Posts Tagged ‘Gonzaga’

Saint Johns Beat DeMatha In Football

October 21, 2017

2017 will certainly be a year that goes down in Saint Johns College history if only for ending a very long streak of losing in football to DeMatha.  The Cadets finally managed to have a good day and bested the Stags on the gridiron 38-22 in front of their homecoming crowd on Military Road.

It isn’t hard to put this win into perspective for Saint Johns because no one on their current football roster was born the last time that they beat the Stags in 1994.  We announced some time ago that Cadets changed the football landscape and that the rivalry with the Stags was back.   With this win, Saint Johns will undoubtedly justify the drastic changes that they have undertaken but it probably still rings a little hallow.

DeMatha falls to 4-4 on the year, and 0-3 in the WCAC.  For the first time in a while, DeMatha is fighting to be the fourth-best team in a very competitive league.  Looking at the strength of schedules, DeMatha doesn’t have any significant wins at this point in the season and Saint Johns merely joined the ranks of Good Counsel and Gonzaga who also beat the Stags this year.  The loss to Saint Johns College was their third in a row in a season in which DeMatha has struggled against upper echelon football teams.

The defending WCAC champions are now fighting just to make the playoffs.  DeMatha needs two straight wins at Bishop McNamara (October 28) and Archbishop Carroll (November 4) in order to control their own destiny.  Nothing will come easy for the Stag squad this season because, by now, everybody smells blood.

There have been some bright spots for the DeMatha Stags football team.  Senior Judson Tallandier was named to the American Under-19 football squad.  Senior Kicker Jake Dolinger is showing why four-year Stags are still the most sought after student-athletes in NCAA recruiting after recording a notable score on the SAT.

Yet DeMatha finds themselves in an unfamiliar position because they are unable to dominate key aspects of football games against teams -like they have in years past.  Sacks and rushing touchdowns are both down in 2017.

Cervus elaphus in the city

Stags are in unfamiliar territory.

The Big Four all have offensive and defensive lines that hover around the average weight of 300 lbs per player -and that makes for very tough sledding.

 

Once more the Stags are still trying to find their footing in a sport that isn’t very forgiving.  DeMatha has even tried changing quarterbacks to no avail: both Tyler Lenhart and Eric Najarian have notched two losses as the starter.  The ability to overcome injuries and distractions is also a huge part of football and the DeMatha Stags still aren’t totally out of contention yet.

If DeMatha can claim the fourth seed outright, there is still a chance to defend their title and win a fifth straight WCAC championship.  Can they come back unscathed from the verge of annihilation in 2017?  Stranger things have happened to the Stags so we will have to keep you posted.

[Featured Image: City of Ashton website]

 

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The Ole Kick In The Nuts 2017

October 7, 2017

As soon as DeMatha finished lacing up their shoes they got a healthy dose of what they would be getting served for most of the rest of the night.  Gonzaga looked upon the famed DeMatha Stags under the harvest moon and kicked them right in the nuts.  The Purple Eagles elected to receive the opening kickoff and made an energetic return in exchange for prime field position.  It only took them a few minutes to score from there.  DeMatha didn’t take very much time off the clock after a three-and-out, and then Gonzaga scored again on an even longer drive the next time.

The Stags tried to regain their composure on their next drive but then quarterback Tyler Lenhart threw a pick-six.  Suddenly, DeMatha was down 19-0 at the end of the first quarter at the PG Sports & Learning Complex.  DeMatha would eventually threaten the red zone with 7:00 to go in the first half, but their hopes were dashed on a dropped pass for a crucial fourth down conversion.  Gonzaga freshman quarterback Caleb Williams played well enough to leave the Stags wondering what was going on and the score would hold up until halftime.

DeMatha was really lucky that the 19 point lead they gave up wasn’t worse.  Gonzaga set the tone for what the 2017 WCAC football season has in store.  The Stags looked the part of a prime candidate for upset: uncomfortable and timid.  Gonzaga was the conference foe that came to Prince George’s County in 2015 and bullied the nationally ranked Stags in a similar fashion on ESPN.  It always seems like Gonzaga and DeMatha are taking turns kicking each other in the gonads, destroying each other with shock and awe, in full public view.  Penalties and miscues on both sides ultimately tamped down the score total, but anyone could see that this was painful.

