As we are just about getting to the halfway point of the 2017-2018 season with league play just getting underway, the following players have performed above and beyond in order to make themselves stand out.
Most Valuable Players
Quarterback: Kevin Doyle (SR): St. John’s College High School
Kevin Doyle is without a doubt the WCAC’s best quarterback from what we have seen this season. A true pro-style quarterback that has the vision and intelligence of a college-level quarterback is what sets Doyle apart from other WCAC quarterbacks, past and present. Doyle has already thrown for 1,145 yards this season, coupled with an impressive nine touchdown passes. The Cadets will look to Doyle, a Michigan commit, to their first WCAC title in 29 seasons. A bye week before Good Counsel, and gaps in the weeks between the DeMatha and Gonzaga games could give the Cadets the right kind of mental space and preparation as they look forward to playoff time.
Running Back: Keilan Robinson (JR): St. John’s College High School
Upon the graduation of Gonzaga’s Tyree Randolph, one of the most electric and determined running backs the WCAC has ever seen, it will be rare to see numbers like his put up in a season again. With that being said, Keilan Robinson has exhibited his explosiveness, athleticism and strength throughout each of St. John’s’ games thus far, rushing for four touchdowns and just shy of 400 yards. He boasts several impressive scholarship offers from various Power 5 schools and seems to be a legitimate force in the Cadets’ backfield.
Wide Receiver: Dean Engram (JR): Gonzaga College High School
A threat not only on offense as a wideout, but a threat on defense as a cornerback are two things that make Dean Engram so special and exciting to watch. Being an avid Michigan fan, I can say that Engram reminds me a lot of Jabrill Peppers. A player that is all over the field on offense, defense and even returning kickoffs and punts makes for some unheard of versatility that separates Engram from the rest of the pack. Engram starts on both sides of the ball and has made numerous plays in every single one of the Eagles’ games thus far, adding multiple touchdown scores to top it all off.
Offensive Line: DeMatha Stags
All offenses must give credit where it is due, and it is mostly due to strong offensive lines. DeMatha has scored 146 points total on their opponents so far this season, with a fresh face starting under center and several new players in their backfield. Their veteran offensive line which features Maryland commits Evan Gregory and Austin Fontaine have proven to be exceptional thus far and seem to only be heading forward as the year progresses.
Defense: Gonzaga Eagles
Gonzaga has a defense that is not only loaded with talent, but a defense that can execute. The Eagles have outscored their opponents this season 199-55, which includes a 21-6 loss to Viera making up for most of those points. A very knowledgeable and athletic defense, Coach Trivers will look to these guys for the remainder of the season in order to propel the Eagles to the playoffs and beyond.
Wins, losses, heartbreaks and triumph are all usually heard terms when talking about WCAC football each season. Below are some bold predictions for the remainder of the season including a champion, coaches and players...to an extent.
Bold Predictions…sort of
Before I stir up any arguments, or have certain teams coming after my head, or even am told that I am “biased” in my pick, I will refrain from voicing my predicted champion. What I can say is that history and numbers do not lie. You may remember the stretch of time between 2009-2012 when the Good Counsel Falcons won four consecutive WCAC titles. DeMatha ended their reign in 2013 and have now won four consecutive titles themselves. Will DeMatha break through and keep their streak going to five titles like they did in 1991-1995, or even 6 titles like they did in 2003-2007? Or will their coveted crown be stolen by a hungry Good Counsel, a determined Gonzaga, or a talent-filled St. John’s?
Coach of the Year
Well this one could really sway in any direction. The coach of the year can typically be determined by a coach who does one of the following:
- Brings a sought-after or lesser team into the picture and finishes the season with an unexpected winning record or playoff berth.
- Wins it all.
Based on these criteria, it would be easy to say that the decision will be made between one of the following:
- Elijah Brooks (DeMatha): A DeMatha alum himself who won WCAC titles not only as a player but as a coach too just seems to get better and better every year. No matter how much talent he is working with, he seems to instill a different kind of confidence in his team that always allows them to prevail. If the Stags get the fifth straight, we could all see Brooks getting coach of the year.
- Andy Stefanelli (Good Counsel): Although it is his first year on the job, the Falcons will need to at least make a championship appearance for Stefanelli to get this recognition. A playoff berth is not unusual for the Falcons, and neither is having a winning season. But when you have had a coach for 47 years retire and are under a period of adjustment, the more successful your results are on the field will only help your reputation and recognition off of it.
- Randy Trivers (Gonzaga): Randy Trivers has never failed to produce a winning season, or playoff qualification with every one of the Gonzaga teams he has coached. Year to year, Gonzaga always seems to pull off major upsets in their seasons that ultimately prove their belonging with the best. Similar to Good Counsel, playoff games and winning records are not unusual for Gonzaga. But execution in the playoffs are unusual for them. Like the Falcons, Gonzaga will need to at least make a championship appearance for Trivers to take the cake.
- Joe Casamento (St. John’s): In his second year as head coach for the Cadets, Casamento has never had to worry much about talent. Both the 2016 and 2017 St. John’s teams are very similar in the fact that they both have tons of division one commits and talent all over the field, and have extreme athleticism that takes them so far. Their complacent nature, however, always seems to just get the best of them. Commanding leads over two top 20 programs this year seemed convincing that St. John’s are a top ten nationwide program. But blowing 17 and 10-point leads reminded us of the St. John’s we are used to seeing. The St. John’s that also blew a 15-point lead in the WCAC title game last year gives us good reason to believe that they can execute and come out of the gates on fire, but they cannot also not finish a task that is handed to them.
Yes, the season is nowhere near being done. But I can already say that the coach of the year should be handed to first-year head coach of St. Mary’s Ryken, Aaron Brady. Brady, former Gonzaga head coach, has been in and out of 3 head coaching jobs in the last ten years. I do not know what it is about this guy, but every team he has touched has turned into gold (sort of). At the helm for Gonzaga, Brady capped off his coaching career with a 29-16 record including several playoff appearances and a championship appearance in 2011. Upon taking the head position at Malvern Prep (PA) in 2014, he was able to produce consistent winning seasons for the Friars. 7-4 in 2014, 9-2 in 2015 and 8-3 in 2016. This clearly gives us the results to conclude that Brady is an excellent coach, and is steering what was a year to year struggling St. Mary’s Ryken team into a currently undefeated (6-0) rising program.
Player of the year
Ultimately, there is far too much talent in the WCAC for me, or anyone really to say who the best player in the league is. I mean seriously, how do these committees and boards all agree on this kind of stuff? You have forces on offense, you have forces on defense, and you have forces on special teams. I personally don’t believe that there is ever one standout, one diamond in the rough that can be decided upon as the best player in one of the nation’s toughest football conferences. So I’ll leave this one up to you.