Gilman senior Antonio Dupree clung tightly to the Price Trophy after his No. 1 Greyhounds defeated No. 4 McDonogh, 35-28, on Saturday in the 100th football rivalry game between the two schools.
"It feels great. It feels like the work that we did and the process that we've gone through paid off for us," said Dupree, who ran 18 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. "They beat us badly for the past two years, so they kind of knew they had us coming for them."
The Eagles won last year in overtime and they took a 14-0 lead in less than five minutes in Saturday before an overflow crowd of more than 8,000 at McDonogh, but the Greyhounds didn't let that bother them.
Gilman quarterback Kasim Hill answered with two touchdown passes — to Korey Stevens and John Fitzgerald — less than two minutes apart to tie the game with 4:05 left in the first quarter. Neither team led by more than a touchdown the rest of the way.
Hill, a junior, said the message when the Greyhounds fell behind early was, "Just keep pushing. We were here before up at Paramus. Just keep pushing, do what we can do."
The Greyhounds (10-1) finished the season with 10 straight wins and took a 60-35-5 lead in the series with McDonogh. They also complete a 6-0 sweep of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference in taking the title for the second straight season, although they shared the crown with McDonogh last season.
McDonogh (6-3, 4-2) had its first lead just 26 seconds into the game when quarterback Jansen Durham (13-for-24 for 213 yards) hit Noah McCoy for a 62-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage. Mylique McGriff, who ran 31 times for 109 yards, then scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 2-yard blast just less than five minutes into the game for a 14-0 lead.
Most of the season, the Greyhounds have relied on their running game, but Hill came out firing and was 13-for-19 for 267 yards. He hit Stevens with a 14-yard pass with 5:56 left in the first quarter and on the first play of the next drive, threw a 53-yard touchdown to Fitzgerald for a 14-14 tie with 4:05 to go in the first quarter.
Three of the Greyhounds touchdowns came on plays of at least 30 yards, two of which were on plays of more than 50 yards, including Dorian Maddox's 51-yard run with 10:06 to go that turned out to be the game-winner.
"They big-played us," McDonogh coach Dom Damico said. "... We pride ourselves on stopping the run. They ran the ball at will against everyone on their schedule and we made them go to the second chapter of their playbook, and they executed some big plays and that's what beat us."
The Greyhounds' senior running back duo of Dupree and Maddox (11 carries for 74 yards) did most of their damage later in the game. Dupree's 30-yard scoring run and Hill's conversion run gave the Greyhounds a 28-21 lead with 5:14 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles then devoured almost six minutes with McGriff carrying most of the load before he tied the game with a 1-yard sprint with 11:17 to go in the third quarter. On the next drive, Maddox broke the deciding 51-yard touchdown run, a similar play to Dupree's score where the mountainous Gilman line opened a huge hole for him.
The offensive line — seniors Devery Hamilton, Stephen Spanellis, Wes Mehl and Stewart Keehner, and sophomore Ja'mion Franklin — have opened those holes all season.
"It's beautiful," Dupree said of running behind that line. "I'm going to miss them. I can't believe this is my last game with them. I love them and anytime they need me, they can call me for anything."
The Greyhounds graduate a strong class of seniors, including both running backs, top receivers Stevens and Fitzgerald and stellar defensive tackle Ellison Jordan, who suffered a knee injury early in the second quarter but still played most of the rest of the game.
"They're a great team. It's been 1,095 days since we beat them," Jordan said. "We were always hungry about this being the most important game ever. I really love this team so much. I'm proud of us. It's very special … and for our seniors to go out with a win, it's amazing."