It’s championship weekend in the WCAC and the stakes could not be higher. After battling it out in the DC area over the past three months, only four teams have earned the right to play for a title. At 7 PM Friday night at PG Sports & Learning Complex, St. Mary’s Ryken will take on Archbishop Carroll in the Metro League Championship. Then, Tuesday night at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, DeMatha takes on Good Counsel in what should be a Capital League championship for the ages. These games will showcase some of the DMV’s most talented players. See our preview of the two games here:
St. Mary’s Ryken vs. Archbishop Carroll
St. Mary’s Ryken will head into Friday’s game with a 6-5 record, including a 4-0 conference record. At first glance, Ryken’s 6-5 record doesn’t seem especially impressive. However, given how their season began, their march to the championship game is astounding. Ryken began the season 0-5 and it appeared that 2023 was a lost season for the Knights. Since their 42-6 loss to Good Counsel on September 29, they have gone 6-0, averaging 35.6 PPG and outscoring opponents by an average margin of 26.1 points. Paul VI gave them their toughest game in weeks in round 1 of the playoffs last Saturday and they still won 26-13.
As for Archbishop Carroll, they are coming off an epic 27-21 OT win against Ireton last weekend. Down 20 heading into the fourth quarter, star running back T.K. Davis and QB Nate Green Jr. flipped the switch using their running game. Davis finished the day with 139 yards and a touchdown, and Green Jr. scored two rushing touchdowns. The intensity of last week’s game may serve them well this week against Ryken…Are they more battle-tested now? On the flip side, they may be more worn out from the Ireton game, whereas the Knights were able to win more comfortably against Paul VI.
What are the keys to the game for each side? For St. Mary’s Ryken, the answer is simple: Let quarterback Davon Trowell do his thing. Trowell is a dual threat in the air and on the ground, and when he is on, he is tough to stop. Trowell’s cannon arm was on full display last weekend when he threw up a long 46-yard touchdown to Dom Dorwart that put the game out of reach for Paul VI. That kind of passing ability coupled with Trowell’s running ability will be tough for Carroll to stop.
If Caroll’s offense can score points, the Lions will have a chance on Saturday’s game. This is because their defense has been excellent all year long. The Lions defense has recorded 27 sacks this season, compared to the national average of 12.5. The offense, on the other hand, has only scored 22 touchdowns and averaged 14.8 ppg, both below the national average. Green Jr. and the Lions’ offense will need to build off some of the momentum they created last week in their thrilling overtime win. If they are able to do that and the defense continues to hold strong, they should be in this game until the very end.
WCAC Football: Metro League – 2023 Tournament
DeMatha vs. Good Counsel
This one is gonna be good. The DeMatha Stags will take on the Good Counsel Falcons in a rematch of their thrilling game on October 14, which the Falcons won 35-28 in overtime. While both teams obviously have everything to play for, the Stags will no doubt be thirsty for revenge after Good Counsel ended their bid for a perfect season. The two rivals both sit at 9-1 on the season, and both teams are coming off 18-point wins in Round 1.
This game is loaded with some of the nation’s top prospects. And all of these prospects should have an impact on Saturday’s championship game. When looking at what makes DeMatha so good, you have to start with their stud running back Bud Coombs. Coombs has been terrorizing defenses all year on the ground. He is ranked as the DMV’s #1 unsigned offensive recruit. His speed and shiftiness are simply top-notch. If the Good Counsel defense can somehow neutralize him, they will be in good shape. Luckily for Good Counsel, they have plenty of star power to do that. Safety Faheem Delane is the first that comes to mind as the #1 unsigned recruit in the DMV. Delane is a tackling machine, and his physical dominance sets the tone for the rest of the defense.
The X-factor of this game is how the offenses of both teams perform. If Stags’ QB Denzel Gardner can provide their offense with a strong passing game in addition to Coombs’ running game, they may be able to find some cracks in the dominant Counsel defense. The receivers gaining separation will be a big part of this. Against a great team like Good Counsel, having multiple ways to move the ball will be key. The same goes for the Falcons. 3-star QB Frankie Weaver has led the offense to an outstanding season with star receivers like Elijah Moore. And if University of Wisconsin commit Dilin Jones can continue with his strong running back play, DeMatha will be in for a challenge.
The bottom line is that something has to give in this game. As we saw earlier in the year, the teams are very evenly-matched. They have both dominated most of their opponents throughout the entire season. But nothing will come easy in this game. An unstoppable force will meet an immovable object, and only one will prevail. This rivalry is ready for its next epic chapter.