November 20, 2017

No. 7 Gonzaga (D.C.) forces six turnovers to dismantle No. 14 Gilman, 38-0

Gonzaga players celebrate the first win of the 2017 season after the 38-0 dismantling of No. 14 Gilman. Photo by Kyle McFadden/MSA.

BALTIMORE – Dean Engram will tell you, he played an important role on last year’s Gonzaga football team. But this year as a junior – with veterans Sam Brown, Tyree Randolph and Max Fisher off at college football programs – the Eagles have sizable voids that needed to be filled.

Naturally, Engram has stepped to the plate, and on Saturday, he produced a series of pivotal plays that surged No. 7 Gonzaga past No. 14 Gilman, 38-0. The defensive back and receiver finished the day with a table-setting interception and a 70-yard touchdown grab that kept the Eagles rolling.

Gonzaga forced a total of six turnovers.

“I’m trying to lead the defense this year. Throughout practice, we go at the ball. Just a bunch of angry, flying-around dudes who get to the ball,” Engram said. “You know, it’s just great to see our defense get six turnovers on the first day. I’m really proud of that … and no points. Goose egg.”

Three plays into Gilman’s opening drive, Engram timed a post-route to perfection, jumping in front of the intended Greyhounds receiver to snag the Eagles’ first of three interceptions.

“It was all film-study,” Engram said. “I saw him sprint out to the opposite side of the field and my guy ran a post, and I just read it. Played the ball and came up with it.”

Shortly after – 1:25 to be exact – fullback Loic Sangwa capped a five-play, 64-yard drive with a two-yard score to put Gonzaga ahead, 7-0.

On the ensuing Gilman possession, the Greyhounds marched down to the Eagles 15-yard-line, but quarterback Purnell Hills (9-for-17, 68 yards, three interceptions and one fumble) threw an off-balance pass across his body and into the hands of Gonzaga defensive back Joseph Wete, who came up with the grab with the end zone.

Gilman’s six first half drives ended inauspiciously: Interception, interception, turnover on downs, fumble, punt, interception.

After Hills fumbled the ball at the Eagles 10-yard-line, Gonzaga cashed 10 plays later, when freshman quarterback Caleb Williams uncorked a 70-yard bomb to Engram down the right sideline. The pass-and-catch connection gave Gonzaga a 14-0 lead with 4:15 left in the second quarter.

On the third interception — recovered by 6-foot-6, 270 pound lineman Malik Bridgeman — Gilman was backed up at its own 25-yard-line – and by the time Bridgeman recovered the tipped ball and got tackled, Gonzaga set-up five yards away from the pylon.

Sangwa punched in the five-yard scoring run on the ensuing play to give Gonzaga a commanding 21-0 lead at the half.

Out of the second-half gate, Sydney Person took a 50-yard catch-and-run from Williams to end the zone to swell the Eagles lead to 28-0 and after Gilman subsequently turned the ball over on downs, Gonzaga pushed it to 35-0 on a one-yard run by Jason Labbe (103 yards on 11 carries).

In total, Gilman turned the ball over three times inside of the red zone and 28 of Gonzaga’s 35 points were fueled by Greyhound turnovers.

“It’s a different ball-game if they scored down there early in the game,” Gonzaga coach Randy Trivers said. “Being able to keep them out early in the game, I think that really helped us to establish that cushion — that lead — and get some momentum going. Had we not been able to play that strong defense early on and capitalize on those opportunities, it would have been a different result. I do want to credit our defense for creating turnovers.”

 Williams, the freshman quarterback for Gonzaga, finished the day with a 139.2 passer rating on 6-for-11 passing, 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“It’s rare. It’s rare,” Trivers said of a freshman starting in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. “He’s done just a great job in training camp of really grasping and learning the offense. He has good command out there. He did a really good job of protecting the football in that position. He made good decisions today. The kid played well.”

Gonzaga used nine different ball carriers to total 227 yards on 33 carries. Gilman’s Zachary Dixon managed 61 yards on nine carries. Navy commit Brandon Williams was held to 18 total yards on six touches.

Gonzaga will now host Viera, the 25th-ranked team from Florida, while Gilman looks to get back on track at No. 10 Good Counsel. Both games are next Friday night.

“I’m really proud with the way our players played today,” Trivers said. “The effort was really, really good. They prepared really, really well for this day, for this moment. But for them to come out and execute, some of the guys who really hadn’t done certain things in our previous year, and the way they did it today, I was very proud.

