It had taken just more than four minutes for momentum to swing decidedly to No. 13 DeMatha on Saturday afternoon. Two touchdowns had pulled the Stags even with top-ranked Good Counsel and the atmosphere seemed ripe for an upset.
It is in those moments, however, that star players earn that billing — and the Falcons have plenty of stars.
Junior Dorian O’Daniel broke off a 58-yard touchdown, Kendall Fuller had an interception at the 2-yard line that set up another score, and All-Met Stefon Diggs had key catches to keep scoring drives alive as Good Counsel downed rival DeMatha, 35-21, at Northwestern High in Hyattsville.
O’Daniel, Fuller and Diggs all have at least 10 scholarship offers — with Diggs considered one of the top 10 recruits in the country.
“We had some breakdowns at the beginning of the game,” Diggs said. “Me and Kendall . . . we made a decision we got to take control of this game. They’re rivals. They’re going to play their best game against us.”
Diggs kept Good Counsel (6-0, 2-0 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) in front during a first half in which its offense struggled to move the ball.
DeMatha (3-2, 1-1) held the Falcons to three first downs and just 79 yards in the first two quarters. But they made the mistake of punting the ball to Diggs in the second quarter, and he returned it 60 yards for a touchdown to put the Falcons in front 14-6 at the break.
Good Counsel pushed the lead to 21-6 before DeMatha struck back.
Roman Williams pulled the Stags back into the game when he hit Chris King for an 84-yard touchdown. On the next drive, Williams again came up big, connecting with Virginia recruit Michael Moore for a 10-yard score, then finding Penn State recruit Brent Wilkerson on the two-point conversion to tie the score.
With the outcome suddenly in the balance, Good Counsel’s top players delivered.
Diggs pulled in a 19-yard reception on third and nine to keep a drive alive, and two plays later O’Daniel, substituting for an injured Wes Brown, broke free for the 58-yard touchdown. Then, with DeMatha facing fourth and goal, Fuller picked off a pass at the 2-yard line and returned it to the Stags’ 25 with 5 minutes 22 seconds left in the game. On fourth and 11, Diggs again hauled in a pass — this one for 22 yards — to set up O’Daniel’s one-yard plunge that sealed it.
“We got big-time players who will come up in big-time games,” Fuller said. “Whenever they need us to come up, we step up.”