late in the second quarter, scored on the last play of overtime to drop Hammond (6-3, 4-2) out of contention for its first county title and a Class 2A playoff spot.
"They had the better [kicking] foot, but Pierre has no idea of what pressure is because he has no idea how important that kick was," Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell said. "But he does now."
Grenier, swarmed by his teammates after the game, said he was hoping his team would score a touchdown in overtime so his only job would be to kick an extra point.
Glenelg (7-2, 4-2), still alive for a playoff spot and a share of the county title, won the coin flip in overtime for possession.
Hammond senior linebacker Jimmy Jackson (16 tackles) kept the Gladiators' James McKenney, the county's leading rusher coming into the game, out of the end zone with two goal-line tackles on third and fourth downs.
Hammond was awarded the ball for two series, and both ended with missed field goals.
Golden Bears senior place-kicker Neil Arnold, who had won two games with late fourth-quarter kicks, was wide right from 27 yards out and was the victim of a bad snap on a 29-yard attempt.
Arnold also was involved in the game's controversial ending in regulation. After recovering Glenelg junior quarterback Sean Lookingbill's fumble of the snap at the Glenelg 29 with a minute left, Hammond moved the ball to the 21 on three plays.
However, a malfunctioning scoreboard clock meant that the official time was being kept on the sideline. There was confusion in the game's waning seconds, as the Golden Bears rushed their special-teams unit on the field because they had no timeouts.
Hammond thought it had gotten off Arnold's 36-yard field-goal attempt, which was 10 yards short, before time expired. The missed kick became important when Glenelg was whistled for roughing the kicker, a 15-yard penalty that would have given Arnold another chance from 21 yards because a game cannot end on a defensive penalty.
The officials ruled time had expired before the ball had been snapped and the sideline official's communication that the game was over could not be heard.
"That official changed his mind, and he cost us our chance," Hammond coach Joe Russo said.
Neither team's offense could surmount the miserable weather conditions. Hammond totaled 50 yards on the ground. Glenelg managed 119, with 35 yards coming on Chris Cordisco's run in the second half.
Hammond's defense, which allowed 31 points in its past eight games, held McKenney to 54 rushing yards on 24 carries.
After a first half that was penalty- and error-free, the weather conditions took its toll in the second half as the Golden Bears forced three turnovers and Glenelg two.
NTC Hammond's offense could not take advantage of the defensive effort. The Bears totaled 11 second-half yards and did not move inside the 20-yard line until overtime.
Centennial 21, Mt. Hebron 6
Donald Culberth carried 45 times for 190 yards and two touchdowns, leading Centennial (4-5, 2-4) past visiting Mount Hebron (2-7, 0-6) in a Howard County League game.
Culberth helped the Eagles to a 14-0 halftime advantage with scoring runs of 12 and 1 yards. Mount Hebron got its lone score on a 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Jimmy Sawyer. Thearon McQueen ran 17 yards for Centennial's final touchdown.
Oakland Mills 28, Atholton 7
Lang Wethlington had 21 carries for 150 yards and Jake Daft rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns, leading visiting Oakland Mills (5-4, 4-2) past Atholton (5-4, 2-4) in a Howard County League game. Damian Smith had a touchdown and rushed for 80 yards.
Overlea 52, Sparrows Point 7
Kenyon Crawford had seven carries for 255 yards, three touchdowns and two extra points, leading No. 3 Overlea (9-0, 8-0) past Loch Raven (1-8, 1-6) in Baltimore County 1A-2A League action.
Gilman 26, Mount St. Joseph 0
R. C. Kauffman had 21 carries for 95 yards and one touchdown, leading No. 4 Gilman (6-1, 3-0) past visiting Mount St. Joseph (1-7, 0-4) in a Maryland Scholastic Association Armstrong A Conference game.
North County 26, Meade 12
Justin Rice threw four touchdown passes, two to Guy Brown, in leading No. 6 North County past visiting Meade (3-6, 2-4) in an Anne Arundel County 4A League game.
The victory assured the Knights (8-1, 6-1) at least a share of the league crown.
Perry Hall 26, Dundalk 6
Mark Franklin scored three touchdowns, leading No. 10 Perry Hall past Dundalk (4-5, 4-4), in a Baltimore County 3A-4A League game.
The victory clinched first place in the league for the Gators (8-1, 7-0).