DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor was worried all last week as he prepared his football team for McNamara.

Of primary concern to McGregor was McNamara's potent run-and-shoot offense, which went into Saturday's game averaging 37 points a game. But in the end, the McNamara defense provided the foundation for a 7-3 upset of the top-ranked, unbeaten Stags.

The victory moved the Mustangs from 13th to 10th in the area with a 5-1 record, their lone loss against Gar-Field.

"I was surprised at the final score being so low," said McNamara Coach Tom Clark. "If you look at the game, we had about 260 yards in total offense and they had about 300, but neither team could score inside the 20.

"We got stopped a couple of times and they got stopped three or four times. The score could easily have been 20-17."

Or 38-3 in DeMatha's favor.

Time and again, the Stags embarked upon time-sustaining, spirit-breaking drives only to have McNamara turn them away.

DeMatha's second possession ended at the 6-yard line when Asim Penny intercepted a pass in the end zone. Kicker David DeArmas missed field goal attempts of 55 and 38 yards.

DeMatha advanced to the McNamara 12 and 16 before surrendering the ball on downs. Penny made his second interception in the end zone, at game's end, after DeMatha advanced to the 21.

On more than one occasion, McNamara defenders were sprawled on the field following a play and had to be helped off. It looked as if they were wilting under the pressure of the DeMatha offensive line, which averages 242 pounds. The Mustangs' defensive linemen average 209.

"A lot of players were hurt," said middle linebacker Mike Settles, who reinjured a hip in the first half.

"What kept us going in the huddle was that I told them it was the biggest game of our lives and would make the difference in the Metro Conference championship," he said.

"I told them to suck up the pain and have no fear and if they didn't play any other game, this was going to be the one they played right here."

Settles said he knew his team's run-and-shoot "was capable of scoring within a couple of seconds. As long as we stopped them and kept time on the clock, we knew our offense could pull it out for us. There was never a point when we thought we were out of it."

The Mustangs' defense was "just amazing," said Clark. "They just hung in there and hung in there until they had to stop them, and they did it. They played with a tremendous amount of heart and desire. I give the kids all the credit in the world. It was their win."

McNamara's fine defensive performance almost went to waste before a play known as "Cadillac Left" entered the scenario.

Riding to the game on the bus, quarterback Junior Bynum and wide receiver Penny looked over the script of plays and wondered when they could use the trick play that calls for Penny to take a lateral from Bynum, then pass from his wide receiver slot to wideout Andre Martin.

"We felt that it was going to win the game," Bynum said.

On fourth and 20 from the DeMatha 37, and trailing by 3-0 with less than a minute remaining in the game, their fantasies became reality when Clark called for the play.

"I thought we would never use it," Penny said. "When it came in, I just winked at Andre."

A few seconds later, Penny completed the pass to Martin for the winning touchdown.

"We knew it would work," Bynum said. "In practice, it worked every time. The scout team knew the play was coming and still couldn't stop it."

"Cadillac Left" is one of many opportunies generated by McNamara's offense, modeled on a scheme used by its originator, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Mouse Davis.

"It's so much fun to run," said Clark of the offense that calls for Bynum to pass 75 percent of the time. "The sky is the limit. It's the most exciting offense out today."

After honing the offense's nuances in the summer passing league, Bynum said it is ready to come into full bloom.

"It's getting above the point where we should start clicking for 400 yards a game," he said. "I'm reading the defense better and getting used to the patterns and checkdowns."

"A lot of people think this {win over DeMatha} will boost our confidence," said Penny. "But I don't agree. We were never not confident that we were going to win."

"We are using it to prove that yes, we are as good as DeMatha and yes, we are in the same class."