Gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich was on Gilman School’s sidelines at Unitas Stadium for Saturday evening’s football game between the Greyhounds and DeMatha Catholic. While Ehrlich is hoping to again ascend to the state’s highest position, his alma-mater reaffirmed its status as the best team in Maryland.
In another surprising outcome, the Greyhounds handed the Stags a 35-10 pounding. Senior quarterback Darius Jennings rushed for 276 yards and two touchdowns for Gilman (3-1 overall), and senior running back Kenny Goins scored three times.
A week after being manhandled by 2009 national champ Don Bosco Prep from New Jersey, Gilman, ranked No. 1 in the latest VSN Top 20 metro poll, rebounded with its biggest margin of victory against DeMatha (2-1), widely regarded as the state’s premier program. DeMatha and Gilman came into Saturday’s game ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the state media poll.
“We kind of got embarrassed last week,” said Jennings of the 33-6 loss at Morgan State. “Don Bosco really held us up front, so we just wanted to bounce back. We worked hard all week in practice and it showed tonight.”
“We needed to bounce back after last week’s struggles,” said senior offensive linemen Hunter Goodwin, who will play for Wake Forest University next fall. “Everyone was working together, and then our coaches drew up some great schemes. All that was left was to go out and do it.”
Goodwin (6-foot-6, 285 pounds), Brian Gaia (6-4, 280), Chad Copeland (6-4, 235), John Henrich (6-2, 215), Charles Cross (6-0, 240) and tight end Henry Poggi (6-3, 240) controlled the Stags’ impressive defensive front. The Greyhounds finished with 353 yards on the ground.
Of course, Jennings took advantage of the blocks or simply created. The 5-9 dynamo scored on runs of 24 and three yards, the latter following a 43-yard run where he was leveled by DeMatha defensive back Michael Williams on the sidelines.
Jennings had a 59-yard jaunt around the left side on a fourth-and-1, leading to Goins’ third touchdown and a 28-3 cushion early in the final quarter. It was Jennings who made the call.
“We were deciding whether to punt or to go for it; our running game had been doing well all day,” said Jennings. “I just went over the sidelines and was like ‘Coach, let’s run a sweep to the left side’, and it worked out.”
The Greyhounds must like Unitas Stadium. Two weeks ago, Gilman dismantled defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champ and nationally-ranked Good Counsel on the Towson turf with a textbook showing of power running and stout defense.
The Greyhounds were back on that page Saturday. On their first possession, Gilman went 78 yards in 12 plays as Goins went in from eight yards out. Gilman capitalized on a short field, going 26 yards with Goins’ scoring from a yard out, extending its’ lead to 14-0.
“We wanted to make a statement,” said Goins, who rushed for 38 yards.
DeMatha got the message.
“We just weren’t physical,” said Stags coach Bill McGregor. “Our game is running the ball and we weren’t able to do that.”
The Stags only rushed for 56 yards Saturday. Jennings had 51 in the first quarter as he finished with 301 yards combined rushing and passing. Last season, Jennings put up 347 yards in DeMatha’s 56-35 victory.
“He’s by far the best player in the state, I can’t imagine anybody better,” said McGregor. “You look at him, he’s nothing but skin and bones, but he’s tough as they come.”
After playing its toughest stretch of non-league opponents in recent memory, Gilman is rewarded with starting defense of its MIAA A Conference championship. Next weekend, the Greyhounds take on Georgetown Prep, which many believed is ready to make a title charge this season.
“To be the best you got to beat the best. We feel we can compete with anyboyd,” said Jennings. “We might not have the best players, but we work pretty well as a team.”
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No. 1 Gilman 35, DeMatha 10
GIL-Goins 8 run (Wey kick)
GIL-Goins 1 run (Wey kick)
DEM-Branthover 40 FG
GIL-Jennings 24 run (Wey kick)
GIL-Goins 2 run (Wey kick)
DEM-Siwicki 1 run (Branthover kick)
GIL-Jennings 3 run (Wey kick)