Posts Tagged ‘Football’

Undefeated DeMatha Stags Football Champions 2016

November 20, 2016

Congratulations to the 2016 DeMatha Catholic High School football team on an undefeated 12 – 0 season and WCAC championship.  The Stags won their fourth Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title in football in as many years.

Check out the highlights (including select game video) that I compiled from Twitter here: .

This time it was against the Saint John’s College High School Cadets in extraordinary fashion and the win required a never-give-up attitude and late game heroics.  SJC quarterback Kasim Hill is headed to the University of Maryland next year and will undoubtedly start on their home field in the future but he was no match for this DeMatha team.  Hill hooked up with Ed Lee for three touchdowns in the first half and it looked as if he was going to will the Cadets to victory early on when they took a 19 – 14 lead into halftime.

The answer came late for the DeMatha Stags who are usually accustomed to dispatching opponents early by demoralizing them with a bruising running game.  Without the benefit of time on their side the DeMatha football team relied on gritty play to come from behind after the Cadets eventually amassed a fifteen-point lead.  Trailing 29 – 14 in the fourth quarter the team that never quit got a break when Kasim Hill was sidelined temporarily.  A botched pitch resulted in a DeMatha recovery and a quick score to make the tally 29 – 21 in favor of SJC.

The most ironic scene of the afternoon was a video of Saint John’s students chanting, “overrated!” to the DeMatha crowd during their eventual failure to win the contest.

On the ensuing play the Saint John’s head coach Joe Casamento, commanded the Cadets to defend against an onside kick but failed to plan for the deep kick.  The DeMatha special team unit recovered the ball at the SJC 1 yard line as it rolled untouched after a footrace between the aware and unawares.  DeMatha quarterback Beau English threw a short strike to honor man #10 Anthony Toro and suddenly the Stags were back in business.  DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks sensed the momentum shift and opted to go for two but the conversion failed.

With the score at 29 – 27 the vaunted DeMatha defense came up big and forced a punt.  The Stags offense matched the phenomenal efforts of their counterparts by marching down the field and scoring again on a fade route to the running back Myles Miree.  After kicking the extra point this time Coach Brooks must have thought that the DeMatha football team already had all the makings of a win.  With the score 34 – 29 with only 1:05 left to play he wouldn’t have very long to contemplate it.  Myles Canton intercepted Kasim Hill on what would be the last play of the game and returned it all the way back to the SJC 1 yard line.

Calvin Ashley, a highly recruited offensive lineman for Saint John’s went down with an injury that left him unresponsive for a short period.  There were 29 seconds remaining on the clock when the game was decidedly over and both teams retired in prayer for the Auburn commit.  34 – 29 would be the final score and DeMatha completed one of the most memorable comebacks in school history with the total effort of their football team.

There are just too many football Stags to name and not enough time to give them all justice, but it will suffice to say that this is one of the finest sports teams that DeMatha has ever had.  In addition to notching multiple historic superlatives the 2016 DeMatha football team should also garner consideration for a share of a mythical national title with their unblemished record.  Their magnificent performance is rare when you consider their strength of schedule and conference format.  DeMatha took everybody’s best shot this year and achieved greatness by consistently rising to the occasion as a team.

A collection of individuals, no matter how talented, couldn’t beat this team.  Even when the odds were the longest and football fans were headed towards the exits, the 2016 DeMatha team showed that they were prepared to overcome adversity.  Coach Brooks should be proud that his DeMatha football team could do it in a way that is both reflective of the school and aligned with the ideals that the prestigious conference is supposed to stand for.  The WCAC might be headed for restructuring in football with a more powerful commissioner about to take the reins for the first time but DeMatha is already in great hands.

In a world where even high school sports are experiencing the influences of big money and corporate donors, Coach Brooks still managed to do things the DeMatha way and win.  Chalk another one up for the DeMatha Stags that bought into the system and toughed it out to keep the WCAC football championship trophy in Hyattsville.  The 2016 DeMatha football team certainly lived up to all of the hype and a celebration is surely in order.

National Focus on WCAC Football in Final Weeks of 2016 Season

October 30, 2016

We are coming up on the football regular season finale in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) but before can we just acknowledge that the DeMatha kids from years’ past are doing alright?  DeMatha football had a bye-week in the last weekend of October but the Stags that won championships over the previous three years were hard at work this Saturday.  Lorenzo Harrison is up to his old tricks now with the University of Maryland and he has played his way into All-Freshman team talk.  Lorenzo has been nothing short of sensational and professional scouts have already taken notice. Fellow Stag turned Terrapin teammate Tino Ellis just started his third game and is impressing in college, as well.  John Lovett is busy setting records at Princeton for scoring touchdowns.  Ju’Whuan Bentley and Mark Allen took a photograph at the Purdue versus Penn State game and contemplated the bond of excellence that ties all of these gentlemen and scholars together.

