Posts Tagged ‘Football’

Protect Caylin Newton At All Costs

September 19, 2017

Howard University has a superstar in true freshman quarterback Caylin Newton.  Nobody knows how that just happened, but now the next smart thing to do is to protect him at all costs.  Hashtag: #ProtectCaylin.  Caylin Newton has a chance to take Howard University to the big time in football.  The Buffalo Soldiers have given way to a slick new Bison logo provided on Under Armour uniforms and the reboot is the perfect time make gains in athletics.  The offensive and defensive lines are the areas that need improving the most, and by the looks of things, the Bison have their work cut out for them.  Recruiting at the linemen positions will have the greatest impact in the immediate future and it is a crucial stepping stone to make the most of Caylin’s time.

Caylin Newton already proved that he has big game potential when he shocked the world by leading Howard football over UNLV, on the road, to upset the biggest point spread in history.  Howard football is currently sporting a record of 1-2 but considering that they changed the record books in week one, the next two losses were progressively worse.  Caylin Newton has certainly inspired the Bison to punch above their weight, but when they faced the University of Richmond they fell 68-21.  Meeting the fellow FCS school, Richmond Spiders, was a humbling experience that exposed the need to augment the talent up front.

Football starts when they snap the ball and Howard University is going to have to get better at dominating the line of scrimmage.  Pass protection is going to continue to be an issue for the Bison because Caylin Newton lacks the size of his older brother.  Caylin has matched Cam Newton’s indomitable will to win so far, and that can lead to dangerous situations.  Caylin Newton plays with a chip on his shoulder, stalling for time, dipping and dodging, and slanging on the run.  Shifty moves have kept defenders at bay for the moment, but the Bison can’t afford to continue to let Caylin take these risks.

While most of the competition that the Bison will face is nothing like their first three opponents, Howard football should also take the hint that as game tape makes the rounds good teams may start to figure things out.  Caylin Newton’s statistics against Richmond last week are a sign of weaknesses that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

PASSING CP-TO-INT YDS TD LONG
Caylin Newton 5-17-2 183 1 43
RUSHING TO YDS TD LONG
Caylin Newton 10 24 1 17

 

 

The Howard University defense didn’t fare much better against the Spiders.  The Bison gave up 333 yards on the ground to go along with the massive 68 point total.  It would be difficult to muster a win against fellow HBCU or MEAC opponents with those kinds of numbers.  A strong pass rush and an ability to stop the run are essential components necessary to compete for a championship in football.

Whether looking for talent or for inspiration on the gridiron, new head football coach Mike London doesn’t have to go far.  After suffering the walloping defeat against a team London led to an FCS national title in 2008, it should be easy for him to take a page out of their book.  Mike London needs to scope out and scoop up local talent because the Washington DC metropolitan area is producing NCAA Division 1 athletes at an unbelievable clip.  DMV schools like the University of Richmond and the University of Maryland have made it point to focus on a few elite high schools in the area, in particular, and Howard needs to do the same.

Caylin Newton Twitter

Caylin has joy for the game.

Perhaps the last time that Howard University was in this position Jay “Sky” Walker was the quarterback for the Bison.  The team was a perfect 11-0 in Walker’s senior year and they were crowned the National Champions of Black College Football in 1993.  It is certain that the 1993 team will be inducted into the Howard University Athletics Hall of Fame soon, and Jay Walker can be seen on ESPN broadcasts and in the Maryland House of Delegates.  Howard University is the institution for Black learning and it sports monikers such as The Capstone and The Mecca.  The school sells itself long before the conversation turns to mundane activities such as football -and Howard definitely wants to keep it that way.

The Jay “Sky” Walker or Antoine Bethea type of player can remain among the Bison elite and bring more recognition for The Hilltop to chronicle.  The Yard has seen the most famous of our people and nothing happening on a football field is going to change that.  With that already stated, Howard University athletics needs to make a recruiting push to protect assets that they have already acquired on the field.  Howard University has a good reputation in everything and Caylin Newton is only going to add to that.  The Bison need to thicken the herd and we should all prepare for the coming stampede.  Players of his caliber don’t come along very often, but when they do there will be others looking benefit from all of that added attention.

