The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is wide open this season, but Good Counsel needs a win Friday against DeMatha to remain in the hunt for a fifth consecutive title. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Though last week’s 30-20 loss to Gonzaga wasn’t Good Counsel’s first loss of the season, Falcons senior linebacker/safety Kobie Walker admits that the agony after that defeat lingered a bit longer. The last time Good Counsel lost a game in Washington Catholic Athletic Conference play was in October 2010, before Walker and most of the current roster were competing in the varsity ranks.

“Every loss is big, to us at least,” Walker said. “We take losses very seriously and yeah, the loss to Gonzaga did affect us, and it took some time to get over it.”

But by Monday, when the No. 7 Falcons took the field again for practice, Coach Bob Milloy didn’t need to say much to turn his team’s focus from the past to the present. Not with the Falcons traveling to face top-ranked WCAC rival DeMatha for a much-anticipated matchup.

Likewise, the Stags know better than to focus on Good Counsel’s rare defeat. The bigger emphasis for DeMatha has been making the preparations necessary to snap its own four-game losing streak to the Falcons.

“It’s a big game for us, and there’s no denying that,” Stags Coach Elijah Brooks said. “Good Counsel has had our number for the last few years, and they are the gauge for this league.”

The Stags talented senior class hopes to finish their careers by taking the title Good Counsel has held for four years. (Nathan Bickell for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

The outcome of Friday’s game greatly rests on the play at the line of scrimmage. Both Good Counsel, led by two-way lineman Sam Mustipher, and DeMatha, buoyed by defensive end Deonte Holden, possess impact players capable of dictating a team’s offensive flow.

Though Good Counsel is expected to be without top defensive lineman Jesse Aniebonam (sore neck), the Falcons will still look to disturb DeMatha quarterback John Lovett, who was sacked five times in last week’s win against St. John’s.

Offensively, a key for the Falcons will be eliminating mistakes and building on some of the balance they displayed in the second half of last week’s loss, when backup quarterback Andres Castillo and junior wideout Keon Paye connected for two touchdowns, adding another element to the Falcons’ run-oriented offense.

“We weren’t fired up and on the same page early, and Gonzaga took advantage of it,” Walker said. “We can’t get down like that again. But even with the loss and injuries, we know we’re ready to bounce back and get it done. Any game against DeMatha is always about who wants it more.”