Gilman fumbles against DeMatha

Early turnovers prove costly as win streak ends at 17 with loss to Washington area's No. 1 team

DeMatha 24 Gilman 6

September 09, 2006|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to the Sun

Landover -- Top-ranked Gilman's 17-game winning streak ended last night, in large part because of a mistake-filled first half that left the Greyhounds in a 24-point hole they couldn't climb out of.

DeMatha, the top-ranked team in the Washington Post poll, took advantage of several early Gilman mistakes and handed the Greyhounds their first loss in two years, a 24-6 decision at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.

The loss was the first for Gilman (0-1) since DeMatha (2-0) won the 2004 season opener between the two teams on the same field. The Stags exacted a measure of revenge as Gilman rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to win 22-19 last year.

"It was the worse first half since I've been coaching. We gave up 14 points on special teams and six points [on another mistake]," Gilman coach Biff Poggi said. "They are too good to give them that many opportunities, way too good, and we're not good enough."

The Greyhounds gave up a touchdown on the opening kickoff, fumbled the ball away on their first two series, then added a bad snap on a punt on the third series that handed the Stags the ball at the Gilman 17. Those miscues helped DeMatha roll to a 24-0 halftime lead despite gaining only 132 yards in the first half.

Ben Eaton led Gilman with 73 yards rushing. The Greyhounds finished with 166 yards in total offense but couldn't make the big plays that DeMatha kept coming up with.

"They're a good team ... and they came out faster than we did," Eaton said. "We were playing from behind and we can't do that."

Gilman's problems started on the opening kickoff, which DeMatha's Kenny Tate returned for an 86-yard touchdown just 14 seconds into the game.

The Greyhounds got into trouble again on their first drive when John Pagliaro fumbled and DeMatha's Justin Brown recovered at the Gilman 24. But Gilman caught a break when DeMatha missed a field-goal attempt four plays later.

Gilman ran into more problems on its next drive when Pagliaro fumbled again and the Stags recovered at the Gilman 33. DeMatha converted this time when Kilgo Livingston made a 26-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead with 3:11 left in the first period.

On Gilman's next drive, the Greyhounds were trying to punt when a bad snap sailed over Ty Kimball's head for a 29-yard loss.

The Stags took advantage again when Ashby Christian scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter to make it 17-0. DeMatha stretched it to 24-0 when quarterback Chester Stewart ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 27.5 seconds left in the first half.

Gilman got its only touchdown on an impressive 80-yard third-quarter drive, capped by Eaton's 2-yard touchdown run.

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