Eleven weeks of football have come down to one night. This Sunday, two of the area’s most renowned programs will meet in Annapolis at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium for the WCAC Championship. Both schools are looking to become victorious but only one will prevail. Who will that be? DCSportsFan.com is going to take a look at the two schools and predict Sunday night’s winner. We will start with DeMatha and their 2005 season.
The Stags regular season was nearly perfect, which is not that uncommon by DeMatha standards. In a week one meeting with H.D. Woodson, the Stags scored a season high 65 points at Parkdale and Patrick Mealy previewed what was to come for the 2005 season. The senior running back carried the ball 13 times for 178 yards and four touchdowns. We also began to see what the future held for sophomore sensation, Kenny Tate, who returned a kickoff 84 yards for the score. However, DeMatha’s hopes for an undefeated season quickly ended in Baltimore the following week.
The Stags held Gilman scoreless in the first half but the final 24 minutes would prove to be different. Not only did Gilman running back Sean Price run for 140 yards in the second half, but DeMatha’s defense allowed scoring drives of 77, 80 and 40 yards as Gilman rallied from 12 points down to beat the Stags. Five DeMatha players went down with cramps in the second half on defense as the Stags fell to 1-1. The struggles for DeMatha would not continue, as the Stags won the next seven games in convincing fashion.
In week three, DeMatha beat Coolidge by 48 points, followed by a 41-point victory over Paul VI, a 32-point victory over St. John’s, a 16-point victory over O’Connell, and three more wins by at least 27 points over Gonzaga, Carroll, and McNamara before taking on Good Counsel in a week 10 match up for the #1 seed in the playoffs. But we’ll get to that later.
The Falcons season has been a little bit more tumultuous. After starting off strong with a 31-14 victory over Mount St. Joseph’s, Good Counsel hosted the area’s #4-ranked team in Robinson High School and quickly found out, much like DeMatha, that their season wouldn’t go exactly as planned. The Falcons struggled to move the ball against Robinson while the Rams’ Lucas Caparelli carried the ball 18 times for 119 yards in a 21-6 Robinson victory. Good Counsel continued to struggle on all sides of the ball as Georgetown Prep upset the Falcons the following week. Tied at 14, Good Counsel fumbled the ball deep in their own territory and Prep recovered. On Prep’s next play, Jeremy Hirsh ran 18 yards for the touchdown and the game. But much like DeMatha, Good Counsel quickly recovered.
With Zack Ingle starting at the quarterback position, the Falcons slowly hit their stride. Good Counsel posted two consecutive shutouts over St. John’s and McNamara, beat Carroll and O’Connell by an average of 38 points, shut out Gonzaga, and then beat PVI 39-7 to set up a week 10 meeting with DeMatha, which would instantly become the game of the year. Good Counsel led for the majority of the game and looked to be in control as the fourth quarter winded down, but DeMatha had one last drive.
Trailing 21-19 with 1:51 left in the fourth quarter, DeMatha took possession of the ball at their own 33-yard line and were able to move all the way down to the Falcon 15-yard line. After an incomplete pass, McGregor called a quarterback sneak to position the Stags in the middle of the hash marks as DeMatha called their third and final timeout. On third down, Campbell lined up to kick a potential 32-yard game-winning field goal with 12.7 seconds left on the clock. The kick was blocked by Good Counsel sending the team, the sideline, and the crowd into hysteria (video). DeMatha recovered the ball but weren’t able to advance the ball as the clock appeared to expire.
However, the game wasn’t over.
As the Good Counsel student body prepared to storm the field, a Falcon player laid motionless near the 15-yard line, forcing the referee to call an injury timeout, which stopped the clock at 4.7 seconds and gave DeMatha a chance to set up another field goal attempt on fourth down. The elation from the Good Counsel sideline quickly turned to uncertainty. Coaches and players stood about ten yards onto the field wondering what to do as trainers began to treat the injured player. After a few minutes, the Stag field goal unit lined up a second time, waiting for the referee to spot the ball and start the clock. With a look of confusion blanketing the stadium, Campbell lined up and kicked a 38-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Stags the 22-21 victory and the #1 seed in the WCAC playoffs. The Good Counsel sideline stood motionless as the DeMatha student body poured onto the field (video), (interview).
DeMatha has been the team to beat in just about every sport since Morgan Wooten arrived back in the 1960’s. Good Counsel, in recent years, has been one of the toughest programs in the area, especially since Bob Milloy, the state of Maryland’s all-time winningest coach, arrived at the school. Now, one year after the infamous pitch and two weeks after the second-chance field goal, Good Counsel and DeMatha will meet for the WCAC Championship, and this is how it will go down.
There will be a changing of the guard as Good Counsel beats DeMatha and becomes the team to beat in the WCAC.
Prediction: Good Counsel 27, DeMatha 24
Check back Sunday night for a recap of the game, which will include video footage, pictures, and interviews.