Gilman no longer gets defensive about its offense

October 05, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

As a center playing for Gilman a year ago, David Shapiro often walked off the field after an offensive series feeling like he hadn't gotten the job done.

"I'd be praying that the defense could hold the other team," said Shapiro, a senior co-captain and one of eight returning offensive players from last year's 5-4 squad. "We'd depend so much on the defense that I felt sort of guilty."

Defense, a longtime football tradition at Gilman, is still the foundation of the No. 6 Greyhounds' success.

For proof, consider the Greyhounds' first four games, all victories: they outscored Walbrook, Forest Park, Lake Clifton and Calvert Hall by a combined 82-6. The defense had 24 sacks and an additional 25 tackles for losses. Linebackers Jamie Biddison and Mark Shavers lead the pass rush with four sacks each. Biddison and defensive back Bryan Smith, also the punter, are tied for the team lead with three interceptions each.

But this year's club has an offense to boot -- one that has compiled 813 yards with a starting lineup that is laden with underclassmen.

Junior quarterback Mark Cornes has completed 50 percent of his passes for 187 yards and has three touchdowns, all to junior wide receiver Dylan Schlott.

Running back Jimmy Zimmerman, a speedy 5-foot-9, 155-pounder, has rushed 49 times for 239 yards, and caught eight catches for 101 more. His 6-1, 178-pound backfield mate, Biddison, another junior, has four touchdowns. Senior fullbacks Ned Dukehart (6-1, 205) and Reid Armbruster (5-9, 160) have added to the attack.

Coach Sherm Bristow said the offensive numbers are relatively low only because the defense has given the offense good field position. He feels, however, that the Greyhounds can sustain drives for longer periods.

Unlike last year's offense, this one hasn't sputtered inside the 20-yard line in crucial situations. And when it has slowed, punter Smith has come to the rescue.

"Against Walbrook, I was really pleased to see that we could move the ball," said the 5-11, 220-pound Shapiro, who leads the defense with eight sacks and three tackles for losses. He also has a blocked punt, in addition to an end-zone fumble recovery for a touchdown. "I think it's still going to be a great defensive year and we still feel we can win defensive battles if we have to," said Shapiro, 17. "But now we don't have to rely only on

blocked punts, turnovers and goal-line stands. I know I've never been on a team with this much offensive potential."

The Greyhounds, 3-0 in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference, will face their first test Friday and it's a big one: No. 1 City.

"Our schedule, so far, has been favorable in that our kids are young and have grown with the experience. And we understand that," said Bristow.

"We don't have a whole lot of big guys or Division I types, but I like the scrappy, tough character that has taken form here."

On Friday afternoon, he'll find exactly how tough.

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