DeMatha junior running back Anthony Riley most impressed Stags Coach Bill McGregor when he slept during football camp drills this past summer. Last night, Riley continued to impress McGregor--and just about everyone else in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference--by rushing for 226 yards and two touchdowns as the Stags defeated Paul VI Catholic, 43-0, before 2,300 in the teams' first regular season meeting last night in Fairfax.
Riley has rushed for more than 1,400 yards for No. 3 DeMatha (6-0-1) after playing behind since-graduated running back Kenny Dantzler last season. But the 5-foot-9, 184-pound Riley first impressed McGregor when he would show up at the Hyattsville private school's summer football camp and seemed too tired to play.
"I asked someone why Anthony was so tired all the time and they told me he was working two jobs, one at the night shift at a fast-food restaurant and then working our camp in the morning to help his mother pay for tuition," McGregor said. "So I went over to him and said, 'Anthony, if you are tired, you should lie down for an hour or two.' And he told me, 'Coach, I do not want to sleep on the job.' But that is the kind of kid he is. He is a class act on and off the field."
Said Riley: "The summer was tough, between running and lifting and then working at the restaurant from 11 at night until 7 in the morning, then going to DeMatha's camp from 8 until 3. But you do what you have to do. And I have waited for my chance to show what I can do--so I have a lot of motivation. I do not want to work hard for nothing."
Last night, the Stags got going right away with an eight-play, 57-yard scoring drive. Riley carried all eight times, including a 15-yard scoring run to give DeMatha a 6-0 lead.
That was all the offense DeMatha would need to remain unbeaten in the regular season since a 28-26 loss to Good Counsel in Oct. 1996--a span of 30 games. Though Paul VI quarterback Collin Hannigan finished with 253 yards passing and led the Panthers inside DeMatha's 20-yard line three times, the Panthers could not score.
Paul VI (6-1-1) called only three conventional running plays, and played almost all of the game from a shotgun formation with four and sometimes five receivers. Paul VI's deepest threat came when Hannigan completed a 42-yard pass to Andre Eason at DeMatha's 1-yard line. But Eason was stripped of the ball as he was falling and DeMatha's Jimmy Blackwell recovered just before the ball went out of bounds.
DeMatha also sacked Hannigan six times, including two by linebacker Mikal Baaqee and forced three turnovers.
"We were giving up way too much size and strength to DeMatha on the offensive line," Panthers Coach Wade Keel said. "We figured the best chance we had was to throw the ball. I think we did a good job overall but DeMatha is really good."
CAPTION: Anthony Riley eludes Paul VI's Tyree Spinner. Riley has gained over 1,400 yards this year for DeMatha (6-0-1).