Howard throttles No. 16 Glenelg in football opener; Dawkins scores 3 TDs
It didn’t take long for the latest edition of Howard County’s oldest football rivalry between Glenelg High and Howard to be decided Saturday evening. The Lions stuffed Gladiator running back Wande Owens on 4th down on the game’s opening drive. Four plays later, Devin Dawkins was in the end zone.
The Lions found the end zone on their next drive, and the rout was on as eighth-ranked Howard posted a 34-0 decision over the 16th-ranked Gladiators for possession of the Elgard Trophy in misty Ellicott City.
Dawkins, a junior rushed for three scores for the Lions (1-0 overall and Howard), and Robert Agbai added two second half touchdowns. Their defense suffocated Glenelg (0-1, 0-1 Howard), recording their first opening game shutout since 2011.
Last season, the Gladiators claimed the Elgard Trophy with a 25-20 victory in western Howard County. The win also snapped Howard’s 32-game league winning streak.
The two-time defending HoCo champ Lions were engaged Saturday.
“Coach been preaching to us all week that they’re very aggressive team, and in order to beat an aggressive team you got to be aggressive,” said Dawkins. “We did that on both sides of the ball.”
“I thought we had a great game plan,” said Howard coach Ross Hannon. “I thought we played a great defensive scheme.”
Hannon, who won his Lions’ debut after being an assistant with the team the previous season, said Glenelg had Howard’s defense discombobulated in last year’s meeting.
“They out-schemed us with formations. We were covering ineligible receivers and taking a backer (linebacker) out of the box,” said Hannon, who coached the secondary in 2016. “We had a chance to really work on that all spring and I thought we were a little stronger up front than them.”
Led by linebacker Ryan Kearney and nose guard Demetrius Majors, the Lions held Glenelg’s offense to 126 yards. Owens, the reigning HoCo Offensive Player of the Year, had 39 yards Saturday.
Owens had 186 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s match. His longest run Saturday was seven yards and Gladiators’ longest play was an 18-yard run by Max Stoka in the fourth quarter.
Owens managed a yard on 4th-and-2, giving Howard possession at the visitors’ 46 for its first possession of the new season. After Robbie Porter connected with Asheon Rodriquez for 33 yards on 4th-and-5, Dawkins scooted into the end zone from eight yards out.
Dawkins got his second score – a 3-yard run – completing a 10-play, 58-yard drive. Porter sparked the series with a 31-yard strike down the middle to Anthony Reid on the first play.
Howard gave Glenelg solid position at its 38 after failing to convert on 4th down, but Peyton Jones intercepted Gladiators quarterback Brayden Kloser midway in the second quarter. Agbai opened the second half with a 43-yard kickoff return.
Dawkins crossed the goal line from a yard, capping a 32-yard drive. The Lions went 83 yards on their next possession as Agbai scored from two yards. Agbai broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
The Lions hoisted the Elgard Trophy after receiving it from Hannon. Howard, which reached the Class 4A state semifinal last year after playing in the 2015 state final, have won 34 of 35 in league play since 2013.
“I’m happy for the kids and my staff, they’ve worked so hard through this transition,” said Hannon. “I’m proud of the Howard community and to be part of it. The kids have done everything I’ve asked them to do.”