Opara keeps No. 1 Gilman in good hands Senior's 3 TD catches spark Greyhounds to 31-7 win over 14th-ranked Loyola


October 18, 1998|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

After an injury forced him to the sidelines for last season's two-point loss to Loyola, Gilman's Chisom Opara told himself, "Wait till next year."

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior got his reward yesterday in the top-ranked Greyhounds' 31-7 victory over the No. 14 Dons at Loyola in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game.

Opara's scoring receptions of 71, 6 and 48 yards from Ryan Boyle staked the Greyhounds (7-0, 2-0) to leads of 14-0 in the second period and 21-7 early in the fourth.

"This felt especially good after not playing last year. It shows what we were missing," said Opara, who had 149 yards on four receptions yesterday. He has 26 catches for 557 yards and seven touchdowns on the year.

Opara's final effort, on third-and-15 with 9: 55 to play, sparked a 17-point third period for Gilman, including a 71-yard run by Boyle down the Greyhounds' sideline off an option fake. Boyle passed for 163 yards (6-for-11) and rushed for 111 on nine carries.

Boyle, whose father, Darby, attended Loyola, thrust his left index finger skyward as he crossed the goal line, "just letting everyone know we're No. 1," he said. "It's so emotional and so special for me to play here, I guess I lost control."

Over the three previous weekends, Gilman had sandwiched two narrow victories over Landon and league rival Mount St. Joseph around a forfeit win over Bullis of Montgomery County. Considered by some Gilman faithful to be the best team in school history, the Greyhounds entered yesterday's game collectively miffed over whispers they weren't as good as advertised.

"We came out to show we're the best team in the area," Opara said.

Three-time league champion Loyola (3-3, 1-1), coming off a 38-0 rout of St. Mary's, had only 72 total yards of offense. Second-team All-Metro running back Kyle Bell rushed for only 27 yards, and Loyola's only first down of the first half came after a second-period penalty.

Defensively for Gilman, All-Metro Felix Isuk had four sacks and two other tackles for losses, and Henry Russell had one sack and a fumble recovery. Andrew Lucas and Tim Webb each broke up passes, and Sina Ekundayo's interception set up Gilman's final score -- Andrew Faraone's 31-yard field goal with 3: 01 to play. Faraone was 4-for-4 on extra points.

"We got off the ball fast, got two sacks on their first series and generally shut them down," said the Isuk, 6-3, 225 pounds. He has a team-high 12 sacks, followed by Russell and Brian Lewis with six each.

Loyola gained momentum after a second period during which it blocked a field-goal attempt and stopped Gilman when a pass slipped through Opara's grasp with a defender on him in the end zone.

The Dons made it 14-7 with 2: 23 left in the third period when Pat Muth blocked a punt, Jordy Russell (two sacks) fell on the ball in the end zone, and Chris Clayville kicked the extra point. "We were hoping the momentum would go our way to help our offense pick it up," said Jordy Russell. "We just couldn't gut it out."

Gilman's Damien Davis, who entered the game with seven touchdowns, had only 30 yards yesterday and did not score.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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