The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) has a long history of football excellence, and the 2018 championship game was no exception.
No. 2 Gonzaga College High School defeated No. 1 DeMatha Catholic High School, 46-43, in the title game at Catholic University of America on Sunday night thanks to three lead changes in the final 60 seconds and a game-winning Hail Mary.
After allowing DeMatha to race out to a 20-point lead, the Purple Eagles scored in the second quarter on a one-yard rushing touchdown. Dean Engram, son of Baltimore Ravens’ WR coach Bobby Engram, caught a 35-yard pass to score again for Gonzaga, closing the deficit to just six at 20-14. DeMatha rushed in another touchdown and intercepted Gonzaga’s next pass before entering the half at 26-14.
Both powerhouses scored a touchdown in the third, leaving the teams to fight until the very end of the fourth quarter in order determine the 2018 championship. That's when things got extra weird.
With 39 seconds left, Gonzaga's Sam Sweeney caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Williams to give the Eagles a 40-36 lead.
But on the ensuing kickoff DeMatha senior Dominic Logan-Nealy returned the kick to the end zone, giving DeMatha a 43-40 lead with just 15 seconds left.
Gonzaga would get another crack at the title, and they did not let it go to waste. Williams hurled a desperation pass to the end zone with no time remaining. Eagles' receiver John Marshall got his hands on the pass and snagged the game-winning touchdown catch to give Gonzaga the stunning 46-43 win.
The winners immediately rushed to celebrate with their student section, but the protective fencing separating the two was ultimately torn down.
The WCAC champions end the year 9-3. Head Coach Randy Trivers emotionally addressed his troops after their battle, reminding them that Gonzaga won their first title on Catholic University of America’s field:
DeMatha ended its season 8-3.