WCAC Recap: Weeks 1 & 2

Grand Entrances and Big Openings

I won’t ever front for the cameras on this.  I didn’t really cover week one because DeMatha took week one off, essentially.  Yeah, they decided to open their season a week later on September 5 (this past Saturday) against Riverdale Baptist.  DeMatha won 38-0 but we’ll get back to that later.  DeMatha also opened in the Washington Post as the #1 team in the Washington Metropolitan area (DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia) again in the Pre Season poll, but let me go over what happened in week one first.

I suspect that Week One was all about preserving respectability as a conference.  Some of the second tier teams have slipped of late.  As you may recall, just last year Gonzaga got beat up by a middle-of-the-road DCIAA team.  This year Gonzaga managed to find an even softer DC public school opponent than Coolidge in last year’s doormat, Anacostia.  The Purple Eagles smashed the Indians 55-20 and proved that while they might not be able to manage a playoff berth in the WCAC, at least they can claim some sort of moral victory or something.  I really don’t know.  I don’t really care about Gonzaga, either.  Whatever for them.

The other game that I was concerned about in Week One was Archbishop Carroll versus Saint Mary’s Ryken.  In some respects this could be a real WCAC league game if not for the fact that this is still the introductory period for SMR, and thus will not count.  (The game will count next year for SMR when they play a full WCAC schedule.) I was anxious to see this game because of the fact that a strong showing by the Carroll Lions could mean that the roar was finally back.  While they managed to eventually win the game 32-7, the fact that they were down 7-0 at the half somewhat muted Carroll’s triumph.  Saint Mary’s Ryken isn’t that good of a football team.  I don’t believe that Carroll is either, after hearing of their struggles.

With that being said, the entire WCAC prevailed during the first week –which was as grand an opening as the conference could have hoped for.  Saint Johns College and Bishop O’Connell both notched wins against area foes and they represented the WCAC well.  (The WCAC stalwarts beat Calvert Hall of Baltimore and Wilson High of the DCIAA, respectively.) It is easy to get into the whole DeMatha hoopla, and you forget that if the competition isn’t up to par, then ultimately it doesn’t bode well for the Stags on the national stage.  DeMatha might have won the league every year, of late, but if the league is no good what does that ultimately mean?  I was glad to see the WCAC looking so healthy in order to start off the season.

Limited Expectations

Week Two ended that charade of WCAC dominance completely.  Archbishop Carroll could have really made a statement in their game of the week against former conference football participant, Bishop Ireton.  The lions took that as their cue to do what they have done best of late: lose.  They did that thing again where they didn’t score in the first half, but this time the Lions couldn’t repeat the same scoring barrage, and they fell to the Cardinals 20-18

Gonzaga proved that they weren’t much better when they fell to an upstart Friendship Collegiate team, a DC public charter school not affiliated with the DCIAA.  You may remember Friendship Collegiate played DeMatha pretty tough last year, and they will get a second crack at the Stags this year on September 18th.  Friendship Collegiate beat the Purple Eagles 19-9 so that has got to mean something, right?  Well it probably means that Gonzaga is still a program in a state of recovery, at the very least.

The rest of the WCAC fared better.  Paul VI opened their season 14-0 over Saint Mary’s Ryken and will enjoy what could be their biggest boost in the rankings this year.  I was more surprised that The Panthers waited until Week Two in order to open their season than I was that the SMR Knights seem to have serious problems on offense.  I’m not sure if Chris Rixey is really ready to play in the WCAC, but the good thing is that the Saint Mary’s Ryken quarterback doesn’t have to.  Rixey will graduate this year and some other kid will be at the helm when the Knights start officially playing in the conference.

Saint Johns College beat Carver Vocational Technical High School 40-0. SJC Cadets’ senior running back, Charles Brown rushed for over 180 yards on just five carries for the win.  I read that the kid was looking absolutely sick.  I can’t remember, but he might have had three touchdowns.  Crazy stats!

Not to be outdone, the McNamara Mustangs shut down Spingarn High of the DCIAA 56-0 on the road.  I have no idea what Brandon Coleman did, but this score is so ridiculous that I shudder to think of it.  McNamara Head Coach Bryce Bevill should have probably taken it easier on the public school.

Good Counsel flew all the way out to San Diego, California to beat Valhalla 28-16, for the Falcons’ road win.  This was a very impressive win, in my opinion.  For one, the Falcons were on the road.  The second factor was battling the unexpected once they got there, and Head Coach Milloy has Good Counsel in the right mindset to handle another mentally grueling WCAC season.

Bishop O’Connell decided to take this second week off.  They could use a chance to bask a little.

Week 2 WCAC Rankings

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

 

Back to the Stags

So this turned out to be a really good week for DeMatha and they didn’t even play to open the season.  In addition to heaping on more pre season accolades, the Stags thoroughly trounced a Riverdale Baptist team that frankly, seemed unprepared to play.  The Crusaders had several penalties for having twelve men on the field, and they could have really used an extra guy to stop the DeMatha onslaught.  As expected, the Stags appear to be prepared to run the football this year and contend with their trademark defense.  The running backs got it down the field, and the defense made big plays to preserve a shut-out.  Neither the offense or defense was perfect, but both played well when it mattered most.

I hope you guys are seeing a recurring theme in all of these posts.  The DeMatha Stags certainly want you to believe that they are going to be around for a while.  Perhaps a better test will be next week on the road against Gilman of Baltimore, but for now the Stags can hold their heads high; It appears as if this year’s crop can carry the mantle passed on from years before.  Quarterback Daniel Tapscott started the season off with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Ryan Burbink and basically killed all of the noise to any controversy.  He added in a touchdown sneak on a run for one yard later on in the first quarter, and the DeMatha Stags showed that they had a decent throwing and running quarterback replacement.

Branthover couldn’t wait to get on the board this year also: the Stags’ fantastic kicker nailed a thirty yard field goal in the second quarter.  Tapscott later showed his inexperience by throwing an interception on another drive, but the DeMatha defense bailed him out by forcing a fumble in the red zone.  (Has anyone ever heard of Darien Harris or Elbie Williams?)  After that happened you could pretty much tell that the game was over.  Marcus Coker started running the ball and eating up the clock.  By the time Coker was finished he amassed over 170 yards on the ground and one touchdown.  Then, as predicted, it was Jeff Knox’s turn to run the football for DeMatha –and he eventually got a score.  After him, Meriwether.  And then Haberson.  I think you get the point.  Lorenzo Waters had a great first game as he recorded an interception in the third quarter to round out the overall solid play by the defense.

Remarkable Side Note

In seemingly keeping with the theme of seven this year, remarkably seven DeMatha players made professional rosters this year in the National Football League.  It is probably the most people from one high school in Professional Football at this time. 

Think about that, and let that sink in.

Here are the names and the teams of the DeMatha graduates playing in the NFL this year:

  Bryan Westbrook   Philadelphia Eagles
  John Owens   Seattle Seahawks
  Josh Wilson   Seattle Seahawks
  Quinn Ojinnaka   Atlanta Falcons
  Byron Westbrook   Washington Redskins
  Edwin Williams   Washington Redskins
  Cameron Wake   Miami Dolphins

 

Anyway, before we get ahead of ourselves, the DeMatha Stags need to focus on beating Gilman this week.  Check it, ya’ll.  Go Stags!

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