Recent history hadn't favored Baltimore's No. 1-ranked teams against the Washington area, and top-ranked Gilman's coaching staff made that known to its players before yesterday's 44-0 shutout win at St. John's from the District of Columbia.
Count them. Loyola. St. Mary's. Dunbar. Mount St. Joseph. McDonogh. City and Poly. Seven No. 1's in Baltimore during seasons where they lost to D.C. area teams since 1990.
"We were told that Baltimore teams struggle down here," said Brian Lewis, whose team plays host to Landon of Bethesda, ranked No. 18 by The Washington Post, on Sept. 26. "We were driven today, played with a lot of heart."
Yet the Greyhounds (1-0) also showed another type of heart for St. John's freshman Daniel Bell, raising $500 for the family of the player who collapsed during a preseason practice and later died.
"They're a great program," said coach John Ricca, whose team is 1-1. "They'd maybe have their hands full with DeMatha but not many other teams."
The inspired Greyhounds held the home team to 10 total yards of offense (three in the first half) while totaling 291.
Andrew Faraone converted 5-for-6 six extra points and nailed a 32-yard field goal for a 30-0 lead at intermission, after which top rusher Damien Davis (six carries, 78 yards) and many other starters were lifted in favor of reserves.
Defensively, All-Metro Felix Isuk, Jamie Hodges, Brian Lewis, Henry Russell and Randy Vane each recorded sacks. Chisom Opara had an interception. Brendan Schenning, Andrew Lucas (73 yards, six carries) and Elliott Wiley recovered fumbles. Defensive back Tim Webb tipped a punt and batted a pass.
"We played well on both sides of the ball," Hodges said, "and showed depth."
Gilman led, 7-0, at 10: 27 of the first period after Davis set the tone. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder raced untouched 46 yards after taking a pitch from Ryan Boyle, who flipped the ball between two oncoming defenders.
"Chisom [Opara] made a nice block on a guy and I kicked it outside," Davis said "Ryan's pitch was right there. We sent the message that we're legit."
Opara (from two yards) and Mike Faust (from six) had Gilman's next touchdowns for a 21-0 lead before Nick Nocar's 50-yard punt return made it 27-0 with 4: 13 left in the half.
Reserve sophomore Starrett Esworthy (on a 1-yard run) made it, 37-0, after which Nocar scored the game's final touchdown from nine yards.
The Greyhounds were 0-2 against D.C. area powers Gonzaga and DeMatha since 1990. Assistant coach Keith Kormanik, a member of the Greyhounds squad that lost to DeMatha in '90, said "This is a much nicer memory."
"St. John's league [Washington Catholic Athletic Conference] has some great, powerful traditions," said Gilman's second-year coach Biff Poggi. "But we showed we're pretty good, too."
Pub Date: 9/06/98