The 2015 WCAC (Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) football season has come and gone.
So many things could be said about this season, it’s hard to sum it up in one word. DeMatha came into the season as the national title contender, but one big upset against rivals Gonzaga on national television knocked DeMatha out of the top five in the USA Today High School Football Rankings. Gonzaga was undefeated until the last game of the season despite losing a lot of key starters from last year. Good Counsel didn’t end up as one of the top two teams in the conference like years past.
With all that being said, the playoffs are finally here. Four teams will play on Saturday with the hopes of making it to the WCAC Championship and claiming the gold. Last year’s championship ended with DeMatha crowned as champions for the second straight season. Will the Stags three peat or will another team take the glory? Here is a preview of the upcoming playoff games.
|Gonzaga (DC) vs Good Counsel (MD)||November 14, 2015||12:00pm||Byrd Stadium (University of Maryland)|
|DeMatha (MD) vs St. John’s (DC)||November 14, 2015||4:00pm||Byrd Stadium (University of Maryland)|
|WCAC Championship||November 22, 2015||5:00pm||Byrd Stadium (University of Maryland)|
Gonzaga 9-1 (6-1) vs Good Counsel 6-4 (4-3)
Season Overview and Playoff Preview
The last time the Purple Eagles and Good Counsel faced each other, Gonzaga’s defense and running back Tyree Randolph led them to a 32-13 victory. At the start of the third quarter, the game was tied at seven but Gonzaga scored 18 points to bust their lead wide open. Tyree Randolph, who had a solid season, rushed for 207 and two touchdowns. Gonzaga’s defense kept Good Counsel in check as they forced four turnovers. Junior linebacker Mitchell Johns had two interceptions.
Gonzaga football team had a season to be remembered, even though they lost a lot of key starters for last year’s team. They started off strong by winning six streak games but what really got them national attention was their win over DeMatha, who at the time was one of the top five teams in the country.
In a conference filled with talented running backs, junior Tyree Randolph had one of the better seasons. Randolph had a total of 1,167 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. He also averaged 145.9 yards per game. Junior quarterback Sam Brown had a solid year as the starter. Brown threw for 1,005 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. Another thing to point out is Gonzaga’s defense. They are led by senior linebacker and Iowa commit Kyle Walker and senior defensive linemen Nasheed Bridgeman and Robbie Omelchenko. There were only three games this year where the Purple Eagles allowed opponents to score 20 or more points, and held DeMatha and Good Counsel to under 14 points when they played them.
Good Counsel was the best team in the conference last season and made a trip to the WCAC Championship. This season was a different story for the Falcons. They had a 6-4 record and a 4-3 record in the conference which was good for fourth best in the WCAC. Good Counsel didn’t have the season they normally have but the Falcons are still in the playoffs, which means they can contend for a championship.
Prediction: Gonzaga over Good Counsel
Last year when Good Counsel played in the WCAC Semifinal game against Gonzaga, they were sure favorites. This year’s game will be a different story since they are going against No. 1 Gonzaga. Grant it, this should be an interesting game to watch but the Purple Eagles still has a lot more firepower than their opponent.
DeMatha 9-1 (6-1) vs St. John’s 7-3 (5-2)
Season Overview and Playoff Preview
DeMatha hit a bump in the road early in the season when wide receiver and Maryland commit DJ Turner went down with a season ending ankle injury in the first game of the season against Miami Central. But the Stags didn’t let that phase them as they went 6-0 and beat teams like Miami Central, American Heritage, and La Salle College. The Stags were one of the top five teams in the country. Their defense looked to be unstoppable along with their offense and people on social media wanted to hand DeMatha the WCAC Championship trophy. Things changed for the Stags when they played Gonzaga in front of the entire country on ESPN and lost 24-14. DeMatha was knocked out of national title contention but they still finished the season strong by winning the last three games of the season.
Senior running back Lorenzo Harrison had finished his DeMatha career strong by rushing for 720 yards and appearing on SportsCenter Top 10. He gave the University of Maryland hope for the future. Transfers Robbie Robinson (Arizona State) and Chase Young had a great season as well.
St. John’s had a good year and made it back to the playoffs after missing it last season. Talik Mann posted solid numbers as the starting quarterback. Mann threw for 1043 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. Senior wide receiver/linebacker Aaron Hansford led the team in receiving with 380 yards while five other receivers caught for 100 or more yards. On defense, the Cadets has a strong core of defensive linemen and linebackers. Seniors Terrell Hall and Savohn Hunt leads the defensive line while linebackers Aaron Hansford and junior Ryan Vessels lead the linebacking unit.
Prediction: DeMatha over St. John’s
The last time these two teams played one another, there was a lot of hype going into that game. On social media, there was trash talking about DeMatha but the Stags ended all the talk as they beat the Cadets 40-0. Now, they meet once again and the stakes are even higher. DeMatha is set on both sides of the field. If St. John’s want to win, they would need to get the lead early and slow down DeMatha’s offense, especially the run game. Lorenzo Harrison and Anthony McFarland has cause problems for opponents’ defense since they have been with DeMatha. Another thing the Stags will need to do is limit the amount of flags called on them.
St. John’s will be entering the game with a lot of momentum since they beat No. 1 Gonzaga last week. Also, they would be looking for revenge on DeMatha after what the Stags did to them on their homecoming. DeMatha should be favorites in this game as long as they limit the flags, turnovers, and continue playing traditional DeMatha football. Expect this to be an exciting game with emotions set sky-high.
Ryan McFadden is a freshman at Iona College and alumni from DeMatha Catholic High School. He is the founder of Inside The Locker Room and plans to major in Mass Communications. Follow him on Twitter @RMcFadden15.
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