ANNAPOLIS, Md. —
Saturday night on the outskirts of Navy-Marine Corps
Stadium the mood was somewhat solemn on the campus of the United States
Naval Academy as cadets joined millions of Americans honoring the
memories of those affected by the tragic events that took place 10 years
ago on Sept. 11.
Inside the stadium, the song "We're coming
to America" boomed over the public address system as the Gilman (Baltimore)
Greyhounds marched onto the field in cadence carrying the American flag.
The scene was set for two national powers to do battle on the
gridiron in the feature game of the inaugural Patriot Classic, an event
put together for the sole purpose of honoring the victims and heroes of
Gilman, fresh off a big win in its season opener over
Virginia powerhouse Oscar Smith, and Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)
, with its own
impressive overtime victory over Manatee (Fla.), squared off under the
lights in arguably the biggest game in the country this weekend.
was a game involving two of the most prized recruits in this year's
class – Gilman's Cyrus Jones
and Good Counsel's Stefon Diggs
It was a contest pitting the nation's No. 13 team - Gilman - and No. 15 Good Counsel.
On paper it had all the makings of the perfect matchup. On the field, it was exactly that.
took a fourth-down stand by the Good Counsel defense on its own 6-yard
line late in the fourth quarter to secure a thrilling 26-21 win over
"Well, you know, we beat a really, really good football
team," an exasperated Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy said. "It's so
exciting I haven't gotten my thoughts collected. We went over there last
year and they kicked our brains in and I think our kids remembered
that. We didn't play so great but found a way to win."
Counsel's night started out perfectly. The Falcons marched right down
the field on their first possession, covering 74 yards on eight plays,
capped by a 44-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brendan Marshall
to post a 7-0 lead. Marshall finished the
night completing eight of 17 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.
teams then exchanged two punts and on Good Counsel's second, Jones
returned it 18 yards to the Falcons' 21-yard line. Four plays later,
junior quarterback Shane Cockerille
(8-for-11, 82 yards and two TDs)
found junior Micah Kiser
wide open up the middle for a 15-yard
touchdown. Trevor Wey's
extra point knotted the score at seven with 2:59
remaining in the first half.
Good Counsel wasted no time
marching right back down the field. But on second-and-goal on the 2-yard
line with time running out in the first half, a direct snap to Diggs
was fumbled back to the 16-yard line. A 33-yard field goal attempt by
sailed left as time expired. However, a
roughing-the-kicker penalty on Gilman, followed by an offsides penalty
on the defense, gave Corriere a second chance. The senior took
advantage, converting from 23 yards out to give the Falcons a 10-7 lead
heading into the locker room at the half.
And then it got exciting…
Counsel came out of the locker room and, starting on its own 20-yard
line, the Falcons needed just seven plays to get into the end zone. A
39-yard pass from Marshall to junior wide receiver Kendall Fuller
senior running back Wes Brown's
7-yard sweep around the right for a
touchdown at the 9:18 mark of the third quarter.
"I saw it and I
hit the hole hard all day and that's what my mind was prepared to do, to
hit the hole," an elated Brown, who carried the ball 14 times for 121
yards and two touchdowns, said after the game.
Despite the quick
score, the Greyhounds struck right back. Cockerille finished off an
eight-play, 69-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run to pull Gilman
within a field goal, 17-14, with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
defense forced Good Counsel to a three-and-out, and on the Greyhounds'
first play from scrimmage following the punt, Cockerille hit a wide open
Jones streaking down the right sideline for a 58-yard touchdown. Wey's
extra point gave Gilman its first lead, 21-17.
another Good Counsel punt, it appeared all the momentum was on Gilman's
side. However, on first-and-10 on their own 20-yard line, a botched snap
bounced into the end zone and Cockerille was forced to kick it into the
tunnel for a safety as time expired in the third quarter, cutting the
lead to 21-19.
Gilman punted on its next possession and after a
31-yard reception by Diggs, Brown scampered 40 yards untouched around
the left end for a 40-yard touchdown. Corriere's extra point gave the
lead back to Good Counsel, 26-21.
Diggs, who is mulling
scholarship offers from just about every major college program in the
country, had a relatively quiet night finishing with two catches for 39
yards and four carries for 23 yards.
"I don't give the credit to
me," Diggs said. "We got a lot of playmakers on our team. It's not
just me. We had a monkey on our back and we were the underdog. We lost
last year so we had to come out and prove ourselves."
themselves the Falcons did. Yet, despite the Greyhounds' loss, perhaps
it was Jones (eight carries for 41 yards and six catches for 81 yards
and a TD) who summed it up best a few days before the game when he said,
"The best thing we can do is play our hardest for those who were killed
[on 9-11], and the families and friends they left behind."
And play hard they did.
Mornhinweg, St. Joseph's Prep impressive (continue reading)