No. 1 Gilman shakes off McDonogh in MIAA A semifinals, finals showdown with No. 2 Calvert Hall's next (VIDEO HERE!!)
PHOTOS by John Moore
Gilman School’s football team admits its style may not be suited for today’s game of specialized offenses. The Greyhounds keep it relatively simple and simple has been very good for a long time.
The No. 1 Greyhounds moved one step closer to the MIAA A Conference championship with a 20-8 victory over McDonogh School at Archbishop Spalding Saturday afternoon. Senior running back Wyatt Dickerson scored a pair of touchdowns for Gilman (8-2 overall), and quarterback Shane Cockerille added a rushing score.
This Saturday evening at Towson University’s Unitas Stadium, Gilman will play Calvert Hall College for the title. The No. 2 Cardinals posted a 34-11 decision over 20th ranked Mount St. Joseph in the earlier semifinal match Saturday. It’ll be the second straight year Calvert Hall and the Greyhounds meet in the league finals.
Late Saturday afternoon, most of the talk was about McDonogh (3-8), which continued laying the groundwork for years to come with a valiant showing. The Eagles went toe-to-toe with Gilman for more than three quarters after being pounded two weeks ago in the teams’ 97th meeting.
The 98th meeting was much different, except for ending as Gilman again imposed its will on the offensive line.
“That power offense wears on you,” said Eagles coach Dom Damico. “They’re really strong at the point of attack, and the offense they run really get a lot of guys at the point. It’s tough to stop.”
“It’s not real exciting,” said Greyhounds coach Biff Poggi, “but I like it.”
The Greyhounds rushed for 197 yards with University of Maryland-bound quarterback Shane Cockerille responsible for 119 along with eight of 16 throwing for 129 yards. Gilman’s defense limited McDonogh to 59 yards with Matt Tilley, Micah Kiser and Troy Vincent each intercepting a pass.
But a blocked punt, picked up and returned for a touchdown by McDonogh sophomore defensive linemen Mike Smith, and Travis Wood’s throw to Jabari Weems for the two-point conversion, had the Owings Mills school in front heading into the final quarter.
The Greyhounds, who played the likes of Good Counsel, the state’s No. 1 team and powerhouses from Ohio (Moeller) and New Jersey (Don Bosco) during the regular season, weren’t phased.
“We talk all the time about playing 48 minutes,” said Poggi, whose team missed two field goals in the first half. “It’s a very mature, workman-like group.”
“We’ve played from behind a lot,” said Cockerille. “We kept saying on the sidelines we weren’t going to lose this game.”
The Greyhounds went 64 yards in 10 plays with Dickerson going in from four yards out, giving them the lead back with 11:55 remaining in regulation. Cockerille , who had 20 yards rushing in the drive, also hit Kaiser for a 20-yard gain.
The Greyhounds’ defense forced McDonogh’s offense into back-to-back three-and-outs, putting Gilman’s offense near midfield. Six plays later, Dickerson went off-tackle and ran 11 yards for a touchdown with 4:51 to play.
Dickerson, whose knockdown of Calvert Hall’s two-point pass in the second overtime clinched the title for Gilman in last year’s finals, knew having to get past McDonogh for a second time was going to be difficult Saturday.
“Everyone was saying we were going to blow them out but we knew it was going to be a tough game so we rallied around each other,” said Dickerson, a senior. “We kept doing what has made us successful all season and we stuck through it.”
The Greyhounds needed every ounce of effort to shake McDonogh, with its roster of freshman and sophomores. Damico said his offense couldn’t match the excellent showing from his defense, led by sophomore linebackers Wyatt Cook and Connor Young.
“We thought we’d be good earlier but it just takes some time,” said Damico. “By the seventh week I think they starting realizing they can play.”
“Right now, I’m not sure anybody in the league wants to play them right now,” said Poggi. “They’re really a good football team now and they’re going to be a silly-good football team next year.”
But in 2012, as it was last year, the MIAA A championship will come down to Gilman and Calvert Hall. The Greyhounds won the inaugural title game, 36-34, in a classic.
Since losing at Calvert Hall in 2010, Gilman has won the last three meetings, each time rallying from two touchdown deficits. The Greyhounds will seek their 11th crown in the MIAA era.
“They’re [Calvert Hall] a very good football team and we’ll have to figure out a way to compete,” said Poggi, whose team has won 17 straight league games (including playoffs). “We expect to be there and the kids really, really expect to be there.”
MIAA A Conference semifinal
at Archbishop Spalding
No. 1 Gilman School 20, McDonogh School 8
McDonogh 0 0 8 0 – 8
Gilman 7 0 0 13 – 20
Gilman: Cockerille 1 run (Wey kick)
McDonogh: Smith 3 punt blocked return (Weems pass from Wood)
Gilman: Dickerson 4 run (kick failed)
Gilman: Dickerson 11 run (Wey kick)
Last Updated (Sunday, 18 November 2012 11:12)