For full disclosure, we need to also state that Caylin Newton is not completely alone right now and that there are others doing their parts.  Senior running back Anthony Philyaw was honored as a preseason national watchlist candidate and was named the Preseason MEAC Player of the Year according to the Howard University Athletics website.  Sophomore wide receiver Kyle Anthony was placed on the Preseason All-MEAC second team and shows promise.  From Miami, Florida the Bison have senior linebacker Devin Rollins who is probably their best defensive player on their best defensive unit.  These few players illustrated the problem in a close loss to Kent State two weeks ago.  There just aren’t enough of the guys doing the dirty work to make sure Caylin Newton can shine at this moment.

The skill positions will be okay but Howard football needs to bulk up and show that they know how to play football again by controlling the trenches.  The offensive line is set to graduate forty percent of their ten roster spots next year and will be looking for stability.  While they are much younger on the defensive side of the ball, the Bison should probably consider sacrificing one of those roster spots to add a defensive end.  Howard doesn’t want to get caught with their pants down around their ankles when teams inevitably try to shut down Caylin Newton with hard-to-read blitz packages and by hogging the time of possession.

Howard University is on the verge of breakthrough if they can address these issues.  (Watch the Twitter hashtags if you want to see a grown man troll them to death, if they don’t: #PullYoPantsUp and #CombYoHair.)  We hope that they don’t drop the ball by leaving Caylin Newton overexposed.  Black college football needs this, also.  Caylin Newton’s choice to attend to Howard and start on the field right away bodes well for a unique and important subculture of the game.  The recent changes in the Howard University Athletic program demonstrated that it feels good when the Bison are leading in every aspect.  Building around Caylin Newton sends the right message to other athletes with high skill sets that are considering an education at Howard University or other HBCU’s.

Caylin Newton is a quarterback that is going to make the news.  All Howard University football needs to do is to keep him safe in order to make sure that there will always be good news to report.   All of that begins with the right recruiting approach.  That is the real football mission that is very possible.

We are going to keep it digital here and keep you posted.  Go Bison!

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DeMatha vs McDonogh: Maryland Sports Access Edition

September 16, 2017

DeMatha Crushes Gonzaga and Looks Ahead To Championship, National TitleKyle McFadden and Maryland Sports Access have some pretty good coverage of the DeMatha vs McDonogh football game.  DeMatha won the contest 17-14 and kept McDonogh out of the end zone in the second half, in an otherwise lackluster game for the Stags.  DeMatha improved to a record of 3-1 on the season but they are still in the processes of learning and fine-tuning.

The Maryland Terrapins were in attendance, and there may have been performance anxiety issues.  DeMatha football has emerged as an unofficial pipeline to the University of Maryland, and the Stag alumni helped coin the popular recruiting wave moniker, “The Movement.”  The Old Line State has made significant gains in the sport of football at the high school and college levels and recognition is still on the rise.

Stag football alums, now at MD, with Wendy at last night's game.

A post shared by DeMatha High School (@demathacatholic) on

The Free State, used to be called The Old Line State.

Maryland State Flag

As you can see I am not the only person that can cover the Stags.  In recent years DeMatha vs McDonogh has been one of those games that can determine who will be top dog in the state of Maryland, and it draws plenty of attention.  The University of Maryland definitely took notice when these two heavyweights from The Free State played each other because both teams produce top, Division 1 talent.  Anyway, click the link in the first paragraph to read Kyle McFadden’s article with better embedded Tweets.  As always, DMStagsTV provided a replayable broadcast for your enjoyment and you can follow all of the Stags home games there.  (Alumni teachers Sean O’Connor & Cory Puffett provided the play-by-play this week.)  Crabcakes and football!  This is what we do.

Friendship Collegiate Academy will travel to the DeMatha home field at the PG Sports and Learning Complex next week, September 22.   As usual, we are going to keep it digital and keep you posted here on The Chronicles of Six.  Go Stags!

