Posts Tagged ‘National Title’

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.

DeMatha WCAC Mid-Season Basketball Fitness Report & National Title Push

February 10, 2015
DeMatha has an active team defense where everybody chips in.

Darren Harvey isn’t afraid to get down on the floor against SJC.  Links to the Washington Post article. Washington Post photo credit.

The DeMatha Stags baskebtall team has finally played every other team in the prestigious Washington Catholic Athletic Conference at least once, and they remain undefeated at 15-0.  Now DeMatha comes to the hard part.  The Stags will have to face a strong Bishop O’Connell team seeking revenge when they come into Hyattsville (today) and then win on the road at Bishop McNamara (2/13) -and then finally, again, at Paul VI (2/16).

There are no easy wins in the WCAC, and those three teams don’t have many years to research before they find evidence of their successes against DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys.  The Stags are always the most important game of the year for most opponents but with a #4 ranking in the USA Today poll the target on their backs has gotten bigger for WCAC teams looking to make late-season noise.  Right now all the clamor is for a DeMatha bid at an undefeated regular season in the toughest conference in America.

With an overall record of 24-1 the Stags have played great defense at times and despite some sporadic sloppy play on offense they have always managed to do enough since suffering their only loss to Sierra Canyon.  Their uptempo style can lead to unforced turnovers but so far, all of the risks have been outweighed by the rewards in WCAC games.  Terrell Allen has been masterful at times by improving his finishing touches while, somehow, still managing to find easy buckets for big man Thomas Bruce routinely.

When DeMatha is clicking in the half-court offense baskets in the paint are plentiful because Markelle Fultz, Darren Harvey, and Nate Darling all have a knack for keeping defenders off-kilter around the perimeter.  All of the WCAC defenses have succumbed to running DeMatha’s core players into their strengths which is why the Stags have dominated, so far.  Fultz and Harvey have been particularly generous in sharing the basketball and their prolific passing has allowed new Stags like Darling to get up to pace.

Even speedboats need an anchor and senior Jaelin Grant has been an unsung hero by neutralizing the toughest assignments in a conference loaded with national talent.  Grant was instrumental in both regular season wins against Gonzaga and is also a steady presence on the boards.  If the last of the Grant brothers can advance the inside-out mentality along with the rest of the Stags, their aggressive and attacking style on both sides of the ball will be hard to beat.

The DeMatha Stags’ basketball team also has to be mentally tough in order to deal with the pressure of playing for a conference championship that includes a single-elimination tournament after the regular season.  By clinching the regular season the Stags have also earned a berth in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament which could likely have them facing-off against top seeded WCAC teams for a fourth time along with other regional powers.  The winner take all rule is in full effect for this relatively young DeMatha basketball team and they will surely be in the National Title conversation should they remain undefeated for the remainder of the WCAC and extended season.