We could easily go on.  All those guys were extremely good, but none of them were playing for a national title this late in the football season.  As much success as the recent key performers had in DeMatha uniforms and beyond, there is even more excitement surrounding the 2016 squad.   There are new players ready to make a name for themselves and they could do it in rare style.  (There will be more on those athletes in The Chronicles of Six very soon.)  DeMatha football players today have the chance to go undefeated and subsequently launch head coach Elijah Brooks into the pantheon of legendary Stags. Of course, they would also do the same for themselves because the 2016 team is also in the hunt to be the best high school football team in the United States.  Coach Brooks was an outstanding DeMatha football player and he understands the high stakes that his kids are playing for.  The team is sitting at a perfect 9-0 and they are ranked #6 in the USA Today expert poll and #9 according to USA Today computers.

If DeMatha football remains undefeated in 2016 they will go down as one of the best sports teams that the school has ever had.

The groundwork for this kind of campaign is grueling and has taken decades of trying to finally materialize.  DeMatha has been on the cusp of greatness for a while and the evidence has always been on the field.  With a multitude of suddenly famous players as precursors and WCAC football championships from 2013, 2014, and 2015 this year could be considered a continuation of sorts.  The pressure has been slowly mounting for years and thoughts are now drifting towards capping the season in a way that has seldom been done in school history.  An unblemished record could also mean a measure of vindication for the national aspirations of the football program at DeMatha but first they are going to have beat two of the top four teams in the league, twice.

For the first time since coach Brooks took over the program this DeMatha football team is in control of their own national destiny heading into November. First, the 2016 football Stags need to take care of business in the conference to close the regular season and then again in two playoff games.  Good Counsel is a familiar WCAC foe standing in their way and the presumed fourth playoff seed is likely to face the Stags two weeks in a row.  The first meeting this season between the two will be broadcast on ESPN in their finale of the annual high school football showcase of the top teams in the country on November 4.

The Falcons haven’t enjoyed much success against DeMatha in recent years and are playing to retain respect in a league that has seen some changes in the top echelon of competition that they once dominated.  Gonzaga and Saint John’s College have both beaten Good Counsel already and will play their own storied rivalry between themselves on the same weekend to determine the second and third playoff seeds.  Some of the best and most-watched high school football is going to be in the WCAC and eyes have finally shifted from powerhouse states like Texas and Florida to the DC Metropolitan area.

Such a change has been a very long time coming.  None of the WCAC superlatives would have been possible in a league that simply settled for just being mediocre, and the top four teams have all played a significant part.  DeMatha football is poised to stand out from even this elite few but it will take a complete group effort to get the job done.  (The Stags have previously won national titles is wrestling, soccer and basketball.)  DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys is no stranger to the added attention but the 2016 football players could really capitalize on it in a very political sport.  Football rankings that are produced over multiple seasons are almost impossible to climb but we might all be witnessing something special.

Stay tuned because whatever happens next is guaranteed to be newsworthy.

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The 2016 DeMatha Football team is attempting to make history in November.

DeMatha Versus St. John’s College Is Back On In High School Football

October 4, 2016

DeMatha bested St. John’s College 14 – 13 on Friday, September 30 and one thing quickly became clear: The rivalry between DeMatha and St John’s College High School (SJC) is back in full effect on the gridiron.  The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) has several high profile events in football despite imbalances.

(Full Game Highlights from utrhighlightvideos / YouTube)

DeMatha has not lost to SJC in football in almost a quarter of a century and the Cadets haven´t notched a championship in football since 1989.  While the recent football record has been lopsided in the favor of the DeMatha Stags it is now obvious that the Cadets are once again serious about challenging their supremacy.  Their last appearance in the WCAC football championship game in 2013 resulted in a 31 – 10 drubbing at the hands of DeMatha.  The Cadets haven’t been back to the WCAC final game since, but they have recently lured a myriad of skilled athletes with undeniably augmented facilities.