 

 

Boycott: No Kaepernick No NFL

September 13, 2017

The Hail Mary

Colin Kaepernick Getty Images

#NoKaepernickNoNFL

The boycott of the National Football League over the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick is gaining traction despite the initial push back against the protests that started this whole thing in the first place.  Colin Kaepernick is the most recent brave individual in the NFL to lend his fame to the plights of humanity and justice which are the causes of consternation from those able to hire him.  Many writers have already exhausted the possibilities that could have prevented him from playing in the NFL, or the necessary mental gymnastics to arrive at the conclusion that Kaepernick detracted from the game.  (Quite eloquently and thoroughly we might add.)  Today we are going to take a hard look at why this is exactly the kind of silent protest that we need, and how it has been effective, so far.

 

Buttressed against the Black Lives Matter movement, Colin Kaepernick ushered in a social consciousness to a sport that rarely indulges in controversy.  The fact that Black Lives Matter is viewed as controversial is baffling to those that understand the simplicity of the message: that Black people’s lives matter.  However, there is no shortage of fools or pundits willing to twist the message for personal gain.  The worst of these lowlifes seek to perpetuate the systematic oppression of Black people through their willful ignorance or blatant racism.  The #NoKaepernickNoNFL hashtag has suffered the same disparagement as #BlackLivesMatter because they both strike the same nerve, but maybe Colin did it more acutely?  The genius of the defiant is that they are the persistent jab in the face a country that is currently denying that it has a black eye.

Cassius Clay The Houston Post

A young Mohammad Ali was a conscientious objector to participating in the Vietnam War.  Ali was particularly peeved when he was trolled by The Houston Post, who refused to use his chosen name.  [Photo via Broke-Ass Stuart via Imgur.com]

Follow the money.

Football is big business.  Nothing engages the short American attention span more than money, but football might be a close second.  Football is violent and dangerous.  Football players are among the last of the gladiators who are expected to sacrifice their bodies and long-term health willingly for the cause of sport as recently highlighted in a Freakonomics podcast.  The owners of NFL teams are all very white and enjoy a modicum of power that comes from the extreme wealth that it generates.  Football team owners expect obedience because the power that they wield is great in shaping the American institution that has become the embodiment of the country.  Colin kneeled in defiance of that collective thumbs down, which I am certain that he knew was coming, and the colosseum gasped at his insolence.

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Protesters stand behind the words of Muhammad Ali and against the War in Vietnam.  [Photo courtesy of Amistad Digital Resources, photographer Builder Levy.]

NFL owners must have noticed that his action ultimately detracted from their bottom line and branding because they collectively turned down his services but unwittingly elevated Kaepernick’s message in the process.  Racism devoid of power is just flimsy bigotry, but the overzealous defense against the questioning of the very foundations of America by the NFL shows that all of this is tragically deeper than football.  Kaepernick protesting was not just an act.  Others realizing what was at stake put their celebrity in the most lucrative sport on the line when they joined in, breaking the silence necessary to make America move on.  If there is one thing that history has shown us, it is that institutional racism and systematic oppression fear the Black Messiah and all iterations of such.  To sacrifice a multimillion dollar career and to use what he already earned to promote Black causes makes Colin Kaepernick nothing short of a hero.

The nature of the demonstration, itself a model on American civil disobedience, calls out dissenters as hypocrites and racists.

Take What The Defense Gives You

These ideas of silence, distraction, and moving on are also not new, and they deserve to be put into some sort of historical context to see exactly what we are moving on from.  (Candace Cui for Broke-ass Stuart)  The United States of America wants you to move on from the unarmed Black deaths at the hands of policemen even before the vacant convictions for those deaths makes the news.  The good old USA also wants Black people to move on from unequal incarceration rates, Jim Crow, and slavery.  Football is just the latest interruption designed to take Americans away from all that darned thinking that can lead to changing racist policies.  (Don’t even mention reparations.)  But Colin Kaepernick made it that much more difficult to turn the channel on the issues of policing, justice, and race that have always plagued America.

Cui bono is a Latin phrase that is translated “for whose benefit?”  What should be obvious to everyone right now is that refusing to even acknowledge the value of Black life can only serve the oppressor.  The oppressor’s narrative dismisses the struggles of the oppressed.  America was singularly enriched through the infliction of suffering on others so it comes as no surprise that her sporting spectacles often reflect the ills racism.  The National Football League, as an organization, has been a direct beneficiary of an alliance with the United States Department of Defense after it was reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that sporting teams were paid to put on patriotic displays in a $53 million-dollar advertising campaign from 2012-2015.

