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Gonzaga QB Caleb Williams commits to play in 2021 All-American Bowl

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Chad Ricardo/NBC Sports Washington

Gonzaga QB Caleb Williams commits to play in 2021 All-American Bowl

Gonzaga quarterback Caleb Williams has committed to play in the 2021 All-American Bowl.

Williams, a 5-star recruit, is largely considered the No. 1 ranked dual-threat QB in the nation. The 2018-19 Gatorade State Player of the Year (D.C.) is no stranger to big games. He led Gonzaga to the WCAC championship game as a freshman before helping the Eagles win the title as a sophomore. He’s had his eyes set on testing his talents in the bowl for some time now.

“I’ve always watched the game,” said Williams. “I always saw people like Trevor [Lawrence]. I always watched the highlights -- like Adrian Peterson being there -- so being able to join that family means a lot.”

Williams and his father attended the lead-up to the 2020 All-American Bowl earlier this month, where he had the opportunity to meet current and future participants. While there, he witnessed fellow DMV 5-star standout Bryan Bresee be honored as the national defensive student athlete of the year. Williams and others in his class then took in the game and all of its festivities from field-level. With the option of committing to play in any of the major all-star events, Williams chose the All-American Bowl because he feels participants were able to separate themselves from the competition.

“I chose the All-American Bowl because NBC and Adidas provided a stellar experience when I showed up.” said Williams. “Both sides were real professional, and I want to be a part of that.”

Williams was chosen for the game by the All-American Bowl selection committee and 247Sports. Only 100 of the top student athletes nationally will have such an opportunity. But for Williams, playing in the game has a meaning that stretches far past the white lines that outline even the largest of stadiums. He hopes his accomplishments affect more than just the game -- he wants to help the next wave of student athletes here at home.

“I believe success opens up doors for others and that’s really all I’m here for,” said Williams. “I’m here to have a successful career and open up doors for other kids in the DMV, because we don’t get as much credit as we really should.”

The twenty-first edition of the All-American Bowl will be played on January 2, 2021 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

DCSAA boys semi-finals preview: Wilson, Archbishop Carroll, Gonzaga, Coolidge fight for title

DCSAA boys semi-finals preview: Wilson, Archbishop Carroll, Gonzaga, Coolidge fight for title

The 2020 DCSAA boys state semi-finals tip-off Friday at 5 p.m. with a pair of games matching DCIAA contenders with WCAC foes. 

Here’s a breakdown of the match-ups:

No. 3 Wilson (23-4) vs. No. 10 Archbishop Carroll (19-14) 
Time: 5 p.m.

Archbishop Carroll is a 10-seed, but don’t be fooled — the seeding is not indicative as to how good this team actually is. Playing in the WCAC, one of the top conferences in the country, can wreak havoc on a team's win/loss record, while at the same time, prepare them for tournaments such as this one. 

The Lions roared past their first two opponents, defeating Maret 46-37 in the first round before convincingly beating DCIAA champion, two-seed Roosevelt Wednesday night. The final margin was 71-58, but the game was not as close as the score might indicate.

The Lions are a physical bunch; they play with size, length and depth. Tegra Izay and Kristopher King lead a group of bigs capable of dominating on both ends of the floor. Defensively, they serve as adequate rim protectors while on offense, they do a stellar job finishing at the rim. Guard Cory Barnes is capable of getting hot at any moment and if Rob Lawson can continue to give the Lions quality minutes, Carroll will be difficult for anyone to beat.

Wilson is playing their best basketball of the season at the right time of the year. The Tigers have won 14 of their last 15 games and are 21-2 in their last 23. 

Coach Angelo Hernandez leads a group of student-athletes who may be young but are ready to compete. A coachable bunch, Hernandez and staff are able to make pertinent strategy adjustments in-game, thereby allowing the Tigers to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. 

Wilson has the pedigree to go all the way. Two years ago, the Tigers defeated St. John’s to win the state title and last season, they would have repeated, had it not been for a last-second 3-pointer by Dean Mazlish that lifted Sidwell to the throne. On Wednesday evening, Wilson avenged that loss, eliminating the Quakers 42-39.

Eric Morgan Jr. is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Miasiah Brown embodies the versatility needed to provide Wilson with whatever the Tigers need to be successful and senior Phil Carter may be the most under-appreciated big in the district.

All that said, for Wilson to get back to the DCSAA final, they’ll need a huge game from DCIAA player of the year, Darren Buchanan Jr. The sophomore sensation can score, pass and defend with equal parts proficiency. He is their emotional leader and the setter of the Tigers' tone. 

Buchanan will need to be involved early and often if Wilson is to challenge for their second title in three years.

Bold Prediction: 

Wilson may be the 3-seed, but I’m rollin’ with 10-seed Carroll. The Lions will ultimately have too much size, too much experience and too much hunger for a youthful Wilson squad whose days of greatness are likely a season away. 

Coach Powell has been building something special at Carroll and on Friday night, look for the fruits of his labor to come to fruition. 

Lions win a low scoring affair, 46-41.

No. 1 Gonzaga (23-10) vs. No. 5 Coolidge  (17-9)
Time: 9 p.m.

Coach Derrick Washington’s Coolidge Colts have been on the precipice of realizing their full potential all season long. After losing their first three games, Coolidge found their rhythm and subsequently, their identity. The Colts upset of St. John’s Wednesday night may have been a shock to most in the DMV, but those donning Coolidge orange and blue, weren’t the least bit surprised.

The Colts are paced by DCIAA scoring leader Kyle Gaskins. The sophomore guard averaged over 20 ppg during the regular season and has raised his output even higher in the playoffs. As dangerous a scorer as Gaskins is, he’s not the Colts only weapon — senior Chase Cook can score the ball in myriad ways and forwards Chris Moses and Stephaun Walker pose similar threats on the interior.

Coolidge enters Friday’s contest well in-tune with public perception — that they are a decisive underdog to top-seeded Gonzaga and have little chance of advancing. They are aware what the experts think, they simply don’t care.

The Eagles made quick work of Friendship Tech, beating the Titans by a final score of 90-54.  There was worry that Gonzaga may have entered this tournament still reeling from emotional let down of their loss in the WCAC semis. Much of that concern is now gone.

Three years ago, Chris Lykes led the Eagles in capturing the DCSAA crown. This season, Terrance Williams and Myles Stute will look to do the same. 

Many of the young men on this team have been together for years. The Eagles are a senior-laden squad that will lean