“It’s crazy that we have to do that now, but we have to,” said Gooch, who played at Good Counsel from 2001 to 2004. “It’s a college atmosphere.”
Milloy has built Good Counsel into a perennial national power, a football factory that is becoming more and more muscular by the season. But for as hard as Milloy and his staff have worked to bring attention to their team, they’ve had to work twice as hard to manage the circus and keep their players grounded. In today’s adapt-or-die high school football landscape, attention to detail has become everything.
Last October, as Good Counsel’s bus was headed to the University of Delaware for a high-profile matchup with Red Lion Christian, an assistant reported to Milloy that their star player, Stefon Diggs, had forgotten to pack his shoulder pads and helmet. Milloy was livid – and after turning the bus around to retrieve the equipment, he vowed to not let it happen again.
“They’re still kids,” said Milloy. “They’re worried about things that are just so unimportant.”
In terms of tradition, not much has changed for Milloy’s team. While a handful of high schools in the Washington area are reveling in the return of Friday night lights this week, Good Counsel is on a business trip out West — playing on national television for the third time in four years.
The Falcons have an 18-game winning streak dating back to October 2010 and have finished No. 1 in The Post’s Top 20 each of the past three seasons. They are nationally ranked in the preseason polls yet again, and are reloaded with blue-chip prospects on both sides of the ball. Clemson recruit Dorian O’Daniel and Virginia Tech commit Kendall Fuller headline a dozen or so players projected to play Division I football next fall, including three that have already orally committed to Virginia.
Milloy remains Maryland’s all-time winningest high school football coach, and at 68, a grandfatherly baggage handler for some of the country’s most visible recruits. In his 12 years at Good Counsel, as his program has gained traction as a national power, he has had to develop ways to shut down prima donna acts on his team.
“Just in case someone gets a big head, or something, he’ll criticize us. Positive criticism to bring it down a notch, whoever it is,” said O’Daniel, one of five Falcons to be named first-team All-Met last fall. “He humbles a lot of players.”