Normally, a touchdown is a time to celebrate for Gilman. Yesterday, a touchdown served another purpose for the top-ranked Greyhounds: a wake-up call.
Gilman (4-0) gave up a first-quarter touchdown to Landon's Duane Tyler, and almost gave up another, before rallying to defeat the visiting Bears, 21-6.
The Greyhounds, who have a 25-game winning streak, were led by quarterback Ambrose Wooden, who rushed for 109 yards and passed for 62.
The first-quarter score by Landon (1-1) marked the first time the Greyhounds have given up a point this season, a steak stretching 12 quarters. It also marked something else new - playing from behind.
"I'm not sure we played with a whole lot of emotion in the first half today," Gilman coach Biff Poggi said. "I asked them at halftime what kind of team they wanted to be, and I'm proud of the way they responded."
After holding the Greyhounds to only four plays on Gilman's first possession, Landon mounted a 13-play, 77-yard drive to take a 6-0 lead when senior Tyler scored on a 9-yard run. The extra point was missed.
The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Gilman's Napolean Sykes, giving Landon a first-and-goal at the Greyhounds' 33-yard line. The Bears drove to the 16 before the Gilman defense tightened up.
Two plays later, as the first quarter ended, the vaunted Gilman defense had given up 94 yards in the quarter, and the offense had run only six plays.
The Greyhounds responded on their next drive, going 84 yards in 11 plays. Offensive tackle Kyle Hopson lived every lineman's dream when he recovered teammate Malcolm Ruff's fumble in the end zone to give Gilman a 7-6 lead with 8:00 left in the half.
The second half was a different story for Gilman. The Greyhounds put together an eight-play, 64-yard drive to take a 14-6 lead on Wooden's 21-yard run.
Gilman upped the lead to 21-6 early in the fourth quarter on Ruff's 8-yard run. All 47 yards in that drive also came on the ground.
"We have several players who play on both sides of the ball, and [Gilman] wore us down in the second half," Landon's Mike Petrash said. "They showed why they're the best team in the state in the second half."
Landon mounted one more serious challenge. The Bears drove from the Gilman 43 to the 4-yard line before Tyler's fumble was recovered by Sykes at the 1-yard line with 1:51 left to play.
Gilman then ran out the clock.
"We thought we could just show up and win today," Wooden said. "It's not like that. It took us awhile to get going, but we just had to pull together and play our game."
"Our week of practice wasn't as strong as it has been," Gilman's Jason Lee said. "Give Landon credit. They're an incredible team, and they played with their hearts today."