Playoff walk-through: D.C. and privates

Host B.J. Koubaroulis and The Post's Josh Barr and Alan Goldenbach preview the WCAC and D.C. playoffs.
By Josh Barr, Alan Goldenbach and Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 11, 2010; 2:22 PM

Games to watch: WCAC semifinals

Matchups: St. John's (5-5) vs. No. 5 DeMatha (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m. at Prince George's Sports & Learning; Gonzaga (7-3) at No. 6 Good Counsel, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

At stake: Berths in the WCAC championship game Nov. 21 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

Watch for: St. John's and DeMatha enter with momentum, the top-seeded Stags possessing a five-game winning streak, the fourth-seeded Cadets earned their way into the postseason by beating Gonzaga, 27-21. Expect St. John's to keep things simple on offense, where quarterback Danny Wright (781 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns) is at his best running the triple option. For DeMatha, running backs Jacob Siwicki and Darien Harris provide a potent tandem, rushing for 1,400 yards and scoring 19 touchdowns. Third-seeded Gonzaga and second-seeded Good Counsel had a memorable shootout on Oct. 30, a 50-38 Falcons' victory. Now having lost two in a row, the Eagles and standout quarterback Kevin Hogan must prove they are resilient

Skinny: St. John's must cut down on the mistakes it had against Gonzaga (fumbling six times, throwing two interceptions) if it is to have a chance of winning; since the WCAC adopted its current playoff format in 1991, DeMatha has failed to make the championship game just once, when it lost to McNamara in the 1996 semifinals. Similarly, Gonzaga must eliminate its mistakes (10 turnovers in past two games) to have a chance against Good Counsel.

Games to watch: DCIAA semifinals

Matchups: Dunbar (8-2) vs. Ballou (8-1), Saturday, 11 a.m. at Cardozo; H.D. Woodson (7-3) vs. Coolidge (4-6), Saturday, 4:30 p.m. at Cardozo.

At stake: Berths in the Turkey Bowl (the DCIAA title game), Nov. 25.

Watch for: Ballou's defensive front, anchored by linemen Lamonte Clark and Jamar Lewter and linebacker Daywone Wright is very strong. Since an 18-7 defeat to Ballou on Sept. 24, Dunbar hasn't lost, and its offense has been gaining confidence. Junior running back Curlee Walker has rushed for 1,144 yards and 18 touchdowns, and senior Stephon Stevens is a threat downfield. Ballou's secondary sacrifices height and Dunbar will look to take advantage.

Woodson, meantime, has gotten rolling since a few tough nonleague losses in September. The Warriors' defense is very strong, with a front led by senior linebacker Darius Redman (Virginia) and a secondary that includes senior Adoboye Aromire (Virginia Tech) and junior Kenny Crawley will make any downfield passes tricky for Coolidge. Further complicating matters for the Colts is the health of junior quarterback Femi Bamiro, who left last week's game with an elbow injury. If he is limited, the Colts' line will be hard-pressed to open spaces for its running game.

Skinny: This Ballou-Dunbar game will be decided by line play. If Dunbar's Cavon Walker and Terrence Wood can pressure Ballou quarterback Delonte Edwards and stop Knights running back Darren Holbrook, then Ballou's offense will stall. While Woodson's defense is strong, the Warriors need to find a running game to keep Coolidge's offense off the field.

Around the area

The Interstate Athletic Conference title will be decided Saturday when Landon (7-2, 3-0) hosts defending champion St. Albans (8-1, 3-0). Led by quarterback Will Strother (10 touchdown passes, five touchdown runs), the Bulldogs are trying to win consecutive IAC titles for the first time since 1943 and 1944. ...

Still in the hunt for a share of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title, Georgetown Prep (7-3, 3-1) will play the first night home game in school history on Saturday against Loyola Blakefield (5-4, 2-1). Little Hoyas Athletic Director Dan Paro said stadium lights were installed at the North Bethesda school two weeks ago and were turned on for the first time on Tuesday. If Georgetown Prep wins and Calvert Hall beats Loyola on Nov. 25, the Little Hoyas, Calvert Hall and Gilman will share the league title. ... Episcopal (3-4) travels to Woodberry Forest (7-1) in the annual season finale that continues the one of the nation's longest-running rivalries. The teams have played every year since 1901, with Woodberry Forest winning the past two years. ...

John Paul the Great plays the first postseason game in its three-year history when the Wolves (9-1) travel to Potomac School (9-0) for a Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II semifinal at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. "It's very exciting for our seniors especially," JPG Coach Carl Patton said. "Every one of these seniors transferred into this school and left a football program and left somewhere else where they had friends because they believed in the mission of the school and felt they had an opportunity to do something great [here]. It's been exciting to see their faith in themselves really pay off." The Wolves and Potomac School each have notched four shutouts.

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