April 23, 2018

Allegany outlasts Dunbar, 49-42, on a night paid homage to legendary coach Jack Gilmore

Photo by @DCSuperSid, via Twitter.

CUMBERLAND — After Allegany’s 49-42 shootout win over Dunbar, and on a night when the school honored legendary coach Jack Gilmore, Campers coach Bryan Hansel choked up when he was asked how to describe the moment.

“He’d have liked a lot better defense, but I’m sure he loved the way we pounded the fullback, I’m sure he really appreciated it,” Hansel said with Gilmore in mind. “I think somewhere he’s smiling down on us and I can’t tell you how proud that makes me feel.”  

Gilmore, who died on June 19 at age 77, was the winningest coach in Allegany history, leading the Campers to three state titles with smashmouth, ground-and-pound style of football. On Friday night at Cumberland’s Greenway Avenue Stadium, the Campers followed Gilmore’s approach, as senior fullback Karson Robinette ran for 232 yards on the ground and Elisha Llewellyn’s added 151 yard rushing along with 86 yards receiving.  

Congrats Allegany Campers big 49-42 win tonight over Dunbar (Baltimore)

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“He’s our workhorse,” Llewellyn said of Robinette. “We just feed him the ball and he gets the yards and loosens up the outside for me.”

“[Our offensive line] blocked insanely well tonight,” Robinette added.

Hansel sure to credit the linemen, one by one.

“From left to right, Trevaughn Taylor, Braxton Mongold, Parker Preaskorn, Thomas Preaskorn and Wyatt Love,” he said.

The one-two punch of Robinette on the inside and Llewellyn on the outside opened up a chance for Allegany to be successful passing as well. While Allegany quarterback Cameron Bratton had some success in the air, it was the steady dose of Robinette, the fullback, and Llewellyn’s big plays that kept the chains moving and dominated the storyline.

Prior to kickoff, Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith pointed out that success or failure against Allegany would stem from how well the Poets could contain the Campers’ rushing attack.

“Any time you play Allegany, you gotta stop them from running the football,” he said. “If you stop them from running the football, you force them to do things they’re not comfortable with, like throwing the ball.”

Unable to contain the Allegany running game, Dunbar used a potent offensive attack of their own to match the Campers nearly score for score. Poets quarterback Jared Lewis completed 15 of 24 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two more scores.

While the 1983 Dunbar basketball team may have been the feature story of the ESPN 30 for 30 film, it was the Dunbar and Allegany football teams that produced an “ESPN Instant Classic” of their own.

Allegany’s first half scoring included a Robinette 5-yard rushing touchdown, Llewellyn 7-yard score, and Llewellyn 8-yard reception from Bratton. For Dunbar, it would be an 11-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Demond Jackson, and a 7-yard touchdown run by Lewis. Allegany held a 20-14 halftime lead.

In the second half, Llewellyn scored from six yards out and at the goal-line. R.J. Buford added a 4-yard score and Robinette scored on a 6-yard run.  The Poets, meanwhile, scored on an 80-yard kickoff return by Malik McCormack, 20 and 16-yard touchdown passes from Lewis to Shaun Tolbert, and a 3-yard touchdown rush from Lewis. 

“Nobody gave us a shot,” Hansel said. “The only people that believed in us were the kids and these coaches.”

Allegany’s victory drops Dunbar’s record against Cumberland schools to 5-2. Ironically, the only two Cumberland coaches who have beaten Dunbar are now Hansel and former Fort Hill coach — current Allegany High principal — Mike Calhoun, the man who tabbed Hansel for the job last year.

Allegany’s victory over Dunbar will raise eyebrows not only in Cumberland, but all throughout MPSSAA Class 1A football.  How fitting that on a night Allegany honored Gilmore, the legend, the Campers’ resort to Gilmore-esque tactics of establishing the fullback and playing smashmouth football to defeat the favored Poets.

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