Football Game of the Week: No. 1 Gilman at No. 8 McDonogh

November 03, 2011

No. 1 Gilman (7-1, 5-0) at No. 8 McDonogh (6-3, 3-2)

When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Coaches: Biff Poggi, Gilman; Dom Damico, McDonogh

Last meeting: Gilman won, 42-6, last season

Series: Gilman leads, 57-33-5

Key players to watch

Gilman: WR/CB Cyrus Jones, Sr., (1,844 all purpose yards, 20 TDs, 4 INTs); QB Shane Cockerille, Jr. (774 rushing yards for 13 TDs, 812 passing yards for 9 TDs); RB/DE Kenneth Goins, Sr. (6.5 yards per carry 7 TDs; 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles); OT/DT Brian Gaia, Sr. (29 tackles — 7 for a loss, 5.5 sacks); TE/DT Henry Poggi, Jr. (8 catches for 76 yards; 38 tackles — 5 for a loss, 9 sacks;) LB Devon Porchia, Sr.(49 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble); TE/LB Micah Kiser, Jr. (2 receiving TDs; 72 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 INTs, 2 forced fumbles).

McDonogh: QB Joel Jorgensen, Sr. (101-for-152 passing for 1,530 yards, 20 TDs; 4 rushing TDs); WR/DB Jabari Weems, Jr. (36 catches for 610 yards, 8 TDs); WR/DB Tay Scott, Jr. (30 catches for 512 yards, 8 TDs); DE/OL Roman Braglio, Sr. (16 sacks, 72 tackles, 2 TDs -- INT ret, fumble rec.); DL/OL Allen Jackson, Sr. (7 sacks, 53 tackles); RB/DL Colby Everett, Sr. (86 carries for 618 yards, 9 TDs).

Keys to victory

Gilman has sewn up the top spot for the first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference football playoffs, and the Eagles are in too, but neither team will be thinking about that Saturday when the programs meet for the 96th time. In many ways, winning this game is more important.

In the area's second longest rivalry — behind City-Poly (123 years) — the Greyhounds are going for their third straight win. They have a big lead in the series but only a 3-2 edge over the last five years.

For the Eagles, it's all about keeping the Greyhounds' prolific offense off the field as much as possible. While the two defenses have allowed about 18 points per game, Gilman scores 41.4 points per game, 11 more than any other A Conference team and 13 more than the Eagles (28.3).

"We have to make them turn the ball over," Damico said. "They're so effective on offense. I'm sure they have a very high scoring percentage based on the number of drives compared to the number of scores, so I think if you can get them to turn the ball over and give them less possessions, you have a chance."

The Gilman offense revolves around the combination of Jones and Cockerille, who have combined for 42 touchdowns. Jones, an Under Armour All-American, can run or catch the ball and is particularly slippery on returns, including a game-winning 97-yard punt return against defending A Conference champion Calvert Hall. Cockerille can run and also gives the Greyhounds passing options.

The Eagles look to Jorgensen to set the tone, and he has multiple receivers capable of breaking big plays. Against a powerful Gilman front seven, the Eagles will look to spread the field and challenge the Greyhounds' secondary.

Evan Glaser will be back to kick for the Eagles after suffering a concussion during the second quarter of Sunday's game against Calvert Hall, an injury that left McDonogh without a critical element of its game in the 48-42 triple overtime loss to the Cardinals.

Other games to watch:

Reginald Lewis at Northwestern, Friday, 3 p.m.

Mount St. Joseph at No. 2 Calvert Hall, Friday, 7 p.m.

Loyola at No. 9 Archbishop Spalding, Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 11 Perry Hall at Hereford, Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 12 Westminster at South Carroll, Friday, 7 p.m.

Aberdeen at No. 13 Fallston, Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 5 Poly vs. City at M&T Bank Stadium, Saturday, noon

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

-- Katherine Dunn

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