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While Calvert Hall sophomore quarterback Emmett Avery was getting his feet wet in his first varsity start — against Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rival and longtime nemesis Gilman, no less — the Cardinals were getting swamped by the Greyhounds.

Nonplussed, Avery, filling in for injured senior Ben Brooks, gathered himself together as the game progressed and eventually tossed a pretty back-shoulder pass for the winning touchdown in overtime to senior wideout Xavier Gravette to lift Calvert Hall to a stunning 24-17 victory Friday night at Paul Angelo Russo Stadium in Towson.

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It still took some doing doing for the Cardinals (5-3, 1-2 conference) to overcome the Greyhounds (1-6, 0-3), who led 14-0 in the second quarter and 17-7 in the final period.

"They got better in the second half," said Gilman coach Tim Holley, whose team lost for the fourth time this season after leading by at least a touchdown. "We had a hard time moving the ball. They're a spunky bunch, and (Calvert Hall coach) Donald (Davis) is a well respected coach in this league who does a very good job. They outplayed us dow the stretch."

The Greyhounds capitalized on a fumble recovery by junior Thomas Booker at their own 47-yard line late in the opening quarter to get off to a good start.

Four plays later, they scored on a 12-yard pass from junior quarterback Purnell Hill to senior wideout Matthew Lee to go up, 7-0, after senior Adero Mandala's conversion kick.

On its next possession, Calvert Hall drove into Gilman territory before junior linebacker Jeremy Cranston picked off a deflected pass by Avery intended for senior wideout Mike Sawyer.

Cranston alertly grabbed the ball and rumbled for 40 yards to the Cardinal 20-yard line and Gilman took just two plays, a 19-yard run by junior running back Brandon Madison and a 1-yard plunge by Hill, to build a 14-0 advantage.

Calvert Hall answered midway through the second period on a nifty 17-yard run by senior running back B.J. Watson, who was brought down by a Gilman defender but never touched the ground before getting to his feet and finding the end zone.

Senior Jeffrey Kordenbrook's point-after halved Gilman's advantage until the Greyhounds recouped three points on Mandala's 25-yard field goal with 3:25 remaining in the first half to boost the margin to 17-7.

The score stayed static until the Cardinals inched back on a 28-yard Kordenbrook field goal with 8:19 left in regulation.

Meanwhile, Calvert Hall's defense, led by senior linebacker Tyshon Fogg, junior linebacker Chance Campbell and sophomore defensive end Billy Wooden, held Gilman to just three first downs in the second half.

"Our coaches told us at halftime that we had to come out with a goose egg in the second half," said the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Fogg, who's committed to play football at Rutgers University next fall. "We knew we had to to get in there fast to stop their best player (Madison)."

Calvert Hall drew even on a 15-play, 53-yard drive salvaged on a 4th-and-5 pass from Avery to senior wideout Kam Brooks for 11 yards that ultimately allowed Avery to sneak in from the 1 with 58 seconds remaining in regulation.

In overtime, on the first play, Avery calmly dropped back and lofted the pass to Gravette, who turned back toward the ball and snagged it with one arm.

"We all have faith in our quarterback," he said. "And he has faith in us. I was just trying to make a big play for my team."

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Davis gave all the credit to offensive coordinator Mike Williams for making the call.

"I trusted him," Davis said. "I thought we had a little more depth than they did, but it's a credit to coach Holley and his staff for how hard their kids played. For us, we always have the philosophy of the 'next man up'. We had a lot of guys in new roles, and they took advantage."

 
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