The Gathering Storm

The first week of the WCAC inter-conference is over and the results indicate that the rest of the season will be worth watching. At the eye of the gathering storm for the WCAC play-offs is undefeated Bishop O’Connell who calmly dismantled Gonzaga 40-0 on Sunday. This is very bad news for Gonzaga who is now faced with the reality of slim play-off hopes in the closing days of September. The suspense during the previous two seasons for the Purple Eagles had been deflated with losses to the McNamara Mustangs in October. The win by the Bishop O’Connell (4-0, 1-0) over Gonzaga (0-4, 0-1) marks the first time that has happened since the reorganization of the WCAC from the old Metro Conference.

The Bishop O’Connell Knights certainly provided the biggest upset of the weekend considering the historical perspective but Saint John’s College (3-1, 1-0) proved that they aren’t ready to be added to the list of stalwarts succumbing to pressure from upstarts just yet and supplied shock value of their own. SJC managed to rally late in the fourth quarter to overcome a fourteen point halftime deficit in order to win 27-14 against Bishop McNamara (2-2, 0-1). A returned interception, returned fumble, and another returned interception were just what the Cadets needed to get back on track when their offense was only able to manage one touchdown run with a failed extra point in the third quarter.

The resurgence of the Cadets’ defense coupled with the confidence that the Knights are now exuding will undoubtedly influence the game against October 4 and make it worth watching. The Cadets may have just debunked the notion that they are an offensively focused team with concentrated talent on one side of the ball. However if O’Connell continues to prove all the skeptics wrong with an important home stand, then it could mean that McNamara has an uphill battle into the WCAC post season. Should the Mustangs fail to secure an upset victory against Good Counsel on October 17, or a win again Bishop O’Connell on November 1, the Mustangs will have to play formidable DeMatha on November 7 for a possible birth –excluding any sudden implosion by the Bishop O’Connell Knights.

As for the perennial mainstays of the WCAC, defending champion DeMatha and runner-up Good Counsel both notched wins against Archbishop Carroll and Paul VI, respectively. Good Counsel (4-0, 1-0) only needed three quarters to put a thorough shellacking on the Paul XI Panthers (2-2, 0-1), who opted to use the weather conditions to end the game short of completion. The DeMatha Stags (3-1, 1-0) simply decided not to show up on the front end and spotted the Carroll Lions (1-3, 0-1) seven points in the first quarter before eventually winning 44-7 this past Friday for their first home win of the season. Another slow start by the Stags has many people wondering if they will be prepared for the juggernauts of Jelani Jenkins and Caleb Porzel that lead the charge for the Good Counsel Falcons when the two WCAC titans clash this coming Thursday on ESPN2 during the Falcons’ regular season home game.

Already billed as the Highlight of the 2008 Season, DeMatha versus Good Counsel will likely determine the seeding of the top two teams of the WCAC play-offs for the sixth year in a row barring a miraculous continuation of the run by Bishop O’Connell. While the currently undefeated Bishop O’Connell Knights are currently in the catbird seat, they aren’t expected to pose serious competition to the Falcons or Stags when they meet during the regular season on October 10th (away) and 25th (home), respectively.

Dandini’s 2008 WCAC Week 5 Power Rankings

1. Good Counsel (4-0, 1-0)
2. Bishop O’Connell (4-0, 1-0)
3. Saint Johns College (3-1, 1-0)
4. DeMatha (3-1, 1-0)
5. Bishop McNamara (2-2, 0-1)
6. Paul VI (2-2, 0-1)
7. Archbishop Carroll (1-3, 0-1)
8. Gonzaga (0-4, 0-1)

Sorry no photos* again, this week.

* The Then & Again photos were from a Washington Post piece done last December on Morgan Wootten.  Not a lot of people know that before he became a Hall of Fame basketball coach, the only one admitted to the ranks of the HOF based solely on his high school record (.869 winning percentage), Morgan Wootten had a 79-40-2 record and won three conference titles as a football coach from 1956-1968. Wootten’s 1963 football team finished with a 9-0 record and was #1 in The Washington Post and ranked in the top ten nationally.

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