Good Counsel senior cornerback Kirk Garner wasn’t sure what exactly had happened that led to DeMatha’s holder carrying the ball in his direction with just more than five minutes remaining in Friday night’s showdown between two of the area’s most prominent powerhouses. Had the snap on DeMatha’s 32-yard game-tying field goal attempt been fumbled? Had the kick been blocked?

But Garner was certain he could not let DeMatha’s holder turn the figurative corner; there was too little space between him and the end zone. Garner gave chase and made the tackle, forcing a turnover on downs and helping seal Good Counsel’s third straight victory against the Stags.

“I knew I couldn’t let that guy get outside of me,” Garner said. “I just made it my job to make sure he didn’t reach that edge.”

There were many impressive aspects of No. 1 Good Counsel’s 13-10 win over No. 4 DeMatha, but one stood above the rest: Whenever the Stags (5-1) seemed most poised to gain ground on Good Counsel (5-1) on the scoreboard, the Falcons’ defense was resolute in its stinginess. DeMatha entered the red zone three times Friday night and managed a mere field goal on those possessions.

“We can’t say we didn’t have our chances,” DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks said. “Too many turnovers. We just didn’t execute well tonight [on offense], and a good team like Good Counsel took advantage of it.”

Indeed, after Good Counsel senior defensive back Kendall Fuller returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, the Falcons’ defense spent the rest of the half tormenting DeMatha’s passing attack. Garner and senior safety C.J. Jones recorded interceptions, and the Falcons entered halftime with a 13-3 lead.

Good Counsel returned for the second half without the services of two of its starting linebackers — senior Darien Carr (ankle) and senior Dorian O’Daniel (shoulder), who also is the Falcons’ starting tailback. The Good Counsel offense finished the night with only 129 yards of total offense, but its defense stood firm, thanks in part to reserve linebackers Garvin Brooms, a sophomore, and DaSharnte Thompson, a junior.

“If you had told me before the game that Darien Carr and Dorian O’Daniel wouldn’t play the whole second half, I wouldn’t think our chances were too good,” Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy said. “But we had some young guys step up and get it done.”