DeMatha Head Coach Elijah Brooks on WCAC Title: ‘I’m So Proud Of Them’

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 11.22.25 AMThe 2014 DeMatha Stags football team proved they had the heart of a champion last Saturday when they came back to defeat Good Counsel in the WCAC title game. An impressive feat by a collective group of impressive young men. Winning back tp back WCAC championships means a lot to Stag head coach Elijah Brooks, but this team showed tremendous heart all year, and that’s what stands out for Brooks. His words here:

I’ve won many games and my share of Championships but this one is definitely near the top. The game Saturday was another example of why this team was special in their own right. You never want to start a championship game the way we did. Good Counsel was able to capitalize on multiple 3 & Outs and ended the 1st quarter with a 14-0 lead. Our guys did not panic and our defense came up with an interception by DJ Turner that sparked a comeback. We got on the board with a tough run by Khory Spruill making it 14-7. After a defensive stop, Keegan Meyer booted a 44-yard field goal making it 14-10. The defense again forced a punt. Beau English connected with Anthony McFarland on a nice throw to the corner of the end zone putting us up 17-14 at halftime. We knew Good Counsel wouldn’t go away quietly. They marched the ball down after halftime and went up 20-14. A blocked extra point by DeAndre Kelly proved to be a key play later in the game. Our offense converted on several 3rd and 4th down plays keeping the drive alive. Our line protected and opened up holes for our backs. Beau English then snuck the ball in from the 1-yard-line putting us up 24-20. We had several important defensive stops and a crucial forced fumble and recovery by DJ Turner and Darryl Marshall that ultimately sealed the game for us. This game truly showed the heart of our program and I’m so proud of them.

WCAC Championship Preview: DeMatha vs Good Counsel

So much hard work, years of intense effort for some players, culminates Saturday afternoon for many players when DeMatha takes on Good Counsel for the Washington Area Catholic Conference Championship. If it seems like DeMatha plays Good Counsel for the title every year, that comes with reason: This will mark the ninth time in the last 11 years the Stags and Falcons will fight for the title.
What makes this year different? For the Stags, the 2014 team has a very special chance to defend their 2013 title. Last year’s team had a lot of senior leadership and stars all over the field, and they marched to an undefeated WCAC record and the conference title. The 2014 team was younger, and while still packed with talent, the Stags got off to a slow start with some tough non-conference losses early in the season.

But like all great DeMatha teams, the boys worked hard, and got better as the season continued. Leaders emerged on both sides of the ball, and DeMatha landed 17 players on various all-conference teams. Now, these players have a chance to put another trophy in the Stags case, a chance to put their team in with historic champions before them.

In October, the Falcons gave the Stags their only WCAC loss. The game was tight, and Good Counsel won it 21-14. DeMatha will likely remember that come Saturday afternoon.

It should be a terrific game. Go Stags!

DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks Breaks Down WCAC Semifinal Win over Gonzaga

Screen shot 2014-11-17 at 11.40.04 AMBefore we look ahead to the WCAC Championship Game Saturday at Byrd Stadium between DeMatha and Good Counsel, let’s take one look back at the great team effort the Stags produced last week in a 21-14 come-from-behind win over Gonzaga. DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks talked with IDFB and broke down how his Stags fought their way to the big win:

Our team showed a lot of fight and determination. Gonzaga came out and executed very well in the first half. Outside of a fantastic punt return touchdown by DJ Turner, we didn’t have much to be excited about. At halftime we didn’t panic, but explained that this is where DeMatha teams come together and find a way to make one more play than our opponents. In the second half our defense was phenomenal, not allowing a score, just as they did in the regular season match up against Gonzaga. Offensively our execution was much better. A huge touchdown strike to Tino Ellis from Beau English and a more consistent run game proved to be the difference in the game. I’m so proud of this team and the grit they have shown to get to this point. They have grown up in a hurry and we look forward to putting our best foot forward in the Championship game this Saturday. Go Stags!

