Loyola sputters past Gilman, 15-13 Mistake-prone Dons beat determined Greyhounds, but don't exit happily

October 19, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Big wins are supposed to make a team feel good.

So why wasn't quarterback Brant Hall smiling after leading top-ranked Loyola (4-1, 2-0) over fourth-ranked Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rival Gilman (4-2, 1-1), 15-13, yesterday during the Greyhounds' 100th anniversary celebration?

Perhaps because Loyola cut into its 399 net yards with 10 penalties for 130 yards. Or because receiver A.J. Wright (six receptions, 81 yards) was ruled out of bounds on an apparent touchdown. Or because Loyola seemed without a killer instinct against an underclassman-laden squad that lacked injured premier receiver Chisom Opara.

"We should have put them away. We made so many mistakes," said Hall, shaking his head. "I'm happy we won, but I don't feel real good about it."

Beside the win, there were some positives for Loyola, winner of four straight games and ranked No. 9 in the state.

Hall went 14-for-18 passing for 166 yards and a 4-yard touchdown strike to Matt Urlock. He also rushed six times for 92 yards.

Dan Fink and Nick Barrett each had interceptions, and Dan Workmeister blocked a field-goal attempt.

Early on, it seemed Gilman was in for a long day against a squad that had averaged 39 points in its previous three victories.

Gilman running back Damien Davis, who later capped an eight-play, 72-yard drive with a 4-yard scoring run, injured a knee on the opening kickoff and limped off the field.

Northwestern-bound lineman Blake Henry sacked Gilman quarterback Ryan Boyle on the game's third play.

Then came Urlock's score, followed by Hall's conversion run for an 8-0 lead, ending an eight-play, 75-yard drive with 6: 11 left in the first period.

"We thought we were going to crush them," said running back Kyle Bell, who combined with Tom Melanson for 141 yards on 25 carries. "But they came right back, scored and showed us they're for real."

Before Davis' run completed Gilman's 72-yard drive, Boyle (40 yards rushing, 12-for-17 passing for 177 yards) completed three passes for 57 yards.

Gilman's score came after Sina Ekundayo's end-zone interception had halted one Loyola drive, and before a fumble recovery by Mike Faust (11 carries, 35 yards) ended another. Felix Isuk also recovered a Loyola fumble.

"I think we were too pumped up," said coach Joe Brune of his Dons, who were penalized six times for 85 yards in the first half. Brune ranks fifth among the state's active coaches at 188-123-1 over 31 seasons.

"We should have had three or four touchdowns in the first half," said the 6-foot-6, 280-pound Henry, "but you can't score with five or six penalties in a row. We're undefeated in the league.

"We're in the driver's seat. But those penalties almost broke us."

Loyola led, 15-6, with 3: 40 left in the third period after a nine-play, 81-yard drive that ended with Bell's 2-yard scoring run and Matt Hart's kick.

Gilman's last possession, a nine-play, 80-yard scoring march, began with 2: 07 left to play. Boyle was 5-for-6 passing for 64 yards in that stretch, his 2-yard scoring run, coupled with Andrew Faroane's kick, making it 15-13, with 13 seconds left.

Kevin Culbertson (five receptions, 68 yards) and Jack Lenehan (three, 40) were among Boyle's four different receivers,

"Jack and Kevin had to transform their game because they usually play split end and we had them at slotback today," Boyle said.

"We had the early jitters because it was a big day here, but that just forced everyone to step up and show we'll never quit."

And they did it against a team that had outscored its previous two opponents by a combined 78-15, including a 35-8 rout of then-No. 1 St. Mary's.

Further perspective on how good the Dons can be:

Loyola scored 39 points against Thomas Johnson, then ranked No. 11 in the state. The following week, Thomas Johnson came up with a 21-3 victory over the Linganore team that built a 41-16 lead in an eventual 41-30 win over two-time state champ Dunbar.

Loyola's only loss was to Washington's Gonzaga, 19-10, when ** the Purple Eagles were ranked No. 10 by The Washington Post.

And that came only after a Gonzaga defender ended Loyola's potential game-winning drive by returning the ball 75 yards for a touchdown.

"Good teams win on bad days," Wright said. "We're still a great team, we just have to eliminate those mistakes."

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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