DeMatha wins 14-0, defense records second consecutive shutout
By CHRIS MCMANES
While the DeMatha offense struggled Friday night at Wilson Stadium in Landover, the defense dominated. Just like it has all season.
The Stags topped Life Christian Academy 14-0 for their second consecutive shutout. DeMatha has allowed just 27 points in five games and held opponents scoreless for 10 straight quarters. Its defense set up both scores Friday.
“I can’t say enough great things about our defense,” McGregor said. “Our entire defense should be acknowledged. They won the football game. I’m just so proud of our defensive staff. They had a great defensive game plan and made some great things happen.”
The ninth-ranked Stags improved to 4-1. LCA, from South Chesterfield, Va., fell to 3-4.
After both teams punted the first two times they had the ball, two DeMatha junior defensive linemen recovered fumbles on back-to-back possessions. The first, by Adrian Walker, set the Stags up at the LCA 33-yard line, but they were unable to score.
The second, by Jason Moore, gave DeMatha the ball at the Eagles’ 19. On third-and-12, Denzel Gardner threw a screen pass to his left to Brendon Wyatt, who took it in for a 20-yard touchdown. Gardner at that point had been sacked twice for 14-yard losses by Tyrique Tucker and withstood a roughing the passer penalty.
The Stags fumbled on their next drive and took a 7-0 lead into halftime.
The third period unfolded much like the first with both clubs punting twice. Midway through the fourth quarter, Moore and Elijah Yarborough combined to sack LCA quarterback Shain Hoover on fourth down for a 14-yard loss. It gave DeMatha a first-and-goal on the Eagles’ 10
Two plays later, Wyatt scored on a 5-yard run with 2:17 to go. Junior defensive back Robert Stevens ended LCA’s best scoring opportunity with an end-zone interception.
The Stags were going up against a big and talented offensive line. Five Eagles’ linemen weigh at least 320 pounds. Trevyon Green (6-foot-8, 330) has committed to North Carolina.
“Our defense stepped up to the plate when needed,” said Moore, a 6-6, 270-pounder who has several major college scholarship offers. “Our team really needed this game, and we showed up.”
Gardner, the Stags’ freshman quarterback, completed 4 of 8 passes for 38 yards. Wyatt rushed 17 times for 39 yards, and Jaden Bacon carried the ball eight times for 27 yards.
Only in their 14-10 loss Sept. 3 has DeMatha scored less points this season. McGregor said he would have to review Friday’s tape to see why his team wasn’t more successful offensively.
“The team we played is very big, very strong; they’re very athletic,” McGregor said. “We just did not control the line of scrimmage at times or do what we had to do. You’re going to have games like this. The good thing is it was not a pretty win, but it was a win.”
Kicker receives scholarship offer – Senior kicker/punter Daniel Holbrook had two big second-half punts for the Stags. His first one, a 45-yarder, came from his team’s 10. The second sailed 49 yards and stopped on the LCA 8.
“He was a difference maker,” McGregor said. “He made the first two extra points, which were big. He did a great job kicking off, putting the ball in the end zone, and he did a great job with the punts. He could not have been any better.”
Holbrook received his first Division I full scholarship offer last week from Morgan State University in Baltimore.
“It’s wonderful,” McGregor said. “He deserves anything he gets. He really works hard at it. He’s been fantastic in the first five games.”
The 5-10, 190-pound Holbrook is well-respected in the Stags’ locker room.
“We have a great kicker in Daniel,” Moore said. “We’re thankful for that. He’s in a great position to help the team out.”
WCAC play begins – DeMatha opens Washington Catholic Athletic Conference play against Gonzaga in Landover on Friday Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. The Eagles (4-2) are ranked sixth by The Washington Post. The Stags are ninth.
“They’re a good football team,” McGregor said. “Really well-coached; they’re disciplined; they’re going to come out and play hard. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
Moore thinks DeMatha is in good position: “I feel very confident in our team. We’re going to keep getting better and better every day.”
Top-ranked St. John’s (5-0) hosts Bishop McNamara (3-1) on Oct. 9, and No. 7 Good Counsel (4-2) has a bye.
“There’s not a whole lot of difference, I think, between all of us,” McGregor said. “Now it’s going to be who comes out and plays and doesn’t make mistakes, who executes and see what happens.”
Chris McManes (mick-maynz) covers DeMatha football for the Hyattsville Life & Times.