Playoff Preview: Coach Brooks Breaks Down DeMatha vs Gonzaga

Screen shot 2014-11-14 at 10.50.17 AMSunday marks the beginning of the 2014 WCAC Playoffs, and if the Stags are going to defend their 2013 title, they must face a tough Gonzaga squad. DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks provides a preview of Sunday’s action:

This Sunday we face a very good Gonzaga team again but this time the stakes are much higher. Gonzaga has a very good quarterback who is the leader of a very explosive offense. Their two running backs compliment each other well and have dynamic wide receivers who can score from anywhere on the field. We have to get off the field defensively or their offensive line will wear you down. Offensively we have to limit turnovers and control the line of scrimmage. Bottom line is everyone in our locker room knows what time it is, win or go home. We are working hard to make sure our season is extended one more week. Go Stags!

Screen shot 2014-11-14 at 10.45.57 AMSome of the Gonzaga players to watch include star running back Tyree Randolph and Virginia-commit start quarterback Nick Johns. The DeMatha defense certainly has its hands full Sunday.

The Stags seem ready for the challenge.

“Our mindset is to get this done and win another championship for those guys who came before us and set up DeMatha as a program,” DeMatha senior defensive back Tyler Green told The Washington Post. “The last Gonzaga game showed us we needed to buckle down and see who’s ready for war, and we believe we’re ready.”

Go Stags!

Bye Week Blitz: DeMatha In Strong Position For Stretch Run

As everybody gets ready to celebrate Halloween, let’s take a quick look at the DeMatha football team eight weeks into the year. The Stags get the weekend off to rest before the closing weeks of the WCAC season. Below are the current WCAC standings, with DeMatha firmly in second place and in good positioning for the playoffs.

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Some more interesting reading during the bye weekend, check out this DC Sports Fan profile of possible WCAC MVPs. Notice that both DeMatha running back Anthony McFarland and quarterback Beau English land on the list. An excerpt on McFarland:

With power, speed, and elusive quickness in his repertoire, the young sophomore has taken the WCAC by storm this year. His 1034 yards leads the conference.

And if you’re looking for a bit of fun, check out this pic of former Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George striking a famous pose in the locker room with the Stags after the big win over Gonzaga.

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Game 8 Recap: DeMatha 28 Gonzaga 20

Screen shot 2014-10-28 at 4.40.06 PMAfter an impressive come from behind win over Gonzaga, Stags head coach Elijah Brooks had a lot to say about his team. Needless to say Brooks is proud, but could this win spring the Stags to another deep WCAC playoff run? Here’s Brooks take:

I was truly proud of my kids and the way they responded to adversity Saturday against Gonzaga. We started the game the way you want by getting a defensive stop on the first possession and scoring quickly in two plays. But a lack of execution on both sides of the ball had us trailing 20-7 at half. Our kids never wavered and had the confidence that they would be able to turn the tide in the game. We did exactly what we discussed at halftime. It was imperative to score in the opening drive of the 3rd quarter, get a defensive stop, and score again. We were confident if we got to that point, our grit and mental toughness would carry us through to victory. We go into a much needed bye week with momentum and look forward to finish out conference play against Carroll next week for Homecoming and Senior Night next Saturday at 2:30pm!

Great win for Brooks and the Stags. Rest up boys!

Some good coverage here from DC Sports Fan!

What A Win! DeMatha Surges Past Gonzaga 28-20!

Down 13 points at halftime to Gonzaga on Saturday, DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks challenged his team to put forth a better effort in the second half. The Stags responded. Led by powerful running from Lorenzo Harrison, DeMatha scored 21 straight points en route to a 28-20 come from behind victory.

Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 10.05.35 AM“With all the starters we lost, we know people have been counting us out,” Harrison told the Washington Post. Harrison finished the game with 155 yards and two touchdowns.

“All that matters is we know we can get the job done, and that’s what we did.”

The win against Gonzaga showcases a DeMatha defense improving as the year goes on. The Eagles came into Saturday’s game with arguably the best offense in the WCAC, and after a sloppy start, the Stags slowed the Eagles to a crawl.

“As a defense, we realized that the only reason they were making plays was because we were missing the little stuff, like routine tackles,” D.J. Turner said after the win.

DeMatha’s victory puts the Stags alone in second place in the WCAC, a game ahead of Gonzaga and one behind Good Counsel. Lots of football left.

Go Stags!