2012 Towson-area football preview [Pictures]
Calvert Hall and Boys' Latin have unfinished business after falling in their respective championships last year as Gilman looks to continue its dominance and inclusion in national rankings. While Dulaney, Friends, Towson, Loyola, Lutheran and Loch Raven shoot to get above .500, St. Paul's hopes to finish well above that mark.
( Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / October 7, 2011 )
2011 record: 10-1
First game: Aug. 26 vs. Archbishop Moeller (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Offensive starters returning: 7
Defensive starters returning: 7
Fast fact: Gilman has won 10 MIAA A Conference championships in coach Biff Poggi's 16 years.
The Greyhounds are favored to repeat as Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champions.
Simply put, Gilman has the best returning talent.
"We have never had this many good football players across the board," Poggi said. "I think we might better than last year."
Cyrus Jones (University of Alabama) and Kenneth Goins (University of Maryland) carried the Greyhounds' ground game on their shoulders last year.
Now, the spread offense will be built around senior quarterback Shane Cockerille (6-2, 215), who committed to Maryland in April.
Cockerille finished last season with 26 touchdowns and a combined 2,400 yards rushing and passing after transferring from DeMatha.
Look for Cockerille's passing yards to take a big jump up from 1,300.
"We are going to throw the ball more," Poggi said.
Senior wide receiver Matt Tilley (6-3, 200), senior tight end Micah Kiser (6-2, 215) and Poggi's son Henry (6-4, 255), a senior H-back, provide some nice targets for the quarterback.
Gilman has a stable of solid running backs, including seniors Miles Norris (6-0, 210) and Wyatt Dickerson (5-11, 195) and junior Bijan Rhett (5-9, 190).
"We just have a lot of good players there," Poggi said of the backfield.
Gilman's offensive line is a veteran group, boasting junior tackle Chibuzo Ukandu (6-3, 255), senior center Quinn Flaks (6-0, 215) and senior guards Connor Webb (6-3, 225) and Ned Emala (5-11, 225).
The Greyhounds are loaded and ready to dominate in coordinator Stan White's 4-3 defense.
University of Michigan-bound Poggi, a lineman, can be a force against the run and as a pass rusher.
Junior Melvin Keihn (6-3, 225) is another standout player and leader on the line.
The linebacker position just might be the defense's strong suit.
Senior middle backer and University of Virginia recruit Kiser (6-2, 215) and outside backers Norris and Dickerson are standout players.
The secondary returns two safeties: sophomore Robert Branch (6-1, 185) and Tilley.
Troy Vincent Jr. (5-10, 175), the son of a former NFL player, should have impact at cornerback, after transferring from Georgetown Prep.