DeMatha's Jordan Scott has forged friendships with a number of St. John's players over the years, with some ties running back to his Boys & Girls Club football days. The senior running back said that when he sees those familiar faces lining up across from him, it gives him an extra jolt.
As a token of their kinship yesterday, Scott ran for 123 yards and a career-high four touchdowns on 15 carries against some of his old friends, leading No. 3 DeMatha to a 44-14 victory over the Cadets in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinal at Parkdale High School.
"I'm pretty comfortable playing against St. John's," said Scott, who had cracked the 100-yard mark in each of the last two times he had faced the Cadets. "It's just to fun to play against the same core of people you've grown up with your whole life."
The victory sends defending champion DeMatha (9-1) into the conference title game Sunday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis against No. 1 Good Counsel, which defeated Gonzaga, 42-7, in yesterday's other semifinal. The WCAC final will be a rematch of Good Counsel's 31-21 home win on Oct. 15 -- the Stags' only loss since 2002.
Scott's performance was a blunt reminder of just how formidable DeMatha's backfield -- which also includes Jeff Allen, Kenny Jefferson and Patrick Mealy -- is. While Allen, the team's leading rusher, has been more of the team's workhorse this year, it was Scott who shouldered the load early on, running between the tackles for all but eight of his yards in the first half.
"We're the 1-2 punch, that's what [Scott and I] call each other," said Allen, who added a touchdown in the fourth quarter. "When we're rolling, the whole team's rolling. We complement each other."
The Stags, who had fallen behind 13-0 to St. John's before winning their earlier meeting this season, soon ensured there would be no such problems yesterday. By the middle of the second quarter, DeMatha had jumped out to a 21-0 lead on touchdown runs by Scott of 4, 6 and 14 yards, respectively.
The early lead allowed DeMatha to force St. John's (7-4) out of its balanced running and into a spread offense. The result: three interceptions.
"I think it took a lot out of [St. John's]," DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor said. "You're up 21-0 and it takes them out of their game plan and they have to make adjustments. You'd much rather be up 21 than 21 down."
Good Counsel Romps
As the Good Counsel football players emerged from their postgame huddle following yesterday's 42-7 thrashing of visiting Gonzaga , they bounced and yelped with the swagger of an undefeated squad ready to back up its No. 1 ranking with a championship trophy.
The Falcons (11-0) will get that chance Sunday in Annapolis thanks to a stifling defense that forced five Gonzaga turnovers, sacked Eagles quarterback Kevin Murray five times and didn't surrender a point until just over three minutes remained.
Meantime, the offense was a barrage of up-the-middle runs by senior Jerron Pearson (19 carries, 101 yards, 2 touchdowns) and junior Sean Parrott (12 carries, 127 yards, 2 touchdowns) through gaping holes created by Good Counsel's staunch offensive line. "We're a 'run first' team, and I thought we ran the ball well," Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy said. "We'll have a real hard time with DeMatha. But whatever happens next week, I'm just gonna enjoy today and worry about DeMatha next Sunday."
Good Counsel scored on two of its first three possessions, led 14-0 after the first 10 minutes, and made it 28-0 by halftime behind the arm and legs of senior quarterback Reggie Gooch (20-yard rushing touchdown, 13-yard passing touchdown to Tyrell Jones). As a team the Falcons had 205 rushing yards by halftime.
Defensively, Tommy Galt had two sacks and two fumble recoveries, Drew Gloster had two sacks, and Jones, Mike Austin and Greg Ligon ended Gonzaga drives with interceptions. Murray completed just 10 of 31 passes for 107 yards (34 in the first half) for Gonzaga (7-4).