Gilman coach Biff Poggi has not shied away from keeping his top-ranked Greyhounds in the national spotlight, opting to play one of the toughest schedules of any high school football team in the country
On Friday night, the Greyhounds faced their second nationally-ranked opponent in less than a week at Good Counsel and fell just short of an upset. With the score tied at 13, Gilman sophomore Robert Branch blocked a 25-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime.
"It was the two best teams in the state playing and that's what you expect," Poggi said. "I'm really proud of my guys. It hurts and it should hurt. But they couldn't play any harder so what more could you ask."
Gilman's Daniel Blair scored a 4-yard touchdown on the first possession of the extra period, but the Greyhounds missed the extra point. The Falcons answered on a 1-yard run by Dorian O'Daniel and added Bryan Strittmatter's extra point for a 20-19 victory before an estimated 5,000 people.
The Falcons are ranked No. 25 by USA Today and No. 1 in the state media poll, and bounced back from a 27-22 loss to No. 11 Bishop Gorman in the season opener.
Gilman, ranked second in the state, continues its tough schedule next Saturday against New Jersey powerhouse and last season's nationally top-ranked team, Don Bosco, in the 9/11 Patriot Classic.
"We let them decide what schedule they want to play," Poggi said. "We didn't even get home until Monday. We played Sunday night. We had three days of helmet practice this week. How proud can you be?"
O'Daniel led Good Counsel with 140 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns. Gilman quarterback Shane Cockerille was sacked four times but still completed 8 of 22 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. Gilman also forced three turnovers.
With the game tied at 6, a 41-yard pass from Brendan Marshall to Kendall Fuller in the final minute of the third quarter set up the go-ahead score for Good Counsel. Marshall completed another 4-yard pass to Fuller six plays later for a 13-6 lead with 9:24 left in the game
Cockerille answered on the next possession with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Jibri McLean, tying the game at 13. Branch then sent the game to overtime, where the Falcons prevailed.
A fumble recovery by Micah Kiser on Good Counsel's 16-yard-line gave Gilman some early momentum. Three plays later, Trevor Wey kicked a 29-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead just three minutes into the game. Daniel Blair also recovered a fumble for Gilman in the opening quarter.
O'Daniel gave Good Counsel a 6-3 lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter with a 10-yard run, capping a 5-play, 55-yard drive. The Greyhounds took advantage of three penalties on the final drive of the half to tie the game on another 30-yard field goal by Wey.
The Greyounds lost Sunday to Archbishop Moeller, 35-14, in a nationally-televised season opener. Moeller is ranked No. 12 by USA Today. Last season, Good Counsel beat Gilman, 26-21, in the final game of the Patriot Classic. The Greyhounds upset Good Counsel, 28-7, in the 2010 I-95 Kickoff Classic.
G -- 3 3 0 7 6 -- 19
GC -- 6 0 0 7 7 -- 20
G -- Wey 29 kick
GC -- O'Daniel 10 run (kick failed)
G -- Wey 30 kick
GC -- Marshall 4 pass to Fuller (Strittmatter kick)
G -- Cockerille 50 pass to McLean (Wey kick)
G -- Blair 4 run (kick failed)
GC -- O'Daniel 1 run (Strittmatter kick)Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun