Outside of the state of California, this Washington Catholic Athletic Conference opener was about as good as high school football matchups get: Gonzaga’s offense, led by junior sensation Caleb Williams at quarterback, and Good Counsel’s feared defense, which has stifled every offense in its path except California powerhouse St. John Bosco.
As it turned out, both teams needed both of their units. The defenses that dominated regulation ceded their ground. Quarterbacks and running backs had free rein. The teams combined for just nine plays of double-digit yardage in regulation, and then they scored nine straight overtime touchdowns on an average of three plays. The starting point never moved in from the 25-yard line, and neither coach called for a two-point conversion.
It seemed they might play all night.
Finally, Good Counsel’s Kris Jenkins was in the right position. On fourth and 11, he broke up a desperation pass with Williams under pressure to seal the victory and take the Falcons to 6-1.
“It just came down to who was willing to push themselves to the end, who wanted it more,” Jenkins said afterward, still out of breath.
Sy’Veon Wilkerson, Chase Williams, Sean Aaron and Lejay Hatcher each rushed for an overtime touchdown for Good Counsel, which also scored on a 25-yard pass from Williams to Wilkerson.
Meanwhile, Caleb Williams carried Gonzaga (6-1), scoring all four overtime touchdowns on keepers. Good Counsel Coach Andy Stefanelli said both defenses looked exhausted at the end of the night, and then there was this: “Of course, their quarterback, Caleb, started running all over the place. He’s a problem when he gets loose.”
Williams, who threw the Hail Mary pass to beat DeMatha in a similarly wild WCAC title game last season, emerged from the Gonzaga locker room after Friday’s game and received hugs and pats on the back. Asked about the final play, he said, “They did a good job on defense in that last overtime, and then, you know . . .” The game finished the sentence for him.
“It hurts,” he said, and also, a moment later, “It’s a thrill.”