Football: Top-ranked Good Counsel edges Manatee (Fla.) in double-overtime, 24-17

September 2, 2011

Stefon Diggs visited his barber Thursday afternoon after practice for a special haircut. It was a mohawk of sorts, with a few words or designs blended in, with references to being the No. 1 player and top-ranked Good Counsel’s bid for a third consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.

While some might consider the look a bit brash, the outspoken Diggs showed once again he can usually back up anything he says or does.

The All-Met wide receiver and defensive back had to be carted off the field because of cramps in the third quarter but returned and later made a beautiful move on an out-and-up route and twisted to catch the ball in the end zone for the game-winning score as the host Falcons won their high-profile season opener over Manatee of Bradenton, Fla., 24-17 in double overtime before 4,500 in Olney.

“I had told my coach, the corner liked to commit to the [out] route when they first see it,” Diggs said after leading his teammates in a few celebratory dances. “As soon as I broke down, I saw him coming [up] out of the corner of my eye.”

“He called that play — he came over and said will you please run the stutter,” Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy said. “I’ll run the stutter and he scored.”

Diggs’s second touchdown of the night was not the final thrilling moment of a game that twice saw Manatee rally to tie the score in the fourth quarter, the last time coming on Nicolas Tankersley’s 28-yard field goal with three seconds left in regulation.

On its ensuing possession in the second overtime — each team got a possession from the 25-yard line in each period — Manatee came up just short on fourth-and-one. After a measurement determined the Hurricanes — who went 13-1 last season and reached the Florida 5A semifinals — failed to get a first down, Coach Joe Kinnan was livid with game officials.

The ball “was touching the line!” Kinnan screamed while the teams shook hands and game officials left the field.

Kendall Fuller’s 57-yard touchdown on a slant pattern had given Good Counsel an early 7-0 lead. Then quarterback Whitey Marshall’s second touchdown pass, an 80-yarder to Diggs, gave Good Counsel a 14-7 lead. With 1 minute 37 seconds left, Ryan Corriere’s 23-yard field goal put the Falcons up 17-14.

“It’s a huge win,” Milloy said. “But I’m very sorry it ended the way it ended. Their coach was mad and I understand why he was mad.”

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