Moments after top-ranked Good Counsel's 36-6 victory at St. John's yesterday, Falcons defensive lineman Tommy Galt pulled off his shoulder pads, revealing a sweat-soaked Superman shirt. It was fitting attire for a player who almost single-handedly swung the game in Good Counsel's favor.
Galt, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior, scored two defensive touchdowns in the second quarter -- he returned an interception 15 yards and a fumble two yards -- to stake the Falcons to a 17-0 lead and put the game out of the Cadets' reach.
With the victory, the Falcons (9-0, 6-0 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) clinched the top seed in next month's conference playoffs, giving them home-field advantage in the semifinals. St. John's fell to 6-3, 4-2.
"Our defense has been the heart and soul of this team all season," Galt said. "With Deege, Akeem and me on the same side of the ball, it's a lot of fun."
Tommy Galt, the left-side end, was referring to his twin brother, Deege, a tackle -- both have orally committed to Maryland -- and Akeem Hebron, the Falcons' splendid junior linebacker. Each of the Galts recorded five tackles; Deege also had a fumble recovery. Hebron had 13 tackles and four sacks, for a combined loss of 51 yards.
"It's great to know that we've beaten DeMatha, Gonzaga and St. John's," Hebron said. "But we can't get too big-headed about it. We still have to take care of business."
Good Counsel junior wide receiver Tyrell Jones added: "That's what we live off of -- our defense. We feed off their energy. The defense is what got us going today."
Good Counsel senior running back Jerron Pearson got off to a sluggish start but finished with 126 yards rushing and a score on 23 carries. Senior quarterback Reggie Gooch was 6 of 12 passing for 79 yards, including a perfectly placed toss to Jones for a third-quarter touchdown. St. John's senior Rico McCoy scored the Cadets' only points on a six-yard run in the second quarter.
"It's absolutely a relief," Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy said of securing the top seed. "I'll finally be able to sleep for the first time in four weeks. And what more can you say about Tommy, Deege and Akeem? They are football players."
Gwynn Park Rips Douglass
Moments after No. 11 Gwynn Park's convincing 28-6 victory over Douglass, Yellow Jackets Coach Danny Hayes compared his squad to the NBA's Detroit Pistons -- a gritty, championship-caliber team without a superstar.
"We're not selfish," Hayes said. "Nobody gripes about how much playing time the next guy is getting. We have no superstars out here. That's how you win."
The Yellow Jackets (9-0, 8-0 Prince George's 3A/2A) epitomized that team concept in a win that likely ensured a playoff spot in the Maryland 3A East Region. Nine different players carried the ball for Gwynn Park, and five receivers caught passes.
The same was true for the Yellow Jackets' defense, which sacked Douglass quarterback Davon Gray six times and recorded 13 tackles for losses.
"They just told us to get pressure on the quarterback because the [Douglass] offensive line hasn't seen speed like ours," said cornerback Greg Jackson, who had a pair of sacks.
The Eagles (7-2, 6-2) badly needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive but fell short against Gwynn Park's swarming defense.
"We were really uptight," Douglass Coach J.C. Pinkney said. "You try to tell them to relax. I think the big-game atmosphere got to them."
Gwynn Park took control of the game with a 21-point second quarter that was highlighted by running back Lorenzo Dixon. With the Yellow Jackets ahead 7-0, he made a diving 26-yard reception to set up his own 14-yard touchdown run on the next play.
Dixon said the win will boost his team's confidence with the playoffs looming.
"Nobody can beat us but ourselves, I think," he said.
Spingarn Gets Robbed
Ballou's homecoming game against D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association East rival Spingarn was postponed after Spingarn Coach John Matthews discovered that much of the team's equipment had been removed from the school's locker room.
"I am dumbfounded about why somebody would come in and take the stuff," said Matthews, who arrived about 8:30 a.m. yesterday to find lockers open and uniforms, pads, helmets and cleats missing. "But if anyone has some extra jerseys or helmets and pants, help us out."
Ballou Coach Noel Cyrus said his team was about to take the field for warmups about at 11 a.m. when Allen Chin, the DCIAA director of athletics, called to say the game would be postponed. The game tentatively is rescheduled for 7 p.m. tomorrow, Cyrus said, providing Spingarn can find enough equipment to compete.
Earlier this season, Spingarn defeated Anacostia to snap a 24-game losing streak.
Special correspondent Lauren Silva contributed to this report.