Gonzaga came out for the second half with even more Whipass.  It was like those old cans of Whupass, but they were quicker.  The Purple Eagles generated another stop on defense and walloped the Stags with another quick score to go up 26-0.  DeMatha just couldn’t move in this contest and they were completely frozen on offense until a change at quarterback and a fourth-quarter bomb.  Eric Najarian finally hooked up with Jermaine Johnson to put the Stags on the board and he started an ultimately hopeless, but what was then still just an improbable rally of sorts.  Anthony Toro caught another deep strike, and Myles Miree found paydirt soon after but the damage was done.

Nothing is going to come easily in WCAC, and the Stags have demonstrated that they have already learned the hard lesson from this contest.  DeMatha showed a lot of heart for staying in the fight and for never quitting, but they couldn’t make the impossible recovery.  It all ended on a sack before Najarian could even send a prayer to Our Lady of Victory.  Tonight the DeMatha Stags got kicked in the nuts, in the old #TheOleKickInTheNutsGame with Gonzaga, and they deserve all the credit.  Caleb Williams managed the game wonderfully and the Purple Eagle’s defense held their own.

Trap game after homecoming or not, DeMatha should remember that’s how it goes sometimes in The Ole Kick In The Nuts Game.  The last two all-male schools from the old Metro Conference just don’t like each other.  They take turns kicking each other in the nuts but nobody ever quits or calls it just a silly game.  Yep, this time its football but they’ll be at it soon enough again.  We’d prefer to believe that Gonzaga didn’t even get the cakewalk they deserved in the end,  barely hanging on for the 26 – 20 final score.  It hurts just the same though, but you probably surmised that.

2017 WCAC Football Preview: SNAFU

October 5, 2017

The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is arguably the toughest high school sports association in the United States of America.

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The toughest conference in America.

The WCAC has been at the forefront of ushering in a new era of recruiting that has shifted the landscape of secondary education, and football is no exception.

 

The tale of the WCAC in football, and really all the sports played is a story of the best of teams and the worst of teams.  The conference known for producing nationally ranked basketball teams in the same season is unique in that all programs at least enjoy the privilege of greatness by association.  Unlike basketball, which has exhibited relative parity over the years, WCAC football programs are worlds apart.  The schism between schools that made the unwavering commitment to compete on a national level in football and those that didn’t clearly strained the organization more than the other sports.  The result was a lopsided mess military guys call a SNAFU: systems normal all fouled up.

DeMatha, Good Counsel, Saint John’s College, and Gonzaga would all make headlines with their football programs by notching clutch wins in national upsets.  The four schools with the biggest football traditions in the WCAC continued to prosper, and all of them could be seen on national broadcasts via ESPN over the last five years.  The WCAC schools in Virginia were the first to secede and they ultimately identified football as the cause.  Bishop Ireton, Paul VI, and then Bishop O’Connell decided that they couldn’t compete with the rising talent level that all of the exposure generated for the Big Four.  Archbishop Carroll, Bishop McNamara, and Saint Mary’s Ryken were equally unnerved by the massive arms race occurring in football but hung on despite taking a lot of lumps.

The WCAC was forced to reorganize and update the rules to accommodate a stronger commissioner.  Next year they will unveil a two-tiered football schedule and they have expanded to include The Heights School, which is already competing in soccer this year.  The conference will be unified in the sport of football again, but in this interim year get ready to see more of just how we got this way in the first place.  The Big Four will continue to dominate, sometimes shuffling win and losses between each other but with seldom a loss to the other WCAC members.  The 2017 WCAC football season has already begun with Gonzaga pummeling Bishop McNamara 38-0 on Eye Street with a freshman starting at quarterback.