The NFL is silently complicit, at best, in the proverbial fuck game to take as much as you can for as long as you can.  Each individual NFL team owner weighed in on the decision by not offering Colin Kaepernick a chance to prove himself worthy in a training camp this past summer.  Blackballing specific participants has happened before in other sports too, but few have the atrocious record of the National Football League.  The New York Times even pointed out that the Washington Redskins –the very name of the team is a racial slur, was the last NFL team to integrate Black players on September 30, 1962.  The NFL had difficulty with modern ideas like Blacks playing the central position of quarterback, or Blacks leading teams as the head coach, also.

african-american-athletes-at-news-conference-af400c2cb31b07a9

The greatest athletes of their time rallied support around Muhammad Ali at a special conference in Cleveland, Ohio in June of 1967. [Photo courtesy of Cleveland.com]

Baseball might be America’s favorite pastime but Cuba and Jason Turner have shown us that Baseball diplomacy is an untimed exercise.  Football is the most popular sport in America today and generates more money per game at very predictable intervals.  Modern professional football culminates in the Super Bowl: the greatest solitary sports media event that the world has ever seen.  Football is really good at capitalism.  The nature of the game lends itself towards consumption with high ticket prices and expensive tailgating rituals.  Furthermore, football does more to explain the type of diplomatic measures that the United States is willing to export today because the violence of the sport needs to achieve the desired effect within a specific allotment of time.

The concentrated emotion of football serves the reticent patriarchy along with those few great white fathers that gave us this grand game to enjoy.  Drinking and fighting are direct appeals to the modern-day Minute Men that make up the male dominated warrior class in the United States.  Just as pub jingles and songs made up the bulk of the call to arms for the revolution in 1776, football is an effective tool for making sure revolution doesn’t happen again.  Propaganda can work in more than one direction and it is hard to imagine that the systematic oppression that employs football to serve a racist agenda didn’t take a direct hit with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before games.

They Can’t Stop The Run

#NoKaepernickNoNFL diverts viewers from the diversion.  This shifting of the attention eats into the space of the unique partnership that the NFL has exploited by maintaining the status quo.  With week one of the NFL season in the books, it is apparent that ratings are down and ticket sales have suffered even if you don’t believe BET or Sports Illustrated, respectively.  (See below, at the bottom of the article, via Twitter.)  Colin Kaepernick jerseys are highly sought-after memorabilia and the world has taken notice even though American football hasn’t spread around the globe with the tenacity of baseball or made the popularity gains of basketball.  The silent, national anthem protest occupies the moral high ground now, and the NFL appears visibly shook along with the heart and soul of the United States.

Either you believe that having the right to protest something is what it means to be an American in the first place or you are inviting an alternative.  The dissonance over the Francis Scott Key’s refrains doesn’t last long.  Kneeling during the national anthem has even trickled down to high school football in some instances, but the focus of the gripe should remain squarely in the National Football League where it rightfully belongs.  America will produce more conscientious Patriots and college football players are still proud of their schools.  But now more Americans are experiencing the frustration of the dysfunction than ever before -and the surfacing of football radicals says that the feeling will continue to permeate our popular entertainment and leisure.

The National Football League is the classic case of the squeaky wheel needing oil if the predominantly Black players ever saw one, but now Black celebrity fans are chiming in.

Silence on the matter indicates a tacit agreement with white supremacy and Manhood has moved from physical tests to cerebral pursuits, self-control, and determination.  If American football is described in the terms of a triumph of wills then nothing embodies that more than steady and methodical plodding of a good running game.  While the pace of viral murder videos of unarmed Black civilians in the streets has seemed to slow*, the Black Lives Matter movement got new legs when a qualified NFL starter was kept from plying his trade in the 2017 season.  Excluded in the very prime of his career, Colin Kaepernick showed what could happen to you if you dare to fight against racist institutions.

There are a lot of ways to take a life.  Kaepernick relinquished much of what he dedicated his life to when his NFL dreams were dashed.  An untold amount of work goes into crafting an NFL career as bright as his was, and yet it would all be taken away in the hopes that folks would just move on.  We, the people who are not afraid to bend our knees with Colin Kaepernick, cannot just simply move on.  We are all affected by it and to just shut the fuck up and take it is not really an option that we are willing to explore when it comes to racial injustice, anymore.  Colin Kaepernick deserves our solidarity for finally creating new, positive, and inspiring imagery that captures the spirit worthy of Black lives.

