On most days, Gilman's Victor Abiamiri harasses quarterbacks. But yesterday against Loyola, the All-Metro 6-foot-5, 245-pounder worked harder than usual.
He and Luke Wilson, Gilman's 6-foot-5 defensive ends, combined for one sack against Loyola linemen Conwell Ottenritter, Scott Vane, Dan Wykowski, Hugh Miller, Chris Bianco, Kevin Morris, Doug Holmes and Chris Naylor.
Yet, the top-ranked Greyhounds, ranked No. 17 nationally by USA Today, overcame a determined Dons squad, 34-21, in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game before nearly 3,000 homecoming fans at Gilman.
"They had an excellent game plan and made us step up our intensity to match theirs," Abiamiri said. "It was a tough game. I hope they're as proud of their boys as we are of ours."
Ambrose Wooden rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns and completed six of eight passes for 94 yards and two more scores as Gilman improved to 7-0 overall (2-0 league) heading into next week's matchup at No. 3 Calvert Hall (6-0, 2-0).
Wooden scored two minutes into the game, breaking two tackles and racing 66 yards for a 7-0 lead. Gilman's next possession covered 44 yards in six plays before Wooden's 14-yard run made it 14-0 late in the first period.
But Loyola's Paul Quayle (12 tackles) returned an interception 28 yards to Gilman's 3-yard line, setting up Terrence Morin's 3-yard touchdown run and the first of Dennis Eaton's three extra-point kicks.
Loyola's bench came alive, but Grant Zimmerman's 91-yard kickoff return silenced it, making the score 20-7.
Loyola (3-3, 1-1) was within 20-14, however, as Brady Smith (6-for-11, 91 yards) ended a 14-play, 80-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring pass to Ryan Merritt.
Gilman answered with a six-play, 67-yard drive during which Anthony Triplin had catches of 27, 19 and 11 yards - the last making it 26-14 four seconds before halftime.