There just aren’t too many schools that want to face that kind of ability to reload on a yearly basis and the Mustangs (0-5) deserve some sort of award for courage.  Deeper programs like Gonzaga keep attracting Division 1 caliber players because of examples set by alumni like Kevin Hogan in the NFL.  This is just one example but the Gonzaga Purple Eagles (5-1) are still fighting to break into their first WCAC championship game since 2011.  Gonzaga is clearly a playoff team.  The Eagles were even cut off from competing for the tiny DC “state title,” but they haven’t won a WCAC football championship since 2002.  Gonzaga is our pick to finish fourth this year but if they stay healthy they can give anyone problems, for a spell.

Our Lady of Good Counsel will also be challenged to sustain their glory on the gridiron in 2017.  The WCAC’s winningest football coach Bob Milloy retired in 2016, after only the second season since 2004 in which they didn’t appear in the championship game.  Replacing legends is never easy but the Falcons (4-1), again, looked within their program and picked a gamer in head coach Andy Stephanelli.  Good Counsel is still solid and they have shocked teams in the area that might have forgotten that the Falcons were league champions in football from 2009-2012.  Still, after facing what should be the top two teams in the WCAC in the ensuing fortnight we believe that home field advantage should be enough to rattle Gonzaga on October 27.

The Saint John’s College Cadets are proof that the transition to elite status in football can come at a steep price.  SJC suffers from an identity crisis and every season that goes by seems to make it worse because they certainly sacrificed the most and have the least to show for it.  The Cadets opted to go the full-on Moneyball route, but cash hasn’t proven to be a panacea so far.  Program alumnus and Under Armour founder Kevin Plank financed a complete overhaul that included an injection of transfers and two head coaches at one point.  The Cadets have been knocking on the door in recent years with a lot of notable wins, but none against the defending WCAC champions in the last quarter century.

SJC was supposed to be overwhelming the league with their unlimited resources, but they have underachieved in WCAC football and they have to look back to the old Metro conference for their last title in 1989.  Head coach Joe Casamento is trying to change all of that by unleashing the new and improved program on the top teams in the nation but the cracks in the plan have been obvious.  The Christian Brothers are probably wondering if a 2-2 record was worth these changes but they haven’t given up the lofty expectations that they have for their football program.  School missions aside, whether or not superstar transfers can manufacture enough team chemistry for a title is the question that has relegated the Cadets to second place of late, despite attaining a national ranking in USA Today earlier this season.

The four-time defending WCAC football champion DeMatha Stags have also had a lot to do with that.  Head coach Elijah Brooks is now unquestionably the best in the league and his players desperately want to add to this budding dynasty.  The Stags lost their opening game of the season but have reeled off four straight wins since then, two of them shutouts.  The DeMatha defense hasn’t given up a score in the second half of a football game since Bishop Gorman got the better of them in August.  DeMatha (4-1) will open WCAC play against a Gonzaga team that already has three shutouts under their belt on October 6.  It is safe to say that everyone is coming for the kings of the WCAC and SJC and Good Counsel are good tests for the Stags to improve their national ranking in USA Today.

It is a long way down from the top and the rest of the WCAC will just be searching for ways to get by in football in 2017.   The faces and names might be old news but the essence of the conference is probably going to remain the same for a little while.

With a league that routinely produces heavyweights, the WCAC will realize that they were wise to err on the side of caution and let some teams sit the football slugfest out.  What we have this year are six teams competing for the WCAC trophy in football and the rest will rejoin the league next year when the new rules take effect.  DeMatha, SJC, Good Counsel, Gonzaga, McNamara, and Carroll could finish in that order during this abbreviated 2017 football season. 

It is worth writing that basketball seems to be the honey that kept Bishop Ireton, Ryken, O’Connell, and Paul VI in the WCAC hive.  (Those teams will all play independent schedules in 2017, and they won’t be in contention for a title in football this year.)  The overall risk-reward for student-athletes is better in basketball and the notoriety of the league has made it a pipeline to Division 1 schools, and beyond.  Football is still trying to find a balance in the WCAC, but the shadow of a more formidable conference is still going to bash each other with everything they have in the meanwhile.  The only thing that could stop this show is if the culture changes and WCAC football is on the rise.

