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50 and no more: Gilman wins, 41-6


Winning streaks don't seem to matter much to the Gilman football team.

As if stopping DeMatha's 22-game winning march on Friday wasn't impressive enough, the top-ranked Greyhounds grounded Urbana and its 50-game winning streak with a 41-6 thumping before about 1,000 at Morgan State University's Hughes Stadium last night.

The victory avenged last season's 12-7 loss to the Hawks, who have captured four consecutive state public-schools championships and hadn't dropped a contest since 1997.

Senior quarterback Ambrose Wooden was the starting quarterback on last year's Gilman squad.

"They jumped up and bit us on the butt," Wooden recalled of the eye-opening trip to Ijamsville in Frederick County. "This is awesome. It's inspiring."

The Greyhounds, winners of three straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association titles, improved to 2-0. Urbana, which also opened last year against Gilman, fell to 0-1.

The Hawks will still be remembered as the program that holds the state record for consecutive victories - a remarkable accomplishment when one considers that no one on this season's squad was even in the high school when the streak began.

"That happens," Urbana coach Dave Carruthers said of losing the streak. "We have to go on from here. We have a whole season left, and we have to make the best of it."

Granted, this wasn't the same Hawks team as in years past. The squad returned only one defensive starter from last season.

The Greyhounds didn't waste much time taking advantage of Urbana's inexperience. On the third play of the game, Wooden tucked the ball under his arm and scampered 66 yards down the right sideline for the game's first touchdown just 1:42 into the first quarter.

The Gilman defense forced the Hawks to punt on the next series, and Wooden returned the punt 42 yards to Urbana's 36-yard line.

In five plays, Wooden drove the Greyhounds to the 6, where he promptly ran into the end zone to give his team a 14-0 lead with 4:15 left in the period.

The Hawks went three-and-out on the next series and weren't helped by a 7-yard punt from junior Eric Lenz.

After an incomplete pass, junior tailback Jerry Jones ran between senior right guard Luke Poggi and junior right tackle Louis Young to record a 40-yard touchdown and arm Gilman with a 20-0 advantage with 2:28 left in the quarter.

The Greyhounds added a fourth unanswered score on their first series of the second quarter when Wooden - again attacking the right side of Urbana's defense - raced 78 yards for the touchdown.

Wooden gained 199 yards rushing for the game.

Young said there wasn't anything particularly special about Gilman's success on the right side.

"We dug it out there in the trenches," said Young, who - like Gilman coach Biff Poggi - is a first-year starter. "We tried to play the ball as much as we could, and once we saw that we could run the ball, that opened up our offensive attack."

The Hawks appeared to mount a rally with an eight-play, 68-yard drive that culminated in senior quarterback Al Sowers' 10-yard touchdown pass to Lenz 1:51 into the third quarter.

But what little momentum Urbana gained quickly fizzled as Greyhounds senior Anthony Triplin took the ensuing kickoff and sprinted 91 yards down the right sideline.

Jones completed the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 7:17 left in the third quarter.

Gilman's defense was nearly as dominating as its offense.

The Greyhounds made two successful third-and-goal stands in the first half, sacked Sowers three times and used two third-quarter interceptions by junior defensive back Grant Zimmerman and junior linebacker Nathan Hummel to end any threat of a Hawks comeback.

So is this the start of Gilman's own streak? The Greyhounds had a 29-game winning run two years ago before losing to a Pennsylvania team, but Poggi would be satisfied with a more realistic goal.

"I hope we start a streak and it's 10," Poggi said, referring to the remaining eight games on Gilman's schedule.

Eight more to go.

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