A recent influx of cold hard cash from Under Armour CEO and SJC alumnus, Kevin Plank, has propelled the Cadets into not just WCAC relevance but also national rankings.  The Cadets (4 – 2) came into the DeMatha game ranked in the top 25 in the USA and had previously been ranked as high as number 10 prior to their loss to IMG Academy in Florida.  As sports fans have witnessed at the university level there are often higher expectations and thus more pressure with such generous financial support.  SJC forced an alumnus out as head coach of the football program last year to make room for a renowned outsider in Joe Casamento.  A bevy of top prospect transfers bolstered the Cadets that have continued to make gains but the narrow loss on September 30 against the 3-time defending WCAC champions has created more questions than answers.

The talk around the WCAC is that SJC can’t be satisfied with anything less than total victory but it remains to be seen if all of the changes are going to be enough.  DeMatha is currently ranked number 4 in the USA and the Stags have their eyes set on a national title.  In order to complete that mission the Stags are going to need a little luck with absolutely no losses for the remainder of the year.  DeMatha has been fortunate with a 6 – 0 record but as they might recall from the previous year, a national title in high school football is no easy task.  Surprises can come from unexpected sources however the Cadets are all but assured a second chance at beating DeMatha in WCAC playoffs in a shrinking football league.

There aren’t too many WCAC schools that have had the stomach for this kind of high school football arms race.  Bishop Ireton and Paul VI have long since departed from playing the football schedule but still opted to stay in the WCAC for other sports.  When Bishop O’Connell of Virginia also dropped the sport there were only Maryland and DC schools left to play each other.  Three of the remaining six schools filled the holes in their schedules with national prominence in mind and that suddenly made wins against them hard to come by.  Gonzaga managed the feat last year in league play against the DeMatha Stags in 2015 and effectively ended the strongest national championship bid in recent years by a Washington DC metropolitan area school.

In order to even be considered for a national title the focus has to be maintained because every single game essentially becomes a national title game.  Contests against traditional rivals within the league are often the biggest pitfalls.  Even teams like Bishop McNamara and Archbishop Carroll have their hearts set on upsetting their more famous neighbors to make a name for themselves. There is a lot of good football to look forward to in 2016. SJC versus Gonzaga is one of the oldest rivalries in the history of the sport and DeMatha must play at Good Counsel to finish the WCAC regular season.  Both games will be played during the first weekend in November.

The grueling season will only get harder from there.  The WCAC playoffs and the pollsters are unforgiving in football and we all can’t wait to see how 2016 factors into ending these debates.

(Featured Photo A Stag In The Woods)

Beau English is Mr. Perfect

September 19, 2016
mr-perfect-beau-english

#17 Beau English was a perfect 15/15 passing and leads the #4 team in the USA.

Beau English is no stranger to the winner’s circle and he has already led DeMatha to the WCAC championship in 2014 and 2015 after taking over as the quarterback for the Stags as a sophomore.  The United States Air Force Academy commit has dazzled fans early in the 2016 season by turning in not just one but two perfect passing performances en route to an unblemished 4-0 start.  This young man has measured up to the highest standards off of the field and on it.

Hot right out of the gate, Beau English has scorched opponents with a variety of passing options that DeMatha isn’t typically known for.  Gun slinging isn’t how most DeMatha football fans identify the program that has relied heavily on the run in the past.  (Even the former DeMatha quaterback with the nickname “gun” was primarily a threat on the ground, see below.)  The idea of running between the tackles isn’t news to any successful program however DeMatha has made it a calling card of sorts even before the days of former head coach Bill McGregor.

 

 

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DeMatha senior Beau English

The current DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks was a student of McGregor and one of his best running backs, but it is apparent that passing talent is in fashion as long as Beau English is on the field.  Beau has the ability to tally up yards even though DeMatha is still stacked at their most dependable position.  The featured running back this year, Anthony McFarland, was lost to a pre-season broken leg but the Stags have hardly missed a beat.  The offense has opened up under the steady stewardship of Beau English and it has resulted in a national championship buzz for DeMatha football.

After toppling Oscar Smith (VA), Avalon (MD), Bishop McDevitt (PA), and now McDonogh (MD), DeMatha football is ranked number 4 in the USA according to most polls.  Once again the eyes in Hyattsville shift to complete a perfect season and stay in the hunt for a national title.  While the entire cast of players and coaches deserves the credit for the success of the DeMatha football team there is no denying that Beau English has done his part so far.  The added dimension of the passing game has done wonders for running backs Khory Spruill and Myles Mireeand the DeMatha defense has been solid as well.

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Beau English is now known as Mr. Perfect and he is headed to the Air Force Academy after 2016.