As per usual, the traditional rivalry games are worth experiencing live.  The oldest, continuous football game in the country between Gonzaga and Saint John’s is on November 4.  Bishop McNamara is hosted by Archbishop Carroll on October 7.  Good Counsel will try to pull off an upset against DeMatha on Friday, October 13 at the PG Sports & Learning Complex.  Then DeMatha will travel to Saint John’s on Military Road on October 21.

Did we forget to mention that DeMatha vs Gonzaga is October 6?  We hope that you tune into DM Stags TV to check this one out free of charge on the NFHS NetworkThe Big Four are all ranked in the top ten in The Washington Post, so everyone should remember.  Follow the #WCAC hashtag on Twitter if the #DeMatha (live) hashtag is too lit.  We have you covered here at The Chronicles of Six, so always check for updates in our Sports category!  Let us keep connecting you to the reputable sources.

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]

 

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)

Gonzaga Upsets DeMatha to Win the 2015 WCAC Basketball Championships in 2 Overtimes

February 27, 2015

“He dared the lightning in the lightning’s track,
And answered thunder with his thunder back.”

–  Paul Laurence Dunbar

DeMatha against Gonzaga would never be the rivalry that it is today unless Gonzaga won some games, and last night added another victory for the Purple Eagles.  Gonzaga earned their twentieth win of the season in the most important game, the 2015 WCAC Title,  and in storied fashion required two overtimes to dismantle DeMatha.

The drama could have played out differently for the Stags. DeMatha certainly had their chances to win as they entered the fourth quarter with a ten point lead.  Gonzaga would fight back like they always do and erase the deficit to put the Stags in a pressure situation at the line to win it in the final seconds of regulation.  DeMatha was unable to put the Purple Eagles away and it eventually came back to haunt them when Gonzaga eventually opened up a nine point lead of their own.

Sam Miller destroyed any hopes of a comeback with a tremendous effort hitting three-pointers and getting buckets in the paint late in the game.  Chris Lykes shone brightly for Gonzaga to that point, along with a host of guys that can only be filed under “never-heard-of” until this signature season win.  Gonzaga Head Coach Steve Turner must certainly be proud of his guys for fighting this epic game out until the end.  As a basketball fan, it was something to see.

As a DeMatha alumnus it hurt to watch but honestly the Stags have been sticking it to Gonzaga in the sports that draw a crowd as of late and the Purple Eagles sparked at just the right time.  DeMatha Head Coach Mike Jones is probably scratching his head on this one, and the Stags are going to have to find another way to punctuate this season.  I’m not exactly sure what the post-season plans are other than the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament but the Stags should have revenge on their minds for all of the schools that stole the thunder from their otherwise outstanding season.

Watch the 2015 WCAC Basketball Championship Live for Free on the Internet Tonight!

February 26, 2015
Markelle Fultz at the line in the Hoop Hall Classic.

Regardless of the POY award he already received Markelle Fultz knows that the most important shots are ahead of him.

Unless you have been living under a rock, or in Andalusia, you probably already knew that DeMatha will take on Gonzaga this evening (2/26) in the 2015 WCAC Basketball Championship.  Coverage begins streaming live with the girls game at 6PM eastern standard time (EST) with the boys to follow at 8PM, courtesy of DMVSTREAM.  (See below.)  Here is exactly what you need to know in a speedy bullet format:

  • Don’t be late because the live stream is free, but downloads and videos after-the-fact will cost you.
  • This is the third match-up of DeMatha versus Gonzaga this year with DeMatha winning the first two contests during the regular season.
  • DeMatha and Gonzaga also played twice last year with the Stags winning both of those contests as well.
  • Gonzaga has three First Team All WCAC selections: Bryant Crawford, Chris Lykes, and Sam Miller.
  • DeMatha has two players named to the First Team All WCAC with Darren Harvey and the 2015 Player of the Year, Markelle Fultz.
  • Throw the records out of the window because this game is guaranteed to be a dogfight with players from both squads doing their all to win a championship.

DeMatha VS Gonzaga for 2015 WCAC Basketball Championship, Again

February 24, 2015

There are a lot of great sports rivalries that get written about but DeMatha versus Gonzaga, in just about every sport, stands up to the test as one of the most exciting in high school sports.  Add basketball to the mix, a sport in which both schools take a tremendous amount of pride in, and you have a recipe for the greatest high school rivalry ever.  The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is the toughest in America and the last two all-boys high schools in it have desperately clung to superiority complexes that often play-out on the national stage.

