Outlook: This will be the first ever nightime football game at Calvert Hall, but the lights and primetime exposure are not necessary to make this game a major event, as No. 1 Gilman will invade No. 3 Calvert Hall in a critical MIAA A Conference showdown.
It is too early to say this will be the decisive game in the race for the A Conference title, but the winner will certainly remain in that conversation until the ened of the year.
Gilman (4-1,1-0) has been No. 1 in Baltimore all year and has climbed to the top of the state poll with an impressive showing against a litany of regional powers. The only hickup for the Greyhounds came in week three when they were routed by New Jersey’s Don Bosco Prep, last year’s national high school football champion.
The Greyhounds feature outstanding team speed and the area’s most explosive set of playmakers, led by senior quarterback Darius Jennings and junior C.J. Jones. The Greyhounds are averaging better than 30 points per game and already own victories over No. 8 Archbishop Spalding and DC powers Good Council and DeMatha, as well as Georgetown Prep in its MIAA A Conference opener two weeks ago.
Of course, Gilman, which had a bye last week and has undoubtedly spent two weeks preparing for the Cardinals, will come in with a chip on its shoulder. Despite winning last year’s league crown, the Greyounds were bottled up by Calvert Hall and suffered a 21-12 loss to the Cardinals at Gilman.
The defense Calvert Hall put on the field that day has only gotten better. In six games this season, Calvert Hall (6-0, 1-0) has only allowed 33 points and they have posted three consecutive shutouts. Future Division I standouts Dan Yarborough (nose tackle) and Adrian Amos (DB) anchor a unit of quick, versatile defenders which have been equally tough against the pass and the run.
Offensively, Calvert Hall is a power running team, with an effective ball control passing game. Junior CJ Williams, who rushed for 204 yards in last year’s Gilman game, remains the workhorse while Brandon Neverdon is the big play threat.
The Cardinals opened their season with a win over long time nemisis St. John’s D.C. and also own wins over Spalding, Dunbar (DC), Havre de Grace, Mount St. Joseph and Poly.
For Gilman to win it must execute its offense and continue to get the big plays it has made look routine for most of the year. It’s defense, which is much improved from a year ago, must also be able to get Calvert Hall off the field and limit the long possession eating drives.
Calvert Hall knows its formula for success, and it is more of the same. It must contain Jennings and limit the damage he can cause. A high scoring track meet definitely favors Gilman, so the Cardinals must take care of the ball, control the clock and put some points on the board.
It should be fun. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. VarsitySportsNetwork.com will have complete coverage of this showdown with exclusive play-by-play video, posted after the game.