Football Game of the Week: No. 2 Calvert Hall at No. 1 Gilman

October 05, 2011

No. 2 Calvert Hall (4-0, 0-0) at No. 1 Gilman (4-1, 2-0)

When: Friday, 2:30 p.m.

Coaches: Donald Davis, Calvert Hall; Biff Poggi, Gilman

Last meeting: Calvert won, 26-21, last season

Series: Gilman leads 31-21-2

Key players to watch

Calvert Hall: QB Thomas Stuart, Sr. (920 yards passing, 7 TDs); RB-LB CJ Williams, Sr. (2 TDs); DB Daquan Davis, Sr. (2 INT – 1 ret. for TD, 1 blocked extra point); TE-DL Emmanuel Holder, Sr. (37 tackles, 5 sacks); RB-DB Brandon Neverdon, Sr. (2 TDs); WR-DB Trevor Williams, Sr. (20 catches, 1 TD, 1 INT ret. for TD); WR-DB Kyle Levere, Jr.(10 catches, 2 TDs); S-LB Travon Barnes, Sr. (1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack), WR-DE Delando Johnson, Jr. (19 tackles, 4 sacks)

Gilman: WR-CB Cyrus Jones, Sr., (1,088 all-purpose yards, 12 TDs, 3 INTs); QB Shane Cockerille, Jr. (672 rushing yards, 12 TDs, 386 passing yards, 6 TDs); RB-DE Kenneth Goins, Sr. (5.5 yards per carry, 2 TDs, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles); OT-DT Brian Gaia, Sr. (15 tackles – 5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks); TE-DT Henry Poggi, Jr. (7 catches for 66 yards, 21 tackles – 3 for a loss, 5 sacks); LB Devon Porchia, Sr. (29 tackles, 3 sacks); TE-LB Micah Kiser, Jr. (1 TD, 48 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles); LB Miles Norris, Jr. (36 tackles – 5 for a loss, 2 sacks)

Keys to victory:

The Gilman veterans have surely been thinking about this game since last year, when a disastrous fourth quarter cost the Greyhounds not only the game, but a 10th conference title. A stunning comeback — in which the Calvert Hall erased a 14-point deficit to win with two touchdowns in the final two minutes — ended up giving the Cardinals their first conference title since 1982, when the two teams were in the MSA.

The Greyhounds have plenty of motivation, as well as a roster that includes 12 players who have received or likely will receive Division I offers. Their only loss has been to Good Counsel, 26-21.

"All the guys you know of are playing really, really well right now," Davis said, "but they've got some guys who are playing great football who aren't what I would call household names. Shane Cockerille is becoming a household name. Cyrus Jones is a household name. Porchia, Goins — those guys are. Micah Kiser is not a household name, and yet he's playing every bit as good football as those guys. When you've got extraordinary guys who are playing very well and they're complemented by guys who maybe don't have the same reputation who are also playing extraordinarily well, that's what makes them dangerous."

The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rivals have played close games in recent years, with the last four being decided by an average of six points. Calvert Hall won the last two after Gilman took a 13-10 overtime win in 2008.

This season's meeting doesn't have quite the significance of last year's, however, because the two could meet again in the first playoff in A Conference history. Rather than helping earn a conference championship, a victory could help earn a home-field advantage in the semifinals of the playoffs.

The Cardinals, who are coming off a bye week, will have to stop the dual threat of Cockerille and Jones, both multidimensional offensive weapons. Both can run, Cockerille can pass and Jones can catch. An undersized Calvert Hall defensive line will need to use its quickness to beat a solid Greyhounds offensive line and slow those two.

For the Cardinals, Stuart likely will need a big passing game, while some big plays on special teams wouldn't hurt. Davis said special teams have made deciding plays in the last four meetings between the teams. They've been big for the Cardinals this season too, including a blocked extra point to beat Red Lion (Del.) and a blocked punt to secure a shutout win over DeMatha.

If the Greyhounds get an early lead this time, they likely won't give it up. They have the size and power on the line and the slippery runners to control the clock and grind out a win.

Other games to watch:

No. 3 Old Mill at No. 5 Arundel, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

No. 14 South River at Severna Park, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Howard at River Hill, Thursday, 7 p.m.

No. 9 Loyola at No. 4 McDonogh, Friday, 3:15 p.m.

Archbishop Curley vs. Annapolis Area Christian at Arundel, Friday, 7 p.m.

Georgetown Prep at No. 10 Archbishop Spalding, Friday, 7 p.m.

Patterson at No. 8 Poly, Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 7 Dunbar vs. Edmondson at Poly, Saturday, 6 p.m.

-- Katherine Dunn

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