Following a 12-yard Jonathon Lee run late in the third quarter of Saturday’s matchup with Gonzaga, Good Counsel quarterback Andres Castillo began his routine jog toward the sideline for the next play. The junior only made it two steps before being waved back toward the huddle by the Falcons coaches, all of whom were rolling their fingers in a circle.
By that point, the game plan had been simplified to virtually one call — hand the ball off to Lee. The junior, who just two weeks ago could barely carry a football after spraining his clavicle, returned to rush for 161 yards and a touchdown to push the No. 13 Falcons past top-ranked Gonzaga, 17-7, at Coolidge High in Northwest.
“There was no doubt that I was going to play this game,” Lee said. “I was excited to play this one and I made sure in my preparation that I was ready to go.”
Whether the Falcons truly were ready remained unclear in Coach Bob Milloy’s mind following the previous week’s 20-0 loss to Gilman. In that game, Good Counsel (4-1, 1-0 in WCAC) never made it past the 50-yard line, and in Saturday’s first quarter, its offense continued to struggle, fumbling once and losing possession following a fourth-down sack.
In contrast, Gonzaga marched downfield on its second possession as Nick Johns connected with Reggie Corbin for a 17-yard touchdown. But the Eagles (4-1, 0-1) soon began to unravel, largely because of costly penalties (nine for 60 yards) and pressure from Good Counsel blitzes.
After Castillo found Keon Paye for a three-yard touchdown to tie the score 7-7 midway through the second quarter, the Falcons held the Eagles without a first down on their next five possessions, with Garvin Brooms accounting for two of the team’s three sacks.
“We really studied film and went through scout team reps closely during practice and that helped prepare us,” Falcons defensive captain Darius Fullwood said. “We could tell by the lineman stance and some of the formations where we needed to be. From there, we were able to just make plays.”
Capitalizing onopportunities provided by the defense, Lee pounded his way through gaps along the offensive line, wearing down Gonzaga’s defense before breaking free for the go-ahead 32-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. As Lee helped chew out the remaining time on the clock, the Falcons prevented Gonzaga’s offensive playmakers from getting downfield, ultimately holding the Eagles to a season-low 195 yards and forcing two turnovers.
“We got embarrassed in every phase of the game last week, so before today’s game, I told these guys, regardless of the final score, I want to know if they were still with us or if they had already thrown in the towel for the season,” Milloy said. “I guess we got our answer.”