Wednesday Rant: The Next Level Football Stag Edition

Let me hear your war cry!” – Full Metal Jacket, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey)

The whole DeMatha soccer fiasco reminded me again, this year, why I shouldn’t write about DeMatha soccer.  Soccer, in and of itself, is somewhat of a crap shoot anyway.  (Throw teenage boys in the mix, and watch Gonzaga four-peat.)  No matter what you already read about DeMatha soccer and how good they were supposed to be, now that their season is over it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. DeMatha is still known around the world as a basketball school but their season is just getting started.

Let’s all hope that the football team can be the first to bring home a team championship this despite the hype that they have received this year. While I am guilty as charged for being excessive in my praise for the Stags, I’ve also been very purposeful in my insinuation up until this point in regards to how the entire DeMatha football team has been playing so far this season. This could very well be one of the greatest football teams to ever put on a DeMatha uniform, but before they get to that point I still feel as though they have something to prove. Let me put it into perspective for you.

For one thing, the DeMatha defense hasn’t peaked yet. (Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the 44 – 0 shut-out against Carroll last Saturday means anything.) Here we are going into Week 11 and we still haven’t shown the fire that was evident in recent years. Remember that defense is what wins championships. For genius Defensive Coordinator Deno Campbell it is probably a matter of time before he can coach the Stags up to speed, but so far they play like they lack maturity. The tackling still isn’t where it needs to be and all of the defensive schemes probably still aren’t fully understood.

The best thing about our defense so far has been that they haven’t had to play much with the corps of running backs chewing up the clock behind our massive offensive line. With or without the best horse in the stable, teams are finding it difficult to stop the Stags’ running game although it is not impossible. (Just see the first three quarters of the Good Counsel game on October 9, 2009.) For DeMatha to continue to march towards an undefeated season and a national ranking they are going to have to continue to run the ball extremely well. Number seven for the Stags was able to rush for over 150 yards and three touchdowns against Carroll.

For the Stags to run the ball well, the offensive line has to keep the opposition at bay. So far, the big boys have all stayed healthy. I know we aren’t talking about thirty-year-old veterans, but there is something about their massive size that seems to lend lineman prone to injuries. Maybe it’s the bashing on every play? Maybe it is the fact that they put all that extra stress on joints that might still be developing? In any case, if the line continues to play as expected then anyone with eyes is going to be able to point at them as the principle reason why this football team is the best ever.

The reason why unassuming linemen are probably due some glory is because, for the first time in long time, there are DeMatha fans out there that couldn’t even tell you who is taking the snaps for the Stags. The play at quarterback hasn’t been terrible but nobody has proven himself as a one-man-show that can carry the team. As predicted at the beginning of the season, DeMatha has thrown the ball adequately down the field enough to keep the running game open. A classic example of this is when Good Counsel loaded up on defensive backs for what they thought was an obvious passing play, and then DeMatha running all the way.

A major drawback to this predictability is the fact that teams are not likely to be fooled twice, which is just what the playoff system requires. DeMatha is going to have to take it to the next level if they want to continue the tradition of winning because Good Counsel, Bishop McNamara, Gonzaga, and Saint John’s are all potential trap games now. I know that the Stags are going to continue to get better everyday that they go to practice just like everybody else in the league, too. I’m just hoping that the Stags can continue to stay one step ahead of the competition and bring it home because they deserve it. An undefeated season with national implications is what the Stags have been missing recently.

No one player is going to get any team seven championships in a row in high school football either. The DeMatha Stags should continue to have faith in the coaches and the system that has made this whole thing even possible. As long as that process is happening, and the persistent feeling in the DeMatha locker room is hunger, then I wouldn’t bet against the Stags.

Sometimes I feel like I’m repeating myself, but the truth is that this has been happening for many years. This year is a little different though. If things go extremely well, we may all have to reinvent DeMatha as national football power…

BONUS

The big bonus in this rant is the fat, “I told you so" in the embedded video above.  In the video you can hear one of the athletic managers talk about DeMatha football.  Keep in mind that he is not a teacher, or a coach, but a manager for the football team.  Needless to say, Russell Edgerton is just another part of championship football.

GO STAGS!

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