DeMatha strikes back, tops Gilman

Stags win rematch of state's elite, 16-0

High Schools

September 01, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

For a year's time, DeMatha was determined to erase the memory of an emotional football loss to Gilman.

Last night, the Stags did all that and more at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field, dominating the Greyhounds early to grab a 16-0 first-half lead, then holding on to win by the same score when the game was called after three quarters because of lightning.

A rematch of last year's season opener that Gilman won, 14-0, the game was supposed to again pit the top two high school teams in the state. But DeMatha may have proved it will be in a class by itself this year. The Stags a used big size advantage up front to rush for 171 yards, including 70 by Elijah Brooks, who blasted his way through the Greyhounds' defense on 17 carries and scored the game's first touchdown.

"We were extremely intense coming into this game," Brooks said. "We knew if we didn't play our absolute best that Gilman would blow us off the field. That's why we had to come out and dominate from the start."

Did they ever. Just how impressive was DeMatha? For starters, the Stags allowed Gilman's offense to cross midfield just once, and the Greyhounds never got farther than the 48-yard line. Greyhounds running back Malcolm Ruff, who rushed for 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, didn't get his first positive yards of the game until the final play of the first half, and finished with 2 yards on five carries.

"All the credit goes to DeMatha," Gilman coach Biff Poggi said. "They were simply outstanding. They have tremendous athletes up front that are very strong, and they gave us a bunch of trouble. It could have been much worse. If we played 10 times, I'm sure that [DeMatha] would win all 10."

After a nice defensive stand that forced the Stags to punt on their opening possession, Gilman quickly got into trouble with some sloppy play, pinning itself inside its own 2-yard line because of delay-of-game and motion penalties. That proved extra costly when, on third-and-long, Brooks blitzed in from his linebacker position and tackled Ruff in the end zone for a safety.

Things only got worse from there for Gilman, which tried valiantly, but couldn't quite hold up against a DeMatha front line that averages 6 feet 2, 255 pounds. The Greyhounds mishandled a pitch inside their 20-yard line on their third possession of the game, and Stags lineman Brandon Partin jumped on the loose ball. One play later, Brooks slipped through the middle for the game's first touchdown.

DeMatha added another score before the half on a 34-yard run from Josh Wilson to make it 16-0.

"I thought our focus was excellent," said DeMatha coach Bill McGregor. "We waited a year for this game and it showed in our intensity level."

At the start of the fourth quarter, officials called for a 30-minute delay because of lightning strikes, in accordance with Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association rules. After 10 minutes of waiting, Poggi and McGregor agreed to call the game on account of the players' safety.

DeMatha 9 7 0 x - 16

Gilman 0 0 0 x - 0

D - Safety, Brooks tackled Ruff in the end zone D - Brooks 19 run (Fisher kick) D -- Wilson 34 run (Fisher kick)

Preview Tuesday

The Sun's high school preview for fall sports will be published Tuesday. Coaches are reminded to call in results to 410-332-6200 or 800-829-8000, ext. 6200. Results also can be e-mailed to sports@baltsun.com.

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