High School

4 must-see DMV high school football games

Chad Ricardo

4 must-see DMV high school football games

This weekend is full of great high school football in the DMV. Here's four to watch: 

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 14 Georgetown Prep
When: 2:00 p.m. Saturday
Where: Gonzaga College High School, Washington D.C. 

In 2018, Coach Randy Trivers’ Gonzaga Eagles snuck up on a couple of teams en route to winning the WCAC crown in what was arguably the greatest high school football game of all time. 

In 2019, the Eagles aren’t sneaking up on anybody. Gonzaga is off to a 2-0 start with impressive victories over big-time programs American Heritage (FLA) at home and Don Bosco Prep (NJ) on the road. 

Georgetown Prep, the defending IAC, followed up a victory at Woodberry Forrest by falling at Loyola Blakefield 37-27 last week. On Friday they meet in the 16th annual Jesuit Gridiron Classic. Last year, Gonzaga handed the Little Hoyas their only loss of the season; a 30-0 win at home.

No. 2 Quince Orchard vs. No. 19 Damascus
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Quince Orchard High School, Gaithersburg MD

A backyard brawl of epic proportions, No. 19 Damascus travels to Quince Orchard to do battle with the Cougars. Quince Orchard, the defending 4a champs look to be in midseason form following a week one shellacking of Wootton. 

The last time we saw Damascus, their 53-game win streak was snapped by Oakdale. They look to make a statement with all the eyes of Montgomery County watching. The Cougars haven’t defeated the Stormin’ Hornets since 2013.

Look for nationally top-ranked recruit DT Bryan Bresee and Damascus to control the defensive line of scrimmage early. With C Ryan Linthicum leading a stout offensive line, Damascus should have success running the ball.  The Cougars though have an advantage at the skilled positions. Kent State commit Marquez Cooper is the high school version of the human-highlight reel and dual-threat QB Brian Plummer and will look to expose the Swarmin’ Hornets with his arm and legs. 

No. 13 Friendship Collegiate Academy vs. No. 24 H.D. Woodson 
When: 5:00 p.m. Saturday
Where: RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.

The Kickoff Classic allows student-athletes of the District to play football on the highest of stages; the hallowed grounds of historic RFK stadium. 

The primetime match up of the event pairs bitter rivals H.D. Woodson and Friendship Collegiate Academy. Also known as the Ward 7 “Clash of the Titans”, this is the game all of Washington D.C. looks forward to annually. 

Friendship, defending DCSAA Class AA champion, lost their opener on the road to North Allegheny (Pa.) but have since made quick work out of consecutive DCSAA foes, including a 41-14 victory last week against Ballou.

H.D. dropped their first two, but their win/loss record doesn’t tell the complete story. In week one they fell to perennial powerhouse Martinsburg (WV) and in week two, they mounted a feverish comeback, only to lose in the closing moments to Steubenville (OH). Both games were played on the road. 

Starting slow is nothing new to the Warriors. Last season they began 0-3 before reeling off 10 consecutive victories, including the “Turkey Bowl”, their conference championship. Unfortunately for H.D., two of their losses came at the hands of the Knights. Friendship seems to have the Warriors number, winning their last 5 head-to-head bouts.

Dunbar vs. No. 16 Landon
When: 6:00 p.m. Friday
Where: Dunbar High School, Washington D.C.

Had you inquired three weeks ago, the general consensus would have been to mark this one in the win column for Landon before they even stepped on the field. An annual IAC contender taking on a D.C. public school predicted to finish in the middle of the pack, this one looked like a no-brainer.

Three weeks later and much has changed. Landon fell in their road opener to Delbarton 34-27, and Dunbar has looked electric through two weeks, including last Friday’s 46-6 drubbing of defending DCSAA Class-A champion, Bell. 

Landon will have the physical advantages up front and should be able to run the ball at will. Dunbar looks to spread them out and use their multi-receiver sets to find mismatches all over the field. 

Other Games of Note:

No. 6 Woodgrove vs. Tuscarora, 7 p.m. Friday 
No. 17 Northwest vs. No. 21 Paint Branch, 6:30 p.m. Friday
Bullis vs. Archbishop Spalding, 7 p.m. Friday
St. Mary’s Ryken at Bishop McNamara, 2 p.m. Saturday 


Good Counsel beats Gonzaga to secure spot in WCAC championship

Chad Ricardo

Good Counsel beats Gonzaga to secure spot in WCAC championship

The Good Counsel Falcons flew past the Eagles on Friday night en route to a 44-14 victory, making them the first to secure their seat in the WCAC championship game.

