BETHESDA -- Down for the first time in 15 games after Landon scored on its first possession, All-Metro quarterback Ryan Boyle proved deserving of the leadership role Gilman coach Biff Poggi has bestowed upon him.
Boyle optioned his way to 108 of the Greyhounds' 246 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, and was 7-for-8 passing for 77 yards, leading the No. 1-ranked Greyhounds (4-0) to their 15th straight win, 36-10.
Boyle called his own plays yesterday for Gilman, which has out-scored its opponents 172-17 this season. Boyle credited Randy Vane, Jeff Gouline, Mike Kutzer, Elliott Wiley and Mike Rodgers for their blocking.
"We wanted this game as much as any on our schedule," said Boyle, whose team narrowly escaped Landon, 10-7, at home last season. "We wanted to prove last year was no fluke. Plus, they beat us here in lacrosse last spring. We've got a little rivalry going."
Senior fullback Mike Faust rushed for 66 yards on 10 carries and scored twice, and sophomore Malcom Ruff had 73 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
But sophomore Napoleon Sykes had the most balanced effort. Sykes kicked a 41-yard field goal and an extra point, returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown, caused a fumble, caught a pass and broke up a pass as Gilman got big contributions from some of its younger players.
"Our underclassmen were unbelievable today," said 6-foot-4, 230-pound Gilman tight end Richard Tuohey, who credited sophomore lineman Stan White Jr. and defensive back Nick Nocar with helping him to key on Landon's 6-3, 225-pound linebacker Justin Duffie.
Gilman trailed 7-0 with 2: 23 left in the first quarter after George Boiardi's 10-yard run capped a nine-play, 64-yard drive.
The Greyhounds made it 13-7, however, and never trailed again. Ruff's 4-yard run -- off an option pitch from Boyle -- completed a 12-play, 76-yard drive with 8: 25 left in the first period. Faust's run, with 1: 37 left in the half, ended a nine-play, 73-yard drive.
Landon pulled closer at 13-10 after quarterback Ted Lamade (9-for-15, 130 yards) kicked a 35-yard field goal -- set up by J. R. Bordley's 56-yard kickoff return -- but Gilman's long drives appeared to drain Landon.
"They had like eight or nine guys going both ways, and they were sucking wind in the second half. Our guys were fresh," Boyle said.
Gilman was without two defensive starters, including linebacker Andrew Lucas (hip pointer), whose last-second fumble recovery secured last year's win over Landon.
But junior linebacker Sterratt Esworthy led a unit that produced an assortment of big plays. Josh Hoffman's second-half fumble recovery at the Landon 24 set up Boyle's 4-yard scoring run four plays later for a 19-7 lead with 8: 31 left in the third period.
Lance Zimmerman also recovered a fumble, and both John Scheff and John Averitt registered sacks. Faust, Ruff, Sykes and Ambrose Wooden all had pass breakups at critical times in the game. Scheff, Averitt and Hoffman are juniors, and Wooden, a freshman.
"They [Landon] deserve credit," said Poggi, "but we also had a lot of young guys stepping up."