As long as NFL owners want to collectively pretend that Colin Kaepernick’s services could not be utilized, we should also pretend that the NFL is representing one rotten root in America’s racist foundation and boycott.  The message that would be sent is also simple: There is no escaping this growing problem, but we can all face it.  Joining the strike against the National Football League ensures immortality on the right side of history and The Chronicles of Six won’t cover professional football in 2017, anyway.  So let’s see if we can’t get Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling statue enshrined in Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The Iron Curtain

The question was posed, what is the manly football man to do in the face of deprivation for the sport that he has been conditioned to love?  The answer for The Chronicles of Six has been the ESPN Player and to watch all of the NCAA games, as well as a subscription to DeMatha Stags Television on the NFHS Network.  Everybody is different.  Don’t be ashamed if you lack the discipline to glance over the game as you flip past channels but try not to tweet scores or promote a racist product.  Grown folks are putting in work.  We are Giants of men, and we can learn to subdue our passions and improve our lots in life.

You just need to develop a steely resolve for these issues.  If that doesn’t work, try putting more spices on your food and reading all of the articles about Colin Kaepernick from The Undefeated that are in the first link.

*It would be very interesting to look at the numbers of unarmed Black people killed by police before and after Colin Kaepernick began his not-so-subtle dissent in our next piece. 

[Featured image from Getty Images via The New York Post, Navy admiral’s Pearl Harbor speech trolls Colin Kaepernick]

DeMatha Orders Donuts Again

September 9, 2017

 

3donutssillores

Donuts, DeMatha style.

 

DeMatha football logged their second victory of the season in shutout fashion against Franklin on September 8, 2017.  We are getting closer to the start of the WCAC season but the DeMatha defense is showing that their sights are set on the playoffs.  There is no doubt that DeMatha would love to win a fifth WCAC championship in a row in 2017.  Everybody also knows the tried and true sports maxim, defense wins championships.  What you might not know is that big wins used to be celebrated on this blog with serious eye candy, but then one of the writers got married.  Ahem.  Everything changes but isn’t it nice to return to a good tradition every once in a while?  If you close your eyes -or look in the archives, you can almost picture it.

The sunsets in September at DM home games are awesome.

A post shared by DeMatha High School (@demathacatholic) on

Thanks to Chris McManes and the Hyattsville Life & Times we get to visualize the tradition of DeMatha football celebrating victories in which the other team doesn’t score with sugary breakfast treats, instead.  (Yeah, we know that it might not be as good, but it is the best that we can do for right now.)  And from the recent, slightly more svelt, looks of the football coaches from Elijah Brooks to Deno Campbell you would imagine that only the Stags players feast on donuts.  (Just run with it.)  In any case, they all deserve another round after the performance against Franklin.   DeMatha amassed 36 points and gave up absolutely nothing.  If the Stags continue to play like this they are impossible to beat, no matter what you believe.

You see in football, you have to score in order to win.

Check out the game recap from Twitter below.

DeMatha moves to 2-1 on the season and will take on McDonogh at home on Friday, September 15 to continue their home stretch.  On deck, we will also have the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference 2017 Football Preview.  As always on The Chronicles of Six, we are going to keep it digital for you.  Some traditions never die.

We’re going to keep you posted.

DeMatha Bounces Back Against Avalon

September 2, 2017

DeMatha football returned to their winning ways against the Avalon Black Knights on Friday, September 1.  The Stags managed 28 points in the first half and coasted to a shutout victory after suffering a defeat in their opening game.

The new streak had to be started by junior, backup quarterback Eric Najarian because Tyler Lenhart was sick all week.  DeMatha flexed their depth and dominance in the state of Maryland by managing the football game against a solid Avalon team who was befuddled from the start.  Najarian mixed in quick slashing routes and running back Myles Miree darted for a first quarter score that kept the DeMatha Stags ahead of the Black Knights.

red-stag-3-1024x683

 

The DeMatha defense took care of everything else.  Despite several penalties, the Stags never lost their composure and held on to preserve their first scoreless game since October 21, 2016.  Avalon struggled to move the ball mainly because they lost the battle up front, and the DeMatha defensive line bullied the Black Knights into multiple third-and-impossibly-long situations.  It isn’t that much of the stretch to believe that the entire defensive unit had something to prove after relinquishing 35 points on ESPN last week, but they bounced back nonetheless and proved their point.