 

But it is worth mentioning that Beau English is the first to be absolutely perfect in the modern quarterback rating system at DeMatha.  That is really something in my estimation.  This kid deserves this nickname regardless of the outcome of the rest of the season but I hope that you know by now that I’m rooting for him to take it to the fullest extent.  I have been writing about the DeMatha Stags for a very long time and there aren’t that many players that have achieved the level of nickname status from me.  If anyone could stand up to the mounting pressure it would be this guy.

If Beau English can keep the party going with his third consecutive WCAC title in football he will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks in school history.  A name like “Mr. Perfect” will only draw too much attention to him where he is going and I wouldn’t wish any correlations to any other demerit dodgers on him.  I think of previous nicknames like the one I bestowed on Tommy “gun” Chroniger and I always knew that I could do better.  (Tom Chroniger won three WCAC titles for DeMatha football, but his passing completion percentage left room for improvement.)  Whether or not Beau English is able to accomplish the extraordinary feat of winning DeMatha’s first ever national title in football, he will always be Mr. Perfect to me.

DeMatha Football Dedicated in 2015

September 20, 2015

DeMatha Football is already off to their best start ever in 2015 and we are only four weeks into the season.  The Stags beat two nationally ranked opponents from Florida and a tough LaSalle team from Philadelphia after a bye-week to hang on to their own coveted #4 national ranking.

I’m going to let that sink in.

The DeMatha Stags need a clean sheet in the upcoming WCAC schedule and they are automatically in the national championship discussion but with a little luck they could theoretically be a clear choice, too.  And why not?  I have had the pleasure of seeing all three games because the DeMatha Stags football team hasn’t exactly been shy about their chances. The Stags opened the season on ESPN against power house Miami Central in a dominating performance.  This team has a lot of ability –even by DeMatha standards, and good enough to overcome the long odds for a high school in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#1 Darryl Turner, Jr. DeMatha Catholic HS Class of 2016

DeMatha football players are dedicating the 2015 season to Darryl Turner, Jr. after a season-ending injury.

DeMatha Football Head Coach Elijah Brooks has been building up to this for a while.  There are three All American selections on this year’s team to add to a wealth of experience.  Despite losing #1 Darryl Turner Jr. to a fractured ankle in the opener against Miami Central the Stags are still laden with senior leadership.  Those guys went to the University of Maryland commit’s home after the season-ending injury and have dedicated the season to the student-athlete described as the heart and soul of the 2015 DeMatha football team.

DeMatha has one more guaranteed game on ESPN against Gonzaga but local television might want to pick up the rest of their season if they manage to go undefeated.  I can’t think of another Washington DC area metropolitan school that has ever been in the hunt for a national title in football.  This is history in the making and uncharted territory for the Stags.  I hope that they can pull this off because wouldn’t that be something?

No. 2 Miami Central, No. 5 DeMatha find common ground for this weekend’s Super 25 matchup

August 27, 2015

Well what are you watching this Saturday (August 29, 2015) if not watching the DeMatha Stags attempt to break into the top five high school football national rankings?  DeMatha has a very strong team this year and they are attempting to come right through the front door.  Here is an article in the USA Today regarding this unlikely match-up of high school football juggernauts so early in the season and why this game, in particular, has the attention of so many.  You see, it isn’t just me.

USA Today High School Sports

Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football) Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football)

At first glance, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) and Miami (Fla.) Central wouldn’t seem to have a lot in common. DeMatha is a private, relatively pricey (tuition is $16,400 a year) school that doesn’t play for a state title in football but has won the past two Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles. Miami Central is a public school where 65% of the students qualify for free or reduced-price student lunches and the Rockets have won three consecutive 6A state titles in football.

But DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks and Miami Central’s Roland Smith found common ground on one point. Outside of their conference and regions, they had a hard time finding opponents. That’s the biggest reason why Miami Central, the No. 2 team in the Super 25 football rankings, will travel 1,058 miles to play No. 5 DeMatha on…

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Super 25 in 25: DeMatha Catholic (Md.) at No. 6 in preseason football

August 11, 2015

There is a lot of hype in Hyattsville this year and DeMatha is in the hunt for a national title in football. USA Today breaks it down and favors the Stags with a #6 ranking. Peep the schedule and television coverage and you will understand that DeMatha has high expectations for years to come.  Thanks to USA Today it is hard to keep these kinds of secrets.

USA Today High School Sports

USA TODAY High School Sports will reveal the preseason Super 25 football rankings as part of “Super 25 in 25,” with one team revealed each hour beginning Monday at 8 a.m. ET and continuing through Tuesday.

