DeMatha is no match for Gilman quarterback Darius Jennings

By James Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 19, 2010; 12:33 AM

TOWSON, MD. - Standing on the sideline, recounting how he led Gilman to a 35-10 dismantling of top-ranked DeMatha on Saturday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium, Greyhounds quarterback Darius Jennings couldn't believe how many rushing attempts he accumulated on the night.

"Thirty-one carries," he said. "Oh, wow."

Asked if he had the energy for more, the 6-foot, 185-pound senior answered blankly: "Of course, of course. It's all in a day's work."

If 270 yards, two touchdowns and another toppled top-ranked D.C.-area team is just a day's work, then Jennings is truly working hard for a living.

Perhaps the best football player in the state, Jennings has led Gilman, the top-ranked team in the Baltimore area, to wins over DeMatha and then-No.1 Good Counsel this month.

Recruited by nearly two dozen division I schools, including Maryland and Virginia, Jennings dared the DeMatha defense to stop him. During the Greyhounds' first scoring drive, Jennings ran the ball seven of eleven plays - all from a spread formation.

Though Jennings's legs built a quick 14-0 lead in the first half, DeMatha prevented him from breaking off the long runs they feared he would - his longest run went for 11 yards. He eventually wore down the Stags, using his speed and shifty moves to run up the middle or dart outside for longer gains. DeMatha's defense, which has allowed more than 30 points in each of its three games, couldn't keep up.

"We lost in all phases of the game," DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor said. "We couldn't run the football. Gilman's defense overpowered us at the line of scrimmage. Defensively, we couldn't stop Jennings."

With their own standout runner, the bruising, 249-pound Delonte Morton, out with a sprained ankle, DeMatha tried rushing the ball with another one of its big running backs, 218-pound Jacob Siwicki. But the Gilman defense crowded the line and held DeMatha scoreless until a 40-yard field goal by Michael Branthover with eight seconds left in the first half.

When the Stags did move the ball, they had to through the air. Their lone touchdown came on a one-yard Siwicki run that was set up by a 63-yard pass from senior quarterback Nikolay Uherek to wide receiver Ryan Burbrink four minutes into the fourth quarter.

Asked for his thoughts on what didn't work Saturday night, Cyrus Kouandjio, DeMatha's big offensive lineman, paused and sighed.

"I can't seem to put my finger on it, you know," he said, later adding that the team isn't working hard enough in practice.

Near the end of the game, when DeMatha started passing more to try and come back, Jennings stepped in as a defensive back for the Greyhounds. Even after all those carries and the pounding his body took, he wanted to help his team any way he could.

"I can't imagine a better football player in the state," McGregor said. "He's outstanding."

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