Defensive ends Austin Fontaine and John Morgan were the usual culprits in a hard pursuit of the Avalon quarterback that prevented rhythmic drop-back passing needed to connect the deep ball.  The Avalon running game didn’t fare much better opting to move away from the strength of the DeMatha defensive line with sweeps to the outside.  Neither strategy worked for Avalon and the DeMatha linebackers and secondary were also creating problems of their own.  DeMarcco Hellams came up with huge tackles chasing down running backs from the weak side safety position.  Dominic Logan-Nealy took advantage of Avalon special teams woes and nabbed an interception.

The Avalon punter wasn’t able to recover much field position and the Black Knights often went for it on fourth down no matter the distance.  This, more than any other aspect of the game, spelled the end for a team that was already facing the tall order of beating the Stags after a rare defeat.  A productive running game behind a powerful offensive line is the reason why DeMatha football head coach Elijah Brooks was 58-12 before last night’s contest.  DeMatha was able to integrate the reserve units after Najarian threw for a score to tight end Anthony Toro to make the score 21-0 with under three minutes to go in the first half.  DeMatha added another score on the ground just before the break and would then grind Avalon down through the sheer time of possession.

New running backs were able to get some work done for the Stags and eventually DeMatha would put freshman quarterback Trace Campbell under center.  Safety Nick Cross and linebacker Alec Solano put the finishing touches on the game in the second half and seemed to be everywhere.  Avalon threatened to score twice in the fourth quarter with separate trips to the red zone but the DeMatha team defense was having none of it.  Nick Cross broke up a good share of long passing plays and Alec Solano had a forced fumble and recovery to end a Black Knight drive.

The Stags will continue their six game home stand against Franklin High School of Reirstertown, Maryland next week.   You can check out the next five home games on the DMStagsTV network and watch DeMatha football live streams and replays there.

DeMatha Loses To Bishop Gorman In Las Vegas 35 – 23

August 26, 2017

DeMatha football suffered the first loss of the season at the hands of the defending national champion Bishop Gorman Gaels in Las Vegas, Nevada yesterday.  DeMatha Catholic High School running back MarShawn Llloyd is out for the season after breaking his arm in two places in the first half of play.  The Stags were unable to rally around their injured star when he landed awkwardly after fighting to extend a busted play, and they would eventually fall 35 – 23.  The home team’s victory was in doubt for most of the game and DeMatha still managed to look good under the bright lights of a prime time ESPN broadcast.  MarShawn Lloyd notched the score up to 10 – 0 when he confounded Gorman’s defense for a 30 yard touchdown run in the first quarter of play.

Emblematic of DeMatha toughness, Lloyd not only gave an interview after the game, he didn’t even take an injury time out on the field after his gruesome tumble and instead hustled off the gridiron under his own power.  Inside DeMatha Football caught up with MarShawn and the entire DeMatha Family wishes him a successful surgery and rapid recovery.

cervus_elaphus_luc_viatour_6

The DeMatha Stags (0-1) head into the Fall after the loss to Bishop Gorman (1-0) in Las Vegas, Nevada in a nationally televised high school football opener.

The DeMatha Stags continued the fight until late in the fourth quarter but ultimately came up short in a rare match-up between two heavyweight programs.  As far as football games go, this one lived up to the hype and it was exciting from start to finish.  DeMatha never appeared to be completely over-matched in the contest and they played a very technically sound game.  Instead, it was big, timely plays that inflicted all of the damage on the Stags and penalties weren’t much of a factor.  UCLA recruit and emerging Gaels superstar quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson provided many of the highlights.  The Gaels’ quarterback accounted for all five Gorman touchdowns and threw for over 280 yards in his offensive onslaught.

