Glenelg's football team has won three league titles, two playoff contests and at least a dozen more games than any Howard County team since the start of the 2000 season.
The Gladiators are the only county team to make the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, and they are undefeated through four games this year.
"Just look at what we've done with our offense," said senior J.P. Debrowski, a tight end and nose guard. "It works."
"It" is Glenelg's double-wing offense that emphasizes running the football. The Gladiators do not have receivers line up on the perimeter; they place a tight end, whose primary job is to block, on each side of the offensive line.
Three running backs line up behind senior quarterback Justin Field. The offense is designed to either run the ball up the middle or to fool the defense with fake handoffs, misdirection and motion. Glenelg has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in each of the past four seasons but has not passed for more than 400 yards in any of them.
"We don't have the fastest kids or the biggest kids, so we needed to have a system that's oriented to our kids' personality," Glenelg Coach John Davis said. "We rely on more of a team concept that our kids buy into and believe in."
In a sport in which many teams rely on a few top players, Glenelg has not had a player go on to play Division I football since Davis was hired in 1997.
"People say you need Division I players to win games and be a good high school team," said senior Stephen Bullard, a linebacker and running back. "We're proving that you don't. If you have a system and play perfect football, you win."
The success has not gone unnoticed: Several coaches have copied plays from Glenelg's playbook.
"I think that at any level of football, when you see a team has that much success, you take a look at what they're doing," Mount Hebron Coach Larry Luthe said. "Some of the plays we run off-tackle we took from them because they had more people at the point of attack than we did. We have some undersized kids on our team just like Glenelg, and it gives our kids a better chance to compete."
"I don't blame other teams for using our plays because if I was coaching a team, I'd do the same thing," said senior left guard Steve Walsh. "I love our offense because everyone has a big part in what we're doing, and we know we can move the football."
Glenelg's offense has outscored the opposition 134-52 this season and appears to be even better than in recent years, allowing Davis to call more passing plays. Field has completed 12 of 20 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns, including a seven-yard strike to Debrowski in Friday's 42-7 win over Reservoir.
Glenelg rushed for 288 yards against the Gators, with Bullard accounting for 94 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. Sophomore Brandon Dever had nine carries for 68 yards.
Davis adopted the double-wing at the conclusion of the 1999 season, which ended with a 41-0 loss to Long Reach. In that game, Glenelg's quarterback, Zach McQuigg -- the state's second-leading passer that season -- was injured in the first quarter and did not return.
"That showed me we can't rely on one player because if that player goes down, you're in trouble," Davis said.
Glenelg was slow to adjust to the new system. The Gladiators opened the 2000 season 1-3, but are 46-5 since then -- averaging 26.9 points per game during that span.
The system also works to limit opponents' opportunities. The offense tries to gain four or five yards a play so its time-consuming drives keep the opposing offense on the sideline.
"Glenelg's offense pushed us all over the field and wore us down, and that hurt us because we have a lot of players who play offense and defense," Reservoir Coach Joe Lewis said. "They were the most physical team we played. Glenelg has what we want in terms of having everyone believe in a system. And that's a big part of being a good team."