Check out the 25 teams as they are revealed or teams that have already been revealed here.

No. 6: DeMATHA CATHOLIC

Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football) Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football)

Location: Hyattsville, Md.

2014 record: 9-3

Final 2014 Super 25: Unranked

The two-time defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions have a roster loaded with Division I talent: OL Terrence Davis, an ALL-WCAC player who is 6-5 and 307 and being pursued by half of the ACC and SEC; DE Shane Simmons (68 tackles, 14 sacks), who has committed to Penn State; two four-star Maryland commits in WR Tino Ellis and DB-WR Darryl Turner; and junior RB Anthony McFarland (1,124 yards…

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Season Wrap Up: Stopping the Run on 2014

November 23, 2014

(Or, none of these teams were able to stop the run in 2014.)

Gonzaga, McNamara, Saint John’s College, O’Connell, and Saint Mary’s Ryken were all out of contention for the 2014 WCAC football title but what they also have in common is a relative optimism about their programs in the last two years. During that same period of time we have all witnessed the WCAC become extremely competitive in high school football and the parity within the league recently has been especially astounding.

Which two of the aforementioned five teams slated to play in the WCAC next year had the best year in 2014 and should be feeling the best looking ahead?  Please comment!

Ryken can say that they beat a playoff team (McNamara) and will start WCAC play next year with something to prove in the state of Maryland. Their current coach is a former DeMatha head football coach and he already knows what the WCAC is about. Ahem.

McNamara did just unveil Ramar Williams, a certain Division 1 football prospect, and shocked everybody by making the playoffs but it remains to be seen if they will get anybody to play defense for the Mustangs. Is one sensational sophomore quarterback enough to turn an entire program around, anyway?

Saint John’s College beat some of the best football teams in the United States of America but couldn’t manage a win against the top four in the WCAC. I think that this speaks volumes about the state of WCAC football and less to the ability of the Cadets –even if early victories don’t count as much as late season wins.

Bishop O’Connell really thought that they were doing something for a minute there… Well it seemed like it anyway. Also the Knights say that they have some players ready to take over the league but I don’t know their names so I couldn’t possibly mention them here.

In the preseason Gonzaga was nationally ranked and picked to take home a WCAC championship glory after a much extended absence –but it was not to be. After struggling to make the playoffs the Purple Eagles failed to score in the second half for the second time this year against a familiar WCAC foe –but their season isn’t over due to the new DC state championship format.

What A Win! DeMatha Surges Past Gonzaga 28-20!

October 28, 2014

Anytime DeMatha beats Gonzaga, I’m smiling. This time the Purple Eagles lost to the Stags on senior night after being wildly over-hyped at the beginning of the season. (They were ranked #25 in the country at one point.) All of a sudden Gonzaga is going to have to fight just to get into the playoffs. The Stags can lock up the second seed in the playoffs behind Good Counsel with a win on November 8th against Archbishop Carroll. Go Stags!

The DeMatha players to watch are S/WR DJ Turner, RB Lorenzo Harrison, RB Anthony McFarland, WR/CB Tino Ellis, and sophomore QB Beau English.

Inside DeMatha Football

Down 13 points at halftime to Gonzaga on Saturday, DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks challenged his team to put forth a better effort in the second half. The Stags responded. Led by powerful running from Lorenzo Harrison, DeMatha scored 21 straight points en route to a 28-20 come from behind victory.

Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 10.05.35 AM“With all the starters we lost, we know people have been counting us out,” Harrison told the Washington Post. Harrison finished the game with 155 yards and two touchdowns.

“All that matters is we know we can get the job done, and that’s what we did.”

The win against Gonzaga showcases a DeMatha defense improving as the year goes on. The Eagles came into Saturday’s game with arguably the best offense in the WCAC, and after a sloppy start, the Stags slowed the Eagles to a crawl.

“As a defense, we realized that the only reason they were making…

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DeMatha Rolls To School Record Win Over McNamara 70-32

October 21, 2014

The 2014 DeMatha Stags football team is rearranging the record book, and looking forward to a match-up against Gonzaga.

Inside DeMatha Football

What a win! When the Stags fully click, the rest of the WCAC needs to look out. As evidenced by Friday night’s 70-32 win over McNamara, DeMatha put together an explosive offense and tough, playmaking defense and elite speed.

 Expect much more this week from head coach Elijah Brooks, and it will be tough for the coach to pick his Players of the Week after such a big win!

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