Gonzaga has two of the area's best kick returners in Douglas Dutch and Taurean Marshall. Dutch, a 6-foot-2, 182-pound junior wide receiver-defensive back, is averaging nearly 54 yards per kickoff return, and returned one 99 yards for a touchdown. He also is averaging 13 yards per punt return, taking one 75 yards for a score. Marshall, a 6-2, 162-pound senior, returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. Thus, the pressure will be on DeMatha's contain players, Josh Wilson and Derrick McPhearson, who have spent extra time in practice working on kick coverage.
In DeMatha's semifinal victory over Good Counsel last week, the Stags' offense did not really get going until the game's final minutes, when Ryan Mitch led his team down the field and Patrick Fisher booted the game-winning field goal. The Stags can't afford another lethargic start against Gonzaga. DeMatha running backs Anthony Wiseman, Jeff Allen, Rico McCoy and Kenny Jefferson must establish the run early to open up the passing game for Mitch and game-breaking wide receivers Josh Wilson and Errol Henry.
John Reardon has enjoyed a fine season throwing the ball, completing 57 percent of his passes for more than 1,100 yards, and 13 touchdowns against only three interceptions. But against DeMatha, it is imperative he does not force throws into tight spaces, or loft deep, soft passes in the hopes of finding a receiver. The Stags, who intercepted Reardon once in the earlier meeting, have two of the area's best defensive backs in Reggie McCoy (six interceptions) and Wilson (four interceptions) and a solid corps of linebackers, led by senior Corey Sobel.
-- Tarik El-Bashir