Every day, DeMatha senior defensive lineman Emmett Laws rides the MARC train for four hours, traveling from Perryville, Md., to the Stags’ campus in Hyattsville, for Friday nights like this.
He gets home at 9 p.m. and doesn’t fret, because it means he gets to play a role in this rematch of last year’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game with a chance to avenge a loss to St. John’s; it means he can be on the line for one final play in overtime, with the Cadets needing just two yards to even the score.
When the Stags needed him most, he was there, helping stuff the Cadets’ final rush at the 1-yard line to deliver DeMatha a 21-14 victory in Landover.
“I was just thinking, ‘I’ve got to stop them,’ ” Laws said. “All the train rides, everything I put into this, it had to happen.”
Was it worth it for a win like this?
Both the No. 4 Stags (7-1) and No. 5 Cadets (4-4) entered the fall with new complexions. Last year’s Stags defense, which held opponents to 5.4 points per game, remained staunch, though the passing attack improved under third-year varsity starter Denzel Gardner. St. John’s, meanwhile, diversified its backfield, with the running back trio of Da’Jaun Riggs, Cinqué Blount and Breyon Williams being described by Coach Pat Ward as “thunder, then lightning, then thunder again.”