Glenelg Gladiators

Last year: 10-2 overall, 8-1 league (county co-champion).

Coach: John Davis, ninth season (55-31).

Last playoff appearance: 2003, lost in 2A South Region final.

Keep an eye on: Stephen Bullard. The 5-foot-9, 208-pound junior comes with a warning label on his left arm: a tattoo of a bull with smoke flaring from its nostrils.

"Even as a freshman, Stephen was running over kids on the field and dragging tacklers a few yards," Glenelg Coach John Davis said. "We're going to need him to be all over the field again this year, too."

Bullard -- nicknamed Bull because of his power and speed -- might not leave the field this season. He'll again start at linebacker (58 tackles, two sacks) and at fullback (353 yards, six touchdowns) and also play on special teams, where he blocked three punts, including one in the team's 2A playoff victory against Southern.

"I remember during recess at Glenwood Middle School when we would go out and play football, and everyone wanted to be on Stephen's team because he was by far the best player," junior running back Mack Lloyd said. "You could see even then that he was going to be a really good high school player."

Bullard will be featured in Glenelg's double-wing offense, which relies heavily on the running game. Senior quarterback Justin Field averaged just three passes a game last season, but Glenelg averaged a county-high 32.1 points because it rushed for more than 3,000 yards for the third consecutive year.

"Our biggest strength is our system," Davis said. "It works, and our kids believe in it."

This year Glenelg has higher expectations than winning its school-record fourth consecutive county title.

"All people see is that we're small and undersized, and I don't think we're going to get the respect we want until we win the state title," Bullard said. "But if we do that, then everyone has to give us credit for being a great team."

Glenelg's biggest question is defense, which statistically was the county's best last year. The Gladiators returned just four starters -- including Bullard and junior nose guard J.P. Debrowski (47 tackles, nine sacks) -- from a unit that yielded a county-low 132 points last season.

"Every year we have to replace a lot of good players," said Bullard, whose 2003 team included 22 seniors whose spots had to be filled this season. It was the third consecutive year the Gladiators lost at least 15 players to graduation. "But every year we find a way to keep winning, and that's going to continue this year."

Glenelg's Stephen Bullard will again start at fullback and linebacker.