The Falcons set the tone early. Their defense forced a Zaga 3-and-out on the Eagles first possession and Good Counsel followed it up with a Sy’veon Wilkerson touchdown run. That sequence of events would be foreshadowing for what was to occur throughout the night. 

Early in the second quarter, Caleb Williams drove the Eagles down the field, capping off the drive with a spectacular 16-yard scamper. The touchdown gave Gonzaga a 7-6 lead, one that would be short-lived and the only lead they’d have all night.

Wilkerson scored again on the Falcons next possession and quarterback Chase Williams connected with Sean Aaron in the corner of the end zone just before the half, extending Good Counsel’s lead to 20-7 at the break. The Falcons offense, which has struggled at times this season, had found its’ wings.

“The defense and special teams carried us early in the year,” said coach Andy Stefanelli. “We were seeing improvement— it just wasn’t showing up on the scoreboard all the time. Tonight, the offense played great. It all finally came together."

Gonzaga looked to flurry to start the third. They recovered an on-side kick and drove the ball into scoring position. When the Good Counsel defense tightened, the drive stalled ending in a Mitchell Melton sack of Caleb Williams, which forced a turnover on downs.

The Falcons flustered the 5-star quarterback all night. They pressured him relentlessly, blanketed his receivers, which led to coverage sacks and limited the lanes by which he could run.

“Caleb is a great player,” said Stefanelli. “The plan was to try and contain him. We didn’t rush him every time— we sent some blitzes, but because he’s just as dangerous running as he is passing the ball, so we were just focused on containing him."

After a field goal increased the GC lead to 23-7, Mitchell Melton made another big play, this time deflecting a Williams screen pass, which was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Ronnell McCorn.

With the physicality of the Falcons offensive line beginning to wear down the Eagles, Wilkerson ran off-tackle, untouched 25 yards for his 3rd of 4 touchdowns on the night. He attributed his success to the blocking of his line and receivers.

“We played a complete game on offense and I feel good about that,” said Wilkerson.

Good Counsel outscored Gonzaga 24-0 in the decisive third quarter, turning what began as a hard-fought battle into a blow out victory. Few picked the Falcons to win, nonetheless to do so in such a convincing manner. Despite entering the contest with Gonzaga as the higher seed, many pundits predicted the Eagles would fly to the championship game. Few outside of the GC locker room thought they’d advance—a thought that wasn’t overlooked by the Falcons.

“We talked about it all week. We knew nobody believed in us,” said Wilkerson, “nobody has believed in us all year, so we came out to prove everybody wrong again."

Good Counsel will have one more opportunity to silence their doubters; next week in the WCAC championship game.

Why one decorated Georgetown Day track star chose Michigan

Chad Ricardo

Why one decorated Georgetown Day track star chose Michigan

On November 13th, decorated track and field student-athlete Ziyah Holman of Georgetown Day School officially committed to the University of Michigan.

Holman’s athletic achievements and dominance in sport helped her earn 12 scholarship offers in total, including those from Stanford, Harvard and Princeton. Her final four consisted of Clemson, Michigan, Texas A&M and UCLA. Stating that she felt most at home during her visit with the Wolverines, Ziyah will be running with the Maize and Blue.

“I choose Michigan because they have a family-like culture similar to the one here at GDS,” she said. “In speaking with the coach, I know he has my best interest at heart; not just as an athlete, but as a student as well, and I appreciate that."

In her time at GDS, Holman has developed into one of the premier student-athletes of the DCSAA and beyond. A gold medal winner and world record holder for her leg in the 4x400 meter relay at the Pan American u20 championships, Ziyah is also a 2-time D.C. Gatorade student-athlete of the year. She is ranked fifth nationally and first in Washington D.C. in the 400m and is the Hoppers reigning indoor and outdoor track team MVP. 

Ziyah credits her success to being someone who focuses more on the big picture than individual results. “ You have to be someone who loves the sport — more than just getting the times— but also in doing it for your team and doing the work to better yourself," she said.

As a member of the GDS community, teachers, coaches, faculty and much of the student body came out in droves to support Ziyah during her ceremony. A sign of solidarity that wasn’t lost on Holman.

 “Today was amazing. I actually cried because it was so special to me,” said  Holman, “this shows the culture we have here at GDS. I really appreciate everyone who came out”.

The decision to further her academic and athletic pursuits at Michigan does not represent the end of Ziyah’s journey, rather the start of what her mother believes will be the next of many chapters of achievement,

“Bachelors degree, Masters degree, Law School,” said Rashida Holman-Jones while listing what may be next for her daughter, “I’m happy she made a choice that puts academics first and she made it on her own. I want Ziyah to make sure she gets everything she can from her experience at Michigan and that she takes full advantage of her opportunities. She chose the best school possible."