Before we turn the page on the 2005 football season and begin to focus on basketball, we’re going to take one last look at the season that was in the WCAC. For all those who participated over the past four months, DCSportsFan would like to congratulate everyone on a job well done. For those of you who didn’t have the season you had hoped for, remember this one thing:
Football is easy if you’re crazy as hell.
Season Recap: (11-1, 7-0), Conference Champions
For the fifth time in six years, the Stags won the WCAC Championship, and the play of their seniors was a major reason why. Marc Poblador threw for 226 yards and one touchdown, wide receiver Matt Campbell caught 11 passes for 140 yards, and defensive lineman Reggie Gibson added in three sacks on defense. However, it was more than just a few key players that got the Stags the title. It was a team effort all year long for DeMatha.
Patrick Mealy, who was the DCSportsFan Player of the Year, rushed for 24 touchdowns and nearly 1600 yards this season behind a talented DeMatha line, which featured Shawn Wright, Marcus Brown, Michael Paolino, Ryan Bartholomew, RJ Shannon, and Scott Miller. Players like Dylan Fogle, Justin Winfree, Benji Clements, and Kevin Jackson will be sorely missed, as they contributed on both sides of the ball in their final season. Defensively, the Stags only allowed 9.8 points per game, which was best in the conference. Now the Stags must look past the 2005 season and set their hopes on a fourth consecutive championship.
Although Head Coach Bill McGregor will graduate 33 seniors this year, the Stags have some big-time players returning in 2006. Kenny Tate, who was voted DCSportsFan’s Most Exciting Player, rushed for two touchdowns in the championship game, including a five-yard run in overtime that set up Matt Campbell’s game-winning extra point. RJ Shannon returns to the offensive line while players like Ian Thomas, Joe Goins, and Nick Rivers anchor the defense. It will be interesting to see who starts in the backfield for the Stags, as both Poblador and Mealy will graduate this spring. However, the Stags junior varsity team won the WCAC Championship, so expect big things from DeMatha next year. And even if the JV players aren’t ready to contribute come September, McGregor returns 48 varsity players.
Good Counsel Falcons
Season Recap: (8-4, 6-1), Finished 2/8
For the second consecutive year, Good Counsel fell to DeMatha in the waning moments of the championship game, and the Falcons will have their work cut out for them next year if they want to return. Head Coach Bob Milloy, who won his 300th game this year, will graduate 22 seniors, including Georgia-bound Akeem Hebron, Drew Gloster, Anthony Davis, and Tyrell Jones. Hebron is one of the top-ranked linebackers in the country and led the conference with 120 tackles. Gloster and Jones were two of the best receivers in the league and will also be moving on to the collegiate ranks next year. Anthony Davis, who is one of the hardest hitting players in the WCAC, will play at the University of Connecticut next year. Although it will be hard to replace these four players, Milloy will have options to choose from, as he returns 37 varsity players.
Zack Ingle took over as quarterback in week three and remained as the team’s starter for the rest of the season. Don’t expect that to change next year. Ingle will be penciled in as the team’s starter and he won’t have to worry about getting protection from the line, as the majority of the offensive line returns. Wide receiver Collin Stevens and running back Chris Daley both saw significant time this year and will be vital to the Falcons’ success next year. And finally, don’t overlook up-and-coming players like Jelani Jenkins, Durrell Miller, Caleb Porzel, and the one and only, Christopher McKinney.
St. John’s Cadets
Season Recap: (6-5, 4-3), Finished 3/8
If there was one team that matured the most over the 2005 season, it would have to be St. John’s. The Cadets went from a 2-4 team on the brink of disaster to a 6-4 team just one or two plays away from upsetting Good Counsel in the first round of the WCAC Playoffs. Head Coach Joe Patterson has developed a young and talented group of players that will make St. John’s at least a playoff-caliber team next year, despite the loss of seniors Derek Waddy, Stephon Hampton, Mike Ward, Drew Luongo, and Ryan Whyte. Other than rebuilding the line on both sides of the ball, Patterson won’t have to worry about who will be the playmakers.
Remember these names: Antwon Bailey, Josh Johnson, DeLonte Armstrong, Philip Bush, and Tony Tucker. Those are just five players that Patterson will have next year who were major impact players for the Cadets this year. If they have the blocking to give Johnson time to throw and Bailey time to run, look for St. John’s to return to the WCAC Championship for the first time since the early 90’s.
