Football: McNamara looks to prove itself against Good Counsel

Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the weekend of football in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

The first five weeks of the season has seen the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference unravel from its recent rank and file. For the first time in at least 15 years, Good Counsel is off to a 0-2 start in conference play while McNamara sits at 5-0 overall, marking their best start in more than a decade. The two teams will meet Saturday with Good Counsel looking to get in the win column against McNamara’s juggernaut offense in Forestville.

The Mustangs are averaging more than 40 points per game, benefitting from space created by All-Met senior lineman Damian Prince and yards generated by the chemistry of quarterback Ramar Williams and wideout Jordan Crockett.

“We have a feel for what the guys can and cannot do and we’ve tried to tailor everything to their abilities,” first-year Mustangs Coach Keith Goganious said. “We’re just starting in conference play, so there’s still a lot of work to do but the guys have done pretty well so far playing as a group and a unit.”

Williams has nearly doubled his season total from last year, passing for 1,419 yards and 17 touchdowns to lead the Mustangs’ attack. Meantime, Crockett has well surpassed his output from last year’s 4-7 campaign, snagging 35 catches for 806 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The duo’s totals are more impressive when considering they have come under a new offense. This season, the Mustangs have run a one-back offense that’s geared toward spreading the ball in a manner that’s become common among college schemes.

“This offense takes advantage of the players’ ability to get out on the edge with speed, which is a little different than the downhill running style that was in place last year,” Goganious said. “Crockett is a special talent with a quarterback in Ramar who is a pretty good thrower and runner.”

Like most coaches, though, Goganious isn’t paying much attention to Good Counsel’s 3-3 record and slew of injuries, including defensive linemen Jesse Aniebonam (neck) and Darius Fullwood (leg). In his mind, if the Mustangs are to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009, how they fare against their next four opponents — all of which qualified for the postseason last year — will be key.

“Good Counsel has been at the top of the conference for many years and is a still a powerful team,” Goganious said. “This next stretch is big, but we have to take each game and challenge as they come and be prepared.”

Around the MAC

Because its schools are independent, comparing schedules with varying nonconference foes doesn’t necessarily provide insight into where the league’s teams stack up. But at 1-3 through four tough nonconference matchups, Flint Hill currently stands tied for the league’s worst record.

Maret (3-1) and The Potomac School (4-0), look ready to challenge the Huskies for MAC supremacy. The Potomac School, led by 358 yards rushing and five touchdowns from running back Jalen Broome, downed fellow MAC squad Sidwell Friends (1-3) in convincing 49-34 fashion this weekend (The Panthers carried a 49-14 lead into the fourth quarter). They’ll head to Saint James, which also plays a full MAC schedule, next week.

The Stags talented senior class hopes to finish their careers by taking the title Good Counsel has held for four years. (Nathan Bickell for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

Maret also earned a convincing win this weekend, traveling to Middletown, Delaware to play St. Andrew’s School. Trailing 22-10 in the third quarter, the Frogs rallied, leaping back late to snag a 23-22 win. Maret’s fate will be determined in the next four weeks, as three of the Frogs’ four games in that span come against Sidwell Friends, Potomac, and Flint Hill.

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
Chelsea Janes covers the Nationals for The Washington Post.
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