DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks knew what he was getting into when he scheduled this season’s opener at nationally ranked Archbishop Wood (Pa.) despite graduating 30 seniors and 20 starters from last year’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship team.
In order for the Stags to round into form for the WCAC gauntlet, they would have to risk taking some early lumps while unifying their talented yet inexperienced pieces. Last Friday marked the first lesson, a 34-13 defeat that saw the Stags muster just 42 total first-half yards and nine total penalties.
“We can’t win in our league by going out and playing teams we know we can beat by 50 points,” Brooks said. “We have to play top competition because our league is too good to come in with false expectations. Still, we need to play much better than we did last week.”
The loss was magnified by an injury to running back Lorenzo Harrison. The junior dislocated his elbow while trying to brace his fall on a run. Brooks said he expects Harrison, who committed to play at Maryland on Wednesday, to be out for at least a couple weeks, shifting the rushing load to Anthony McFarland.
The sophomore scored one of DeMatha’s two touchdowns and is known to possess a workhorse run style that complements his lightning speed. He’ll be joined in the Stags’ deep backfield by Jaire George and Daryl Haraway, Jr., serving as the offensive leaders while the quarterback battle among Dylan Stein, Beau English, Tyler Lenhart and Evan Young continues into Friday’s game against St. Mary’s Ryken.
“Dylan had a solid game and did a good job of managing the offense, but we’re still going to take it week by week,” Brooks said. “We’ll be working on improving our offensive execution and cutting down on the unforced errors. Losing Lorenzo hurts, but we’ll have to try to get better without him.”