Bryan Walsh admits he is crazy.
He chases -- and catches -- groundhogs near his Woodbine home when he is bored, and more than once he has scaled a pipe to retrieve a football lost atop Glenelg's school building.
The senior fullback has also broken more than a few face masks this year with his reckless abandon on the playing field, tough play that usually means big holes for running backs Kevin Ganascioli and Tim Siders.
Except these days, Walsh is starting to find some holes himself, too.
Walsh ran for a career-high 85 yards on 13 carries in Glenelg's 28-13 win over Oakland Mills on Saturday and sealed the Gladiators' 21st straight Howard County win on a 23-yard run up the middle in the fourth quarter.
Ganascioli (25 carries, 104 yards) and Siders (15 carries, 139 yards) ran for more yards Saturday, but when the Gladiators needed a first down, it was usually Walsh who got the call.
"I know what I've got to do, and I know what I've got to do to get it done," said Walsh, who has scored seven touchdowns this year but has remained in the shadows of the Gladiators' high-profile backs. "Get the yards, pick up the first down, keep the ball rolling and in the offense's hands. I can't do what [Ganascioli] and Siders do -- cut and dance around -- but I put my strength in my legs and keep on trucking."
The Gladiators were held to fewer than 200 yards rushing in a 18-14 win over Long Reach two weeks ago but were back at their brutal best Saturday, running for 340 yards against Oakland Mills. With a methodical running attack, the Gladiators ate up all but four minutes of clock in the second half.
"Last week [an 18-14 win over Long Reach] felt like a loss," Glenelg Coach John Davis said. "They stuffed our offense last week, and this week we bounced back. I said this is redemption time. You get up here and you run the football like you know you can."
If there's a poster boy for the offense, it's Walsh: a bit undersized, humble and tough as nails.
"He is a tough kid, a tough nut," Glenelg assistant coach Cameron Rahnama said. "He was taking a pounding today. They were smacking him, but he wasn't backing down."
Hat Trick for Burford After scoring 12 goals last season and earning all-county honors in soccer, Glenelg senior Josh Burford has drawn more attention from opposing defenses in the form of double coverages and hard tackles.
None of that has seemed to slow him so far this season. Burford scored three goals in the Gladiators' 4-0 win over River Hill last Thursday, upping his total to 15 for the season, the most in the county.
"Undoubtedly, he's the best player in the county," Coach Peter Klisas said. "He had a field day against River Hill. He's really unstoppable."
Against River Hill, Glenelg (11-2 overall, 7-1 Howard County) had a tenuous 1-0 halftime lead until Burford got on track. He scored an unassisted goal in the 53rd minute, then scored eight minutes later on a cross from Matt Showman. Showman sent another cross to Burford in the 68th minute, which he converted for Glenelg's final goal of the game.
With the win, Glenelg won its seventh consecutive county game and secured at least a share of the county title. Glenelg played Wilde Lake on Tuesday in a game that ended after press time. A win against the Wildecats would give the Gladiators the outright title.
"We expected to beat [River Hill]," Burford said. "We knew Oakland Mills had beaten them and we beat Oakland Mills earlier that week 5-0, so we thought we should easily beat River Hill. It wasn't an easy game, but we just played very well."
Dragons Put On a Show Perhaps "break a leg" wouldn't have been the best send-off for the performers in a cabaret at Glenelg Country School on Friday.
Fifteen of the performers are members of the Dragons' first-place field hockey team, which clinched the Interscholastic Association of Maryland C Conference regular season title after tying Oldfields, 1-1, earlier in the afternoon.
"Each of them sings, dances, plays the piano -- they are just a talented group," first-year Coach Shannon Parker said. "It's amazing. In a small school like this, they have to be amazingly versatile."
In addition to their dramatic talents, the Dragons can play some field hockey, too, and will begin to defend their back-to-back C Conference titles on Tuesday. The Gladiators earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
"This wasn't unpredictable, but the girls have definitely come together and exceeded most expectations on my part," Parker said.
Senior Christy Gonzalez leads the team with 11 goals, and Abbe Sandler has nine. Senior captain Katie Bauer leads the team with 16 assists, and Parker said goalie Liza Jacobs has been a key to the team's success. Until Friday, the senior had not allowed a goal in conference play and had helped the Dragons (7-3-2 overall, 6-0-1 C Conference) to a win over Maryvale and a tie against McDonogh.
"She has really been out there, taking chances and getting rewarded for it," Parker said. "She definitely has improved a tremendous amount."
Jacobs didn't play field hockey until her junior year. Not surprisingly, she had previously focused on ballet.
Special correspondent Colin Fitzgibbons contributed to this report.