If you are looking for my hot takes on the game  you can find them at the hashtag (#DMvsBG) that I created here on Twitter.  There will be more analysis in the forthcoming 2017 WCAC Football Preview, but the DeMatha Stags football team made their alumni and fans very proud in their nationally televised opener.  The overall competitiveness of the program is well beyond the comfort zone of most high schools and the elite experiences should pay off in the near future.  Certainly one loss against a top echelon foe can be put into proper perspective when there is a long season of football to be played?  You should expect DeMatha football to learn from this game and apply it towards the future because that is what faith-filled gentlemen and scholars do.

[Title photo Open Source/ Wikipedia Commons, Luc Viatour]

2017 DeMatha Football Preview

August 22, 2017

The Big Kickoff: Almost Underway

Varsity football team pic:

A post shared by DeMatha High School (@demathacatholic) on

The four time, reigning Washington Catholic Athletic Conference football champions begin the “strive for five” in one of the hardest ways possible.  The DeMatha Stags will travel to Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas and look to improve on a 2016 team that many consider to be the best in school history.  Most teams riding a 17 game win streak dating back to October 16, 2015 would ease in to season knowing that they already have to play in the toughest conference in the United States.  DeMatha football finished #4 in the USA after their undefeated season in 2016 and Head Coach Elijah Brooks is bringing the faith-filled gentlemen and scholars across the country to Sin City.  The Stags have a ton of varsity experience and are looking to continue their ascent in national prominence by toppling other leaders.

DeMatha Stags are currently ranked #6 in the USA Today 2017 national high school football preseason poll.  Nevada powerhouse Bishop Gorman is also coming off an undefeated season and they are ranked #4 in the same poll, after finishing #1 in the country last year and earning a National Championship.  This game is going to be deep.  The stage is set for an epic battle and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN this Friday, August 25.  This will be the first meeting between these two football teams but the schools have faced each other in basketball twice, splitting the series.  Neither school is a stranger to the spotlight and they have both had multiple sports from their programs featured on national cable networks.  Both programs are the embodiment of what it means to compete at the most elite level of high school sports in the United States.

The Varsity Experience

In order to consider opening the season on the road against a team that finished number one in the United States you would need the confidence that comes with experience.  Coach Brooks was recently tapped to be a coach on the 18U USA National Football team and he is going to be sure that his DeMatha Stags are up to the task.  Brooks deserves this high honor and recognition for righting the ship after WCAC foe Good Counsel dominated for a spell.  This year he is bringing back plenty of players on both sides of the ball that also know what it takes to win.

2017 Team Captains.jpg

 

#1 Judson Tallandier, #14 Tyler Lenhart, Coach Brooks, #10 Anthony Toro, and #79 Austin Fontaine.

 

Team captains LB/TE Anthony Toro, DT Austin Fontaine, CB Judson Tallandier and QB Tyler Lenhart are seasoned veterans ready to embark on their senior campaigns.  Right up front we once again have a disruptive defensive lineman in Austin Fontaine who is committed to the University of Maryland and ranked #148 on the ESPN Top 300 football recruit rankings.  Not too far behind on the gridiron you will find Anthony Toro, who will wear the prestigious #10 in honor of SEAL LT Brendan Looney for the third year in a row.  Toro is known as a linebacker with a nose for the ball, his clutch hands as a tight end, and for being an outstanding student athlete with an 1140 on the SAT.

Corner back Judson Tallandier II is ready to climb the rigging in the secondary and undoubtedly make plays as his #1, and early commitment to the University of Pittsburgh suggests.  Judson was already a shutdown corner but with the addition of DeMatha and NFL alumnus Josh Wilson as a secondary coach expectations are higher than the tallest mast. Quarterback Tyler Lenhart will take over the helm and look to add to his DeMatha win total while racking up big yardage and scholarship offers.  Ty earned his stripes with only just one win as a starter playing behind the best quarterback DeMatha has ever seen, Beau “Mr. Perfect” English, who is now plying his trade at the Air Force Academy.  According to The Washington Post the quarterback recruit has a gun for an arm and is considering Harvard among the his top scholarship offers. Their crew will eagerly look to them as examples when charting such a difficult course, but they are all worth their salt.