“I’m really pleased with the way our guys were able to play in our first game.”

GONZAGA EAGLES

Passing

No. 18 Caleb Williams — 6-11, 140 yards passing (12.7 yards per attempt), two touchdowns, 139.2 passer rating

No. 10 Sweeney — 0-1, 39.6 passer rating

Rushing

No. 24 Jason Labbe — 11-103 (9.4 yards per carry), one touchdown, 39 long

No. 33 Lucas Warfield — 8-64 (8.0 YPC), 18 long

No. 10 Sam Sweeney — 4-22 (5.5 YPC), 10 long

No. 18 Caleb Williams — 3-16 (6.0 YPC), 21 long

No. 14 John Marshall — 1-14 (14.0 YPC), 14 long

No. 19 Thomas DiLenge — 1-9 (9.0 YPC), nine long

No. 4 Loic Sangwa– 2-7 (3.5 YPC), two touchdowns, five long

No. 23 Wade Jackson — 1-minus 1 (-1.0 YPC)

No. 6 Dean Engram — 2-minus 7 (-3.5 YPC)

TOTAL — 32-227 (6.9 YPC), three touchdowns, 39 long

Recieving

No. 6 Dean Engram — 1-70 (70.0 yards per reception), one touchdown, 70 long

No. 5 Sydney Person — 3-66 (22.0 YPR), one touchdown, 50 long

No. 19 Thomas DiLenge — 1-4 (4.0 YPR), four long

No. 24 Jason Labbe — 1-0

TOTAL — 6-140 (23.3 YPR), two touchdowns, 70 long

NO. 14 GILMAN GREYHOUNDS

Passing

No. 2 Purnell Hills — 9-17, 68 yards (4.0 yards per attempt), three interceptions, 23.3 passer rating

No. 10 Josh Ettlinger — 0-1, 39.6 passer rating

Rushing

No. 20 Zachary Dixon — 9-61 (6.8 yards per carry), 36 long

No. 3 Brandon Madison — 9-42 (4.7 YPC), 12 long

No. 31 Jeremy Cranston — 1-1 (1.0 YPC), one long

No. 14 Piper Bond — 1-1 (1.0 YPC), one long

No. 4 Brandon Willis — 2-minus 1 (-0.5 YPC), three long

N0. 2 Purnell Hills — 3-minus 3 (-1.0 YPC), one long, one fumble lost

TOTAL — 25-101 (4.0 YPC), 36 long, one fumble

Receiving

No. 14 Piper Bond — 4-29 (7.3 yards per reception), 11 long

No. 3 Brandon Madison — 2-27 (13.5 YPR), 23 long

No. 4 Brandon Willis — 2-19 (9.5 YPR), 17 long

No. 7 Thomas Booker — 1-3 (3.0 YPR), three long

TOTAL — 9-68 (7.6 YPR), 23 long

About Kyle McFadden 349 Articles

Kyle McFadden is a graduate from Linganore High School’s Class of 2014, a sports junkie and general news-hound. He got his start as a sports writer in January 2014 for Linganore’s student-run newspaper The Lance, where he wrote 13 articles.

McFadden then launched his own blog in October 2014 called The Beltway Dispatch covering collegiate, local high school and professional sports. Formally known as The Beltway Dispatch, McFadden and Evan Engelhard merged respective platforms in June 2015 to make what is now Maryland Sports Access.

With baseball, basketball and golf experience, McFadden brings ample knowledge to the helm of MSA. McFadden covers a wide variety of sports in football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer and specializes in the collegiate and high school levels.

McFadden volunteers his time at Damascus Road Community Church — serving as a mentor to the youth, basketball coach at the varsity and junior varsity levels, and leads a small group of high school sophomores every Wednesday night.

Although he’s only been around journalism since January 2014, he’s a high school sports reporter for The Baltimore Sun and freelancer for The Frederick News-Post.

McFadden’s work has also appeared in DMV newspapers The Aegis, The Capital Gazette, The Daily Times (Delmarva Now), The Hometown Observer, Howard County Times, Germantown Pulse and The Towson Times. He’s also won two Mike Powell Excellence in Journalism awards and has appeared on The Best of SNO, which showcases top student work of high school and college journalists.

McFadden currently studies at Frederick Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2018 to work on a bachelor’s degree in journalism with aspirations to be a national college basketball writer.

Contact: Twitter

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