After Gilman lost 31 of 40 players to graduation, it seemed only appropriate that an inexperienced sophomore quarterback would lead the Greyhounds to their first win of the season.
Mark Cornes, a transfer from St. Paul's, where he sat on the bench for most of last season, completed nine of 17 passes for 113 yards and rushed for another 43 to help Gilman score a 14-6 win over Mount St. Joseph in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference season opener yesterday.
"Last year I didn't get the chance to show anybody what I can do," said Cornes, who is one of 12 sophomores on the team. "We may not be as big or strong, but today we showed we can hold our own."
Gilman, indeed, held its own down the stretch, scoring twice in the final 4 minutes, 44 seconds to pull out the win.
Down 6-0, Gilman scored when Cornes capped an 11-play, 53-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 6. Then, with just 1:03 left, Wade Ware scored from 3 yards out and Cornes threw for the conversion to give Gilman a 14-6 lead.
The Greyhounds had several chances to break on top early, but inexperience cost them. Penalties and turnovers ended seven drives in St. Joe territory, five of them inside the 25.
"We made as many mistakes in the first half as we had hoped to make all season," said Gilman coach Sherm Bristow. "We couldn't put together a 10-play drive without making at least one big mistake."
Mount St. Joe had no such troubles early on.
With 4:51 left in the first half, and the Gaels on the Greyhounds' 16, quarterback Brett Campbell rolled right and threw a short pass to Bob Bush, who broke a tackle and scored to cap off a 70-yard drive and give St. Joe a 6-0 lead.
It appeared that Gilman had tied the game early in the second half, but an apparent Mark Shavers 38-yard interception return for a touchdown was wiped out by a clip on the return. The Greyhounds went on to punt.
After Gilman gained the lead, the defense held as Peter Bogue intercepted a Campbell pass in Gilman territory to seal the victory.
Said Cornes: "We're young, but we've got an attitude that we will have to be contended with. We think we can win."