Offensive Swagger

DeMarcco Hellams is the type of wide receiver/ corner back / athlete that has already made a big splash.  DeMarcco is also on the ESPN Top 300 football recruit ranking, in at #50 for the class of 2019.  Senior wide receiver Dominic Lyles made the WCAC All Conference Team last year and he will be a big target for Tyler Lenhart this season.  Dominic Lyles is also uncommitted but holds five scholarship offers, including Bucknell University.  Offensive guard Evan Gregory is likely to be a big part of the offensive line having any football success.  Evan is yet another University of Maryland commit that can pass protect and run block with the best of them and will anchor the entire unit.  And speaking of the run, DeMatha is going to feature talented running backs that have become representative of the brand.

Elk

Cervus elaphus ready to climb.

Myles Miree and MarShawn Lloyd are both returning for their junior and sophomore years, respectively.  These young men can tote the football and dazzle you with moves and/or pound you with toughness.  Myles and MarShawn have made names for themselves by making big plays as underclassmen  and together with senior Detrick Washington they comprise a formidable backfield.  (USA Today and Maryland Sports Access, respectively.)  Jermaine Johnson, Jr and Dominic Logan-Nealy are two class of 2019 wide receivers who are going to try to add to all that offensive swagger.

Senior tight end John Morgan is headed to the University of Pittsburgh along with co-captain Judson Tallandier II, and he also joins him on the defensive side of the ball at LB/DE.  Michael Holt, Jr. will also play both ways and hold the line in his senior season and he already has an offer from West Virginia Wesleyan.  Right now all of the other members of the new chain gang aren’t in focus, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t shine.

Not Top Secret: Defensive Intelligence

Year after year, the DeMatha football program has depended on Defensive Coordinator

Elk

Cervus elaphus on his way.

Deno Campbell to make other teams have nightmares.  The defensive genius is a yet another alumnus that keeps giving back by delivering effective schemes and developing monsters.  The Washington Post has named two DeMatha players as the Defensive Player of the Year in the last two years: Shane Simmons and Chase Young.  Success like this isn’t an accident and everybody knows that Deno’s boys are going to work hard.  There is no mystery in the madness but you can bet that teams will fear the fury of our storied defense and that they will weather the storms ahead.

Defensive tackle Jalen Brown and LB/DE Anthony Hill, Jr. are two seniors that are ready to rock and roll with their mates.  The DeMatha Stags have generated interest going into their senior year and would like to rack up scholarship offers along the way to a number one ranking.  Cameron Lomax will get to show off his radar at the free safety and strong safety positions.  Nick Cross, who holds offers from Syracuse University and Virginia Tech, is also going to be a solid rover between coverage and run support at safety.  Alec Solano will see a lot of snaps at the linebacker position in what will be his junior season.  Linebacker Kobi Thomas is another senior that is going to be an agent of success for the 2017 DeMatha Stags football team.  Like always, there is plenty of room for players to give us some pleasant surprises this season.

If these young men can play with the assured consistency of their predecessors then it is ‘steady as she goes!’

Special Operators

Naim Muhammad is a senior All-American track star and he is back on the football field this Fall.  In addition to filling in at defensive back, Naim is always a threat on the returns and he holds an offer from the University of New Hampshire.  There were some hiccups kicking the ball last season so let’s hope that DeMatha has it all figured out now.

A special shout out goes to DeMatha football kicking coach, Principal Emeritus John Moylan who is celebrating his 85th birthday today.  Anyway, check out what  Ty Lenhart and Austin Fontaine had to say about the season on CSN Mid-Atlantic yesterday.  The link is in the tweet.

The Schedule Notes

The link to the official schedule can be found right here at the DeMatha website but there are some other notable games after the blockbuster opener.  DeMatha will play Gonzaga in the middle of six game home stand, and after a week off on October 6.  Saint Johns College High School was the runner up in the WCAC and they will be hungry for revenge on Military Road on October 21.  Both conference teams have played DeMatha as tough as anybody in recent years and they have also committed and contributed to the current WCAC football arms race.

The league has been restructured to include a stronger Commissioner and the result is a two-tier system that will be discussed at a later date.  Be sure to follow the action on DM Stags TV, especially during weeks 2 – 9, to check out the games being shown there!

[Featured Image open source from University of California Berkeley, UniProt BLAST]

 

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.

2016-dematha-football

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)