DeMatha (8-1) dominates O’Connell, 49-7; Good Counsel up next
BY CHRIS MCMANES — DeMatha Catholic High School featured a lineup peppered with reserves Friday night. You wouldn’t have known it by the way they performed.
The Stags rolled to a 42-0 halftime lead and held Bishop O’Connell without a first down in a 49-7 rout at Marvin F. Wilson Stadium in Landover.
Sophomore running back Detrick Washington made the most of his extensive playing time by rushing for 106 yards and scoring a touchdown. Junior Anthony McFarland scored three times.
DeMatha improves to 8-1 and 5-1 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. O’Connell, after going 5-5 for three straight seasons, falls to 1-8 and 0-6.
The Stags are ranked fifth in the area by The Washington Post and 17th in the nation by USA Today.
Sophomore quarterback Ty Lenhart, playing in place of Beau English, opened the scoring when he went in from 2 yards. McFarland made it 14-0 by running in from 6 yards, and Washington’s 9-yard run with 11:15 to go before halftime gave DeMatha a 21-0 lead.
Washington’s TD was set up by a 22-yard pass from Lenhart to Shane Simmons, a Penn State recruit better known for his play at linebacker. He saw more action at tight end than usual in place of the injured Hamilton Day, who offered color commentary on the Stags’ Internet broadcast.
DeMatha forced the Knights to punt from their 1-yard line and took over at the O’Connell 20 following a 19-yard kick. Five plays later, McFarland scored on a 1-yard run. After another three-and-out, the Stags went 51 yards in seven plays, culminating in McFarland’s 10-yard rushing TD.
Washington had runs of 16, 9 and 10 yards on the drive. He was happy to play a key role in the DeMatha victory.
“It felt great,” Washington said. “I’m a sophomore and everything so I’m young, and getting into the game, I just had to do what I had to do.”
The 35-0 score, with 4:52 left before halftime, kept the clock running for as long as DeMatha maintained a lead of at least 35 points.
The Stags’ defense got into the scoring act when Myles Olufemi stepped in front of a Drew Bonner pass and went 47 yards for the touchdown.
DeMatha, which already had the advantage of bigger, faster, stronger players, had outstanding field position in the first half. Its worst starting point was its own 40-yard line. Three times the Stags began drives in Knight territory.
“Hats off to O’Connell,” DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks said. “They were willing to continue fighting, and they did a phenomenal job finishing the game. They did a good job.”
With the clock running after intermission, the second half flew by. The 15-minute halftime break began at 8 p.m. followed by two 12-minute quarters. At 8:45, the game was over. The Knights had the ball three times in the second half; the Stags twice.
Lenhart finished 5 of 12 for 63 yards. His only pass of the second half was intercepted by Toren Pride at the O’Connell 1. The Knights couldn’t generate any offense and began the fourth quarter with a failed fake punt.
DeMatha took over at the O’Connell 2, and sophomore Naim Muhammad punched it in on third-and-goal from the 1.
The Knights finally got the chance to celebrate when Pride scored on an 83-yard kickoff return. The junior wide receiver / defensive back took the ball down the right sideline to keep his team from being shut out. Ironically, O’Connell had one more touchdown than it did first downs.
Stags starting running back Lorenzo Harrison was out due to injury. A few of DeMatha’s starters did not play because of disciplinary reasons.
“In order for us to make a championship run,” Brooks said, “we have to do the little things on and off of the field. And when we don’t do that, it’s consequences. So we’ll get better from it, and it will make us a better team.”
Brooks was pleased with the play of Washington, a 5-foot-10, 203-pounder who ran 14 times and averaged 7.6 yards per carry.
“He did a great job stepping in,” Brooks said. “He really got downhill and ran the ball with some power. He did a great job for the carries that he had.”
The Stags are in second place in the WCAC heading into the final week of the regular season. The top four teams qualify for the conference playoffs at Byrd Stadium.
DeMatha will host fourth-place Good Counsel (6-3, 4-2) on Friday Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. The Falcons are ranked 18th in The Washington Post Top 20. The teams have waged a spirited rivalry over the past 10 years.
“It’s going to be a battle; it always is,” Brooks said. “We’re both fighting for our playoff seeding, and it’s going to be a hard-fought game like it is every single year. We’ve just got to come ready to play.”