Season Recap: (6-5, 4-3), Finished 4/8
It was an up and down season for Kenny Lucas’ Gonzaga Eagles. After starting off 5-1, the Eagles lost four out of their final five regular season games before falling in the first round of the playoffs to DeMatha. However, the Eagles were able to turn some heads along the way. Isiejah Allen, Jon Bradley, Joe Drummey, Mark Russell, Mike Pang, Tyler Fisher, and Jerome Johnson were just a few seniors who were instrumental in Gonzaga’s early success.
Coach Lucas will return 33 varsity players next year, including starting quarterback Joey Orfini, defensive back Cameron Johnson, running back TJ Putman, lineman Paul Haynos, nose guard Nick Caffes, and wide receiver/kicker Matt Deery. The Eagles are always a competitive team and next year should be no different if they can play consistently for the entire season.
Season Recap: (5-5, 3-4), Finished 5/8
The Knights had one of the more frustrating seasons in the WCAC. After starting 4-1, O’Connell proceeded to drop four consecutive conference games to leave them on the outside looking in come November. However, they were able to beat their conference rival, Paul VI, and knock them out of the playoffs with a 17-0 victory in the final week of the season. O’Connell was led by running backs Devon Brown and Antonio Cross, offensive lineman Nicholas Kaminski and Eric Butler, defensive lineman Corey Jackson and Thomas Smith, defensive backs Jordan Trimble, Emani Fenton and Shane Savage, linebackers Eddie Washington and Darrell Hardie, tight end Nick Cabrera, and kicker Philip Maguire.
O’Connell might just have the WCAC’s number one running back next year in Devon Brown. The junior ran for 1,275 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. If the Knights can build on the 2005 season and compete with teams like Gonzaga, St. Johns, Good Counsel, and DeMatha, then you could see the boys from Arlington playing beyond the regular season next year.
Paul VI Panthers
Season Recap: (5-5, 3-4), Finished 6/8
With one of the most explosive passing attacks in the league, Paul VI launched their way to a 5-5 record and was one victory shy of making the playoffs. Junior quarterback D.J. Mangas was the leading passer in the WCAC and finished eighth overall in the area with 1,889 passing yards. Mangas usually looked to wide receivers Zach Costello, Zach Miller, and Daryl Spencer. When the Panthers weren’t throwing the ball, Head Coach Patrick McGroarty would usually put the ball into the hands of his running back, Alex Soltis. Unfortunately, the Panthers struggled defensively, allowing 275 points, which was second worst in the league.
The Panthers will be one of the more experienced teams next year. Along with D.J. Mangas, who was DCSportsFan’s Junior of the Year recipient, Coach McGroarty will return both Zach Costello and Alex Soltis. Soltis progressed nicely as the year went on, rushing for 175 yards and three touchdowns against McNamara, 116 yards and two touchdowns against Carroll, and 191 yards against O'Connell. If Paul VI can make the necessary adjustments on the defensive side of the ball, they could be a playoff-caliber team next year.
Season Recap: (3-7, 1-6), Finished 7/8
There are two ways to judge McNamara’s season. On one side, you have a team that only won three games the entire year and just lost 12 seniors to graduation. However, on the other side, you have a head coach in Bryce Bevill who just finished his second year at the helm, tripled his team’s wins from the previous year, and will return 44 varsity players from the 2005 team. The Mustangs beat St. Mary’s of Annapolis, Bishop Ireton, and Carroll throughout the year and stayed competitive with O’Connell and Paul VI.
McNamara found a running back in James Brown that could prove to be the difference maker next year. Brown, who is only a freshman, ran for 118 yards in a week 10 victory over Carroll and carried the ball 22 times for 175 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Paul VI. Look for Brown to be among the league leaders next year.
Season Recap: (1-9, 0-7), Finished 8/8
There wasn’t much to cheer about after Carroll’s week one victory over Cardozo, as the Lions proceeded to drop their final nine games of the season. However, Head Coach Joe Johnson had a young team on his hands that will learn a good deal from the 2005 season. One of the few players that Coach Johnson will lose this year is senior running back Darin Burks, who was Carroll’s most consistent offensive player. Burks carried the ball 16 times for 118 yards and one touchdown in a loss against Paul VI.
Ian White will return for his senior season next year and will have more than one familiar face to play alongside with. Twenty-seven players will return to the offensive side of the ball and the defense will only lose seven players to graduation. Look for the Lions to bounce back in 2006.
We are also working on a highlight reel that will take you through the preseason, regular season, and postseason. It will feature each team and should be finished sometime in December.