The Hype Continues : Crabcakes & Football

About this time, some of you really should examine why we’re paying all this attention to high school football.  Some of you read Highlight of the Season and thought that I went way too far.

I’m hoping that this post will justify some of the hype.  This post is about a look back on the battles of previous years between DeMatha Catholic High School and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School on the football field so you can put the big game tomorrow into perspective. 

For our purposes here, I’m going to recap the drama from the time that Good Counsel actually got on the proverbial WCAC football map, so to speak, until today.  Already known throughout the world for basketball, DeMatha started to  enjoy a good amount of success on the football field beginning with the arrival of Coach Bill McGregor in the early 1980’s and culminating in a five year league championship run from 92-97.  The following blocked quote passage is adapted and paraphrased from a blog that "Redskins" wrote on the site DC Sportsfan.  I had to put a more DeMatha slant on it because he claims to be Drew Gloster a former Good Counsel football player.  Anyway, see what you missed so far…

Regular Season Game ’96 – The birth of the discontentment between the schools was way too new to be considered even a modest rivalry until Good Counsel managed to win a regular season game against the Stags.  The Falcons were led by freshman QB Scott McBrien (Maryland, Green Bay Packers), who after an epiphany transferred to DeMatha after the season, thus further fueling the bad blood.   DeMatha had never lost a game to Good Counsel in football prior to this season, although they still managed to win the conference title against Gonzaga.  Of course Good Counsel was really pissed that their star QB knew what was best for him, and transferred in time to win a title at another school.  ( Quietly, Scott went on to lead the Stags to a 13-0 season and a No. 13 national ranking by USA Today as a senior in 1999 while completing 90-of-131 passes (.687) for 1,878 yards and 25 touchdowns with no interceptions).  Feelings about both losses (the game and a two-time All Met) would fester for 7 more years!

Fall 2001 Maryland football legend Bob Milloy, flush with more second tier public school state titles than any other coach in Maryland history, takes over as head coach of a struggling Good Counsel team.

Regular Season  Game ’04 – DeMatha and Good Counsel were ranked #1 and #2 in the state, respectively.  Good Counsel pulled the upset 31-21 at their home field in Wheaton on a game filled with spectacular plays in the pouring rain.  If the game in ’96 was a fluke, this Falcon win was official notice along with the arrival of legendary coach Bob Milloy three years earlier, that this team was serious.

Championship Game ’04 – With two minutes to go in the fourth quarter Good Counsel’s QB Reggie Gooch pitches the wrong way (to absolutely nobody) on the Stags’ 4-yard line to end the Falcons drive that could have tied (at 30) with a short field goal or taken the lead outright with touchdown.  Instead DeMatha recovered the fumble, used three downs to run out the clock and gave up two points by taking a safety.  Good Counsel doesn’t have time to mount another drive in the final moments and the Stags hang on to win by 1 point, 30-29.  The "Gooch" will be forever remembered as the Good Counsel curse and synonymous with choking that would ensue during the coming years.

Regular Season Game ’05 – Another tough regular season match-up played at substitute DeMatha home field, Parkdale High School, proved to be too close for comfort.  The game winning field goal was blocked by Good Counsel in the final seconds, but due to an injury of one of the Falcons, the clock stopped. Gooch!  This afforded DeMatha the opportunity to kick again much to the chagrin of Good Counsel faithful that thought they were robbed.  The Stags did kick again, and later went on to win 22-21.

Championship game ’05 – Facing an improbable 3rd and 22 deep in their own territory, Good Counsel’s star LB Akeem Hebron lines up at RB, and takes the draw 25 yards.  After gaining the first down on the DeMatha 1 yard line, the Falcons’ Anthony Davis reaches towards the end zone and fumbles to give away a potential score for Good Counsel. Gooch!  Good Counsel’s sideline was penalized 3 separate times for 45 yards, as one Good Counsel coach was even ejected, Gooch!, including one penalty that helped to sustain DeMatha’s game-tying drive.  In overtime Good Counsel’s Drew Gloster scores on an amazing 38 yard reception on the opening drive, only to have the extra point attempt bounce off the uprights. (Gooch!) Legend has it that the posts were built incorrectly 5 inches narrower than regulation high school uprights should have been.  DeMatha Super-Sophomore Kenny Tate scores on a run during DeMatha’s first possession in overtime and Matt Campbell converts the extra point to win 21-20, the third straight 1-point victory over Good Counsel.

Regular Season Game ’06 – Coming in as the USA Today’s game of the week for the nation, the Stags embarrass the Falcons 42-13 for Good Counsel’s final regular season game at their Wheaton Campus.  Good Counsel had recently begun the admission of girls and outgrown the campus and headed to Olney for a change of scenery.  

Championship Game ’06 – A grind-it-out game with the Falcons up while the clock was winding down in regulation saw the momentum shift when Good Counsel’s punter’s knee hit the ground while trying to handle a low snap.  DeMatha took over at the Good Counsel 3-yard line.  This miscue (Gooch!) led to a Stag touchdown.  After losing big during the regular season, Good Counsel takes the championship game into overtime.  The opening play of overtime is a touchdown reception by DeMatha on an amazing juggling catch by WR Rodney McLeod, however the Stags missed the point after attempt.  Good Counsel found themselves in the same position DeMatha was in the year before: the Falcons needed a touchdown and an extra point to win.  Unfortunately a fumbled snap (Gooch!) on fourth down during their overtime possession ended Good Counsel’s hopes.  The Falcons suffered their 5th straight loss to the Stags, and their 2nd overtime championship loss in a row.

Regular Season Game ’07 – A surprising 28-24 Good Counsel win after they were down 10 at halftime, marked by Good Counsel’s Jelani Jenkins’s outstanding defensive play of catching up to Rodney McLeod after 35 yards, who appeared to be headed for a sure score.

Championship Game ’07 – Caleb Porzel sprinted for a 70 yard run on the second play after DeMatha scored on their opening drive to tie the game at 7.  The defensive battle would prove to once again be the focus of the evening at Navy Marine Corps Memorial stadium in Annapolis.  However when Good Counsel fumbled out of their end zone (Gooch!) in the final minutes for a safety, it all but secured a 12-7 DeMatha lead.  Thanks to Gooch! yet another stellar effort by the defense, DeMatha won a 12-7 defensive battle to capture their fifth consecutive WCAC championship, and their fourth straight against Good Counsel, despite committing 4 first-half turnovers of their own!

No wonder that the Regular Season Game ’08 between these exciting teams will be played on ESPN2!  Tune in tomorrow (October 2) at 6:30 PM EST to see the next installment!


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