Gonzaga versus DeMatha is gigantic already, but the legend is still growing.  Soon they will meet for the 2015 WCAC Basketball Championship, again -and everybody that follows high school basketball knows the implications.  Gonzaga versus DeMatha is Washington D.C. against Maryland, “God is purple” disagreeing with “I believe”, Purple Eagles opposing Stags and so much more.  There may have been a different mindset that has shaped the destiny of each school, but they are seldom far apart.  DeMatha has been the high school basketball trendsetter ever since the Power Memorial game fifty years ago and the Stags also have six national titles to back that up.  Gonzaga has always been an excellent foil, at their worst, and occasionally plays the spoiler to DeMatha when their basketball team is at their best.

Today DeMatha is (27-3) and trying to end the longest championship drought they have ever had in the WCAC: three years.  Gonzaga (19-10) basketball has been on the precipice of being nationally formidable all year and they can finally do that if they can find a way to beat the most well-known team in the league for the championship and salvage another lackluster season.  Individually there is no shortage of star power on either squad, today or historically.  DeMatha junior Markelle Fultz is the 2015 WCAC Player of the Year, and sophomore Darren Harvey garnered First Team All WCAC honors.  Gonzaga has two players deserving of First Team All WCAC honors as well: sophomore Chris Lykes and senior Sam Miller.

The DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys is in search of their fortieth (40) league championship after their win over Saint John’s College in the WCAC semifinals.  This one is especially poignant for the Stags as they look to officially punctuate another incredible season and send the seniors out on a high note.  Seniors Thomas Bruce, Terrell Allen, Ahmad Clark would all love nothing more but I am equally certain that if Jaelin Grant wants any bragging rights in his family whatsoever -he needs a DeMatha win more than anyone.  Each of Jaelin’s three older brothers managed to bring home a conference title for the Stags, and this is his last year to add to the already spectacular legacy.  On a personal level, I want to see Jaelin holding up the hardware.  I am hoping that this isn’t one of those years where Gonzaga can pull off the ultimate upset after losing two games to DeMatha during the regular season.  So now you know the deal…

Go Stags!  Get 40!

Plodding to a WCAC Tournament Preview

February 17, 2015

By now you have already heard the news that DeMatha lost the last two of their final three regular season WCAC basketball games against Bishop McNamara and Paul VI.  The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is the toughest in a America and DeMatha contended with emotional team performances and opposing crowd enthusiasm on what was “senior night” for both schools.  The Stags were not able to withstand late game blitzes in both cases and fell in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter to teams that desperately needed to win.

DeMatha is still a young team and they are in the process of learning what it means to be champions and how to survive in frigid gyms for that matter.  Nobody on the current roster was around for the Stags’ most recent WCAC title in 2011, and the state of Virginia has dominated the previous three years.  There is plenty of emerging talent in the conference with the confidence to challenge the #1 seeded DeMatha Stags in the tournament.  In addition to the two schools that already proved it, I would add Saint John’s College and Gonzaga to the list of basketball teams to watch for upsets.

Bishop O’Connell won the conference title in 2013 but it was disputed due to the Junior Etou age scandal so their games still have to be watched with scrutiny for unscrupulousness as long their head coach and athletic director remains at the helm.  Things are always interesting at this time of year and the Stags may have learned to trod more carefully when seeking their goals because other teams are always hunting after notoriety.  The 2015 WCAC Basketball Tournament title is the primary objective and the Paul VI Panthers are the defending champions, winning the title in 2014 and in 2012.

Welcome to a routine year in the WCAC where we have six teams gunning for the basketball title in 2015 so we can’t worry about cannibalizing collective chances at National Title runs with home-away splits!  DeMatha has their work cut out for them right now especially since national and local rankings will surely account for back-to-back loses.  However it appears that several of the WCAC teams are evenly matched, and the DeMatha basketball team should be eager for rematches on a neutral floor with the top position in the single-elimination tournament.

Go Stags!