Maryland Private Schools

Emala Runs All Over DeMatha, Propels Gilman to Victory

Photos from the DeMatha vs. Gilman football game on September 12, 2008.
By Carl Little
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, September 13, 2008

The final seconds ticked off the game clock as DeMatha's players ran toward their end zone, business as usual. But as they huddled and took a knee, the sinking feeling of their 21-14 loss to Gilman started to set in. Some players sniffed back tears, others let them go unchecked, still others stared off into space, their faces wearing stunned expressions as they endured Stags Coach Bill McGregor's postgame fury.

Once McGregor finished, senior wide receiver-cornerback Emmanuel McPhearson led his team in prayer, then led them in a DeMatha cheer at Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex in Landover.

"As a senior leader, you just got to step up and push the younger guys on because they follow your steps," said McPhearson, who caught three passes for 29 yards.

The Stags (1-1) may have kept their poise, but their offense wasn't nearly as potent as the previous week, when they dominated defending Delaware state champion Middletown, 37-0, or when they punished Gilman, 42-0, last season.

"This isn't last year," McGregor said. "We didn't come to play, physically or emotional. You can't play a strong Gilman team like that."

Gilman (2-0) started fast and was keyed by senior quarterback David Emala, for whom DeMatha had no answer. On Gilman's second possession, Emala capped a 10-play, 66-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown strike that gave his team a 7-0 lead. Emala ran six times for 38 yards on that drive, amassed 124 rushing yards in the first half and finished the game with 206 yards on a staggering 41 carries.

DeMatha turned to junior running back Marcus Coker, who scored both Stags touchdowns. He dashed 28 yards up the left side in the second quarter to tie the game at 7. Early in the fourth quarter, he took the handoff on a draw, bulldozed two would-be tacklers and scampered 34 yards to tie it again at 14. He finished with 18 carries for 148 yards.

Gilman went up 21-14 midway through the fourth quarter on a 68-yard run by Darius Jennings. DeMatha had one last chance to answer, but a sack by Gilman, an offensive holding penalty and two incomplete passes ended the comeback bid.

"We beat ourselves," Coker said.

Gilman 21, No. 2 DeMatha 14 Crowd Participation: DeMatha's public address announcer asked two volunteers to come onto the field from the stands to move the chains. Chroniger's Night: DeMatha senior quarterback and Eastern Michigan recruit Tom Chroniger had 11 carries for 42 yards.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company