In the waning seconds of a game soaked with Good Counsel’s homecoming pageantry, flooded with the intensity of a timeless rivalry and drenched in a second half’s worth of rain, it seemed improbable the game-winning touchdown could be scored with such little complication.
Yet as the final minute wound down around him and DeMatha rushed to set up opposite him, quarterback Andres Castillo pushed straight ahead for a simple two-yard carry — one that lifted No. 3 Good Counsel to a 21-14 win in Olney and to the top of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference standings.
It was an unpredictably predictable play, exactly to be expected in a game defined by the unexpected from the time Penn State Coach James Franklin landed near Dancel Field in a helicopter beforehand. He came to see the big-name recruits peppering each sideline. What he and a handful of other Football Bowl Subdivision coaches saw instead was a little bit of everything and a lot of Falcons sophomore running back Mohamed Ibrahim.
Ibrahim isn’t the Falcons’ starter, but the backup to Jonathon Lee, the hero of Good Counsel’s win over then-No. 1 Gonzaga last week. But Lee was too banged up to play Friday night, as tested through a few first-quarter plays, so Ibrahim took the carries.
The 5-foot-7 sophomore bounced off defenders as often as he bounced around them, at one point carrying one defender nearly seven yards into the end zone.
Ibrahim provided Good Counsel’s first two touchdowns and finished with 23 carries for 153 yards.
“He runs so strong,” fullback Jonathan Wanat said. “He’s coming off the bench, he’s not even the starter, and he stepped up big time. He’s only a sophomore, and there’s only more great things to come from him.”
Wanat surprised the Stags to set up Castillo’s touchdown, finding space up the middle on “the only play that goes to the fullback,” dashing 23 yards with less than a minute to play.
Good Counsel (5-1, 2-0 WCAC) needed late heroics because No. 8 DeMatha (3-3, 1-1 WCAC) provided some of its own. The Stags blocked a Good Counsel punt and field goal in the fourth quarter to earn potential game-tying possessions. Then, with his team trailing by eight with less than five minutes to play, the Stags’ Lorenzo Harrison leapt over the wall at the goal line — so high he was carried by the scrum into the end zone — to pull DeMatha within two. Then Beau English hit Anthony McFarland, the Stags’ stout, bruising back, who won a jump ball and made a catch falling into the corner of the end zone for a two-point conversion to tie the game.
“I said during the course of the game, there’s going to be ups and downs, lows and highs,” Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy said. “They’re going to have great plays because they’re good, and we’re going to have great plays. . . . They’re a great team, and unfortunately we’re going to have to deal with them down the line. So it’s just an exciting exhibition game.”