During one punt return against Carroll last Saturday in the first round of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament, DeMatha senior Josh Wilson had a Carroll defender draped over his back like a hooded sweat shirt. Wilson paid little attention to the extra baggage, and plunged ahead before several other Lion defenders converged to bring him down.
Wilson was not so burdened on another punt return, which he returned for a touchdown, his third of the year. He also had four catches for 103 yards.
The Stags (6-2) will need similar efforts from their standout wide receiver-cornerback-kick returner if they hope to defeat Good Counsel on Saturday in the WCAC semifinals.
"He's incredibly important to this football team," DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor said. "Saturday, he had a great game. He does an awful lot of very good things for us. He's the type of young man who doesn't come off the field."
Though DeMatha is primarily a running team, Wilson has been one of senior quarterback Ryan Mitch's favorite targets. Through eight games, Wilson has 18 catches for 484 yards, an average of 26.9 yards per catch. The two have played together since they were freshmen, and both verbally committed to the University of Maryland. Their timing, honed in offseason seven-on-seven competitions and extra practice sessions, and similar goals have created a top-notch combination.
"The other person is trying to accomplish the same thing that the other person is trying to accomplish, so you know they're not going to veer off," Wilson said. "You know they are going to work just as hard as you are going to work."
Before, during and after practice, Wilson is busy trying to get the rest of his teammates on a similar page. He has been reminding them of their two losses this season, the first time a DeMatha team has had two losses in a season since 1996.
"We have the ability to be a great team, one of the best at DeMatha, we just have to get our minds right," said Wilson, who also has three interceptions this season. "I try every day to get them to think, to realize that we are vulnerable. Those two losses showed that we were vulnerable, very vulnerable."
Wilson does not like that feeling, nor the one he experienced last spring, during the WCAC track championships. Despite returning all but two from the 2000 conference champion team last season, DeMatha lost to Gonzaga, which resulted in some competitive banter that Wilson hopes to have the chance to avenge.
"The [Gonzaga] track team, they were talking trash, telling us to wait until football season and all that," Wilson said. "I tell people every day, we can't lose, especially not to Gonzaga. We could lose all of the games in the world and win the championship and that would be fine with me."