Glenelg football beats River Hill to advance to states for first time since 2002

Glenelg football beats River Hill to advance to states for first time since 2002

Glenelg senior Brent Richardson had to wait 10 weeks for a chance to redeem himself.

In Week 1 at River Hill, Richardson fumbled the ball away in the red zone late in the fourth quarter on what could have been a game-winning drive but ended up being the last possession of a one-point loss.

"That fumble stung. I didn't let go of that for a couple weeks," said Richardson, who rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown in Friday night's 21-6 3A East regional championship win at River Hill. "This is obviously the best feeling to avenge that."

The win was Glenelg's first over River Hill since 2002, which was also the last time the Gladiators (9-3) advanced to the state tournament.

"River Hill is a tremendous program, and our kids deserve this. We've been playing hard for a bunch of years and we've just been coming up short. I'm really happy for our kids and our community," said Glenelg coach Butch Schaffer, who played college football at Western Maryland with River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen. "Their coaching staff does a tremendous job with their kids. We try to emulate the things that they do. They're a class program. They've led our county for a long time and we're just trying to follow what they've done."

River Hill (8-4) had won the last three 3A East regional championships and has won four state titles since 2007.

But the Hawks, who have lost four of their last five games, fell behind early on Friday and were never able to challenge Glenelg's lead.

Senior quarterback Jack Hogan scored on a nine-yard run to finish the Gladiators' first drive, and a 54-yard run by Richardson midway through the second quarter gave Glenelg a 14-0 halftime lead.

"Our guys play hard every week and Brent has been a tremendous leader for us," Schaffer said. "I'm really happy for him and the rest of our senior guys."

River Hill turned the ball over three times -- on interceptions by Richardson and senior Chris Lipp, and a fumble recovery by Lipp.

Hogan (5 carries, 20 yards) scored again early in the third quarter, and the Hawks didn't get on the scoreboard until midway through the fourth quarter, when junior quarterback Noah Thyberg (10/18, 132, TD, 2 INT) hit junior Trey Simpson (3 catches, 56 yards; 22 rushing yards) for a 27-yard touchdown. Simpson also recovered a fumble on Glenelg's only pass play of the game.

The Hawks were held to 77 rushing yards in the game, led by sophomore Brady Daniel with 38 on seven carries. Senior Jon Kanda added 17 rushing yards, and caught two passes for 19 yards. Senior Chuck McLaughlin accounted for most of the Hawks' second half offense, catching four passes for 51 yards.

Glenelg junior Trey Davis ran the ball 19 times for 102 yards, helping the Gladiators grind out the clock in the second half.

"We knew with the stuff that we prepared that we definitely had a good shot to win and it played out well," Hogan said. "Coach Schaffer has been instilling in us that there's no team that we can't beat; it doesn't matter who we play, we're going to do our thing."

The Gladiators have now won five games in a row since losing at Marriotts Ridge on Oct. 17.

"We didn't do it for just this team, we did it for every team that lost to (River Hill) in the past," Richardson said. "This is the best feeling I've experienced in football."

Glenelg will now visit undefeated Damascus next week in the 3A semifinals.
"I know they're going to be an awesome challenge, but we're going to prepare our guys and we're going to play hard," Schaffer said. "We'll see what happens."

G (9-3) 7 7 7 0 - 21
RH (8-4) 0 0 0 6 - 6

First quarter
G: Hogan 9 run (Wasson kick), 6:44. [7-0]

Second quarter
G: Richardson 54 run (Wasson kick), 4:41. [14-0]

Third quarter
G: Hogan 4 run (Wasson kick), 7:38. [21-0]

Fourth quarter
RH: Simpson 27 pass from Thyberg (kick blocked by Baxter), 8:37. [21-6]

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