Last year’s two other playoff teams, Gonzaga and St. John’s, have the tools to shake up the conference’s balance of power. Before last season, Gonzaga had defeated DeMatha four straight times, and offensively, the Eagles can contend with the best behind playmakers such as running backs Robbie Walker and Reggie Corbin.
Meantime, St. John’s has a dual-threat weapon in quarterback Will Ulmer, a Maryland commit. It’s no secret the Cadets’ production depends heavily on Ulmer, meaning several other players will need to step up if St. John’s hopes to win the title.
While most have their eye on the usual suspects, upstart schools such as O’Connell, which improved from 1-9 to 5-5 last season, and McNamara, which has a highly touted recruit in Damian Prince and a new coach in Keith Goganious, make for dark horses.
As a former player who tasted championship success at DeMatha and the current leader in search of his first coaching title, Brooks said:
“The WCAC is a tough road to travel, and no matter the history or expectations, we’ve got to stay focused and grounded,” Brooks said. “We know we have the potential to be special, but so do a lot of other teams.”
— Brandon Parker
Technology on the sidelines
It’s not unusual for Chantilly Coach Mike Lalli to use an iPad to demonstrate positioning or a play for his linemen. But this season, technology that once was reserved for practice or postgame now will be able to join teams on the sideline.
A new rule from the National Federation of State High School Associations will expand the use of communication devices for the 2013 season. Players and coaches will be able to use any type of available technology during authorized conferences outside the 9-yard marks, on the sidelines and during halftime.
“It’s providing instant feedback, and that’s definitely an advantage from a coaching standpoint,” Lalli said. “We can show our quarterbacks exactly what we saw on a play and explain what we should have seen. It allows for more in-game adjustments.”
If a team does decide to take advantage of the revised rule, the biggest challenge might be deciding who on the sideline will be manning the camera.
“Using that technology would certainly be a great thing to have, but I just don’t have the support staff to do that,” longtime Centreville Coach Chris Haddock said.