They are quite familiar with the videotapes -- both of them. Whether it is last season's Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game or this year's regular season finale, Good Counsel's football players have seen enough of their recent heartbreaks against DeMatha. The Falcons have watched the pair of one-point losses at home during lunchtime and as a team after school.
"I couldn't even tell you" how many copies there are of each game tape, Good Counsel All-Met linebacker Akeem Hebron said. "We've got a lot."
Hebron was watching a tape of last season's 30-29 loss to DeMatha when teammate Drew Gloster called one night this past week. Another teammate, fullback Anthony Davis, estimated he has watched a replay of this month's 22-21 loss to the Stags "40 or 50 times."
Today, Hebron, Gloster, Davis and Good Counsel's other seniors have one final chance to make a mark for the Wheaton school, which has never won a football conference title. In a series that has produced some of the Washington area's best -- and most bizarre -- games recently, the 17th-ranked Falcons will play third-ranked DeMatha in the WCAC championship game at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis.
"Throughout the whole year after football season was done [last year] I was thinking about it, wanting a second chance," Davis said. "Now we really have our second chance."
It was DeMatha that took advantage of its second chance to win the teams' most recent game. Good Counsel seemed to have the game won when, leading 21-19, it blocked a third-down field goal attempt with the clock running out. Though out of timeouts, DeMatha recovered the blocked kick, and the clock stopped because a Good Counsel player was injured. It gave the Stags another chance to kick a game-winning field goal, which Matt Campbell did for a 22-21 victory.
That came on the heels of last season's WCAC title game when, trailing 30-29 in the closing minutes, Good Counsel drove inside the DeMatha 5-yard line only to have its quarterback turn the wrong way on an option play and pitch the ball to an open area of grass. DeMatha recovered and ran out the clock for its second consecutive WCAC title and fourth in five years.
"We thought we had it last year, we thought we had it this year," Gloster said. "The third time is a charm. Hopefully we get it Sunday."
If anything, the Falcons said, the one good thing to come out of the losses is that they know they can play with DeMatha. While the past two games have been more memorable, Good Counsel beat DeMatha, 31-21, during last year's regular season.
"You don't want sympathy or [people saying] the odds are in your favor," Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy said. "It's man-on-man football. . . . There's nobody up there saying, 'It's your turn this time and we'll change it around.' "
Good Counsel's players say last season's loss hurt more, because it was for the league championship, but this season's defeat lingers because it happened just two weeks ago. One victory, though, could change everything.
"Most definitely [winning today's game] will make up for both of them," senior wide receiver Tyrell Jones said. "Everybody remembers the last game. Just like last year -- we beat them the first time, but everyone remembers the last game."