Gilman coach Biff Poggi would prefer that his players learn from mistakes made in victories, but he knows there might be value in his team's 15-7 loss to DeMatha on Friday night at Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex in Landover.
"Our goal was to come down here and get better, and we got a lot better," said Poggi, who lost 26 seniors, including The Sun's Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in quarterback Ambrose Wooden and defensive lineman Victor Abiamiri to graduation, and is off to a rare 0-2 start with his young team.
No. 4 Gilman's losses have come to two of the top teams in the Washington area - 14-9 to Georgetown Prep for the Little Hoyas' 30th win in a row and Friday to DeMatha.
On Gilman's second play of the final quarter, senior back Jerry Jones, who also sparkled at the corner on defense, rambled 85 yards down the sideline and Luke Bell kicked the extra point to give the Greyhounds a 7-6 lead with 8:47 remaining.
"Jerry Jones proved that he's got all the tools you need to have," said Poggi, whose team has won five straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference titles. "It was a senior making a really big play for us."
DeMatha spoiled Gilman's upset bid with a 21-yard field goal and a 30-yard return of a dropped lateral with 5:40 left.
Nonetheless, Poggi called his team's effort "awesome" and was pleased by the performance of nine defensive linemen he rotated and by how they blended with senior linebackers Nate Hummel and David Caperna and safety Grant Zimmerman.
DeMatha coach Bill McGregor, whose team is loaded with Division I-A talent, couldn't get over Hummel, saying, "He's a beast, a really good football player."
Poggi will find out in the weeks to come whether his team will continue to be the beast of the MIAA A Conference.
Gibbons coming on
New coach Donald Davis has turned the Cardinal Gibbons MIAA B Conference team around in a hurry.
The Crusaders, 2-9 last year, are off to a 3-0 start with wins over Fairfield (Pa.) by 69-3, Lutheran by 54-6, and Riverdale Baptist by 34-20. Junior Cory Robinson has been the team's breakaway runner.
The big play has been the Eagles' calling card in two nonconference victories in which they have outscored their foes 66-19. Friday at Frederick, four Aberdeen touchdowns in a 25-19 win covered 40 yards or more.
Tailbacks Carl Stokes and Avery Willie scored on runs of 45 and 47 yards, respectively, and senior defensive back Greg Williams scored on interception returns of 50 and 91 yards.
Devin Bradley ran for 175 yards and a touchdown on 18 attempts to pace No. 3 Old Mill (2-0) to a 43-6 romp over Meade (0-2). ... Sophomore Brandon Johnson of No. 6 Broadneck had his second 100-yard rushing game in five days Friday as the Bruins won their second in a row by 19-0 over Glen Burnie (0-2). The Bruins opened last Monday at home by routing Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, 33-6. ... Bobby Atwell scored four touchdowns as Southern-AA (2-0) routed Northeast, 32-12. Atwell returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, recovered a blocked punt in the end zone and scored on runs of 60 and 6 yards. ... Quarterback Larry Beavers had 171 all-purpose yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 70 and 1 yard and a 72-yard kickoff return as Annapolis (2-0) dealt North County (0-2) its 13th straight loss, 43-0. Bernard Parker ran for 152 yards and two scores. ... Donta Sylve, who ran for 170 yards on 27 attempts, scored his third touchdown of the game from the 1 in overtime to give St. Mary's (2-0) a 20-17 victory at C. Milton Wright (0-2). ... Running back Darell Hodges has run for 174 yards and two touchdowns and a two-pointer on 31 carries for Mervo (1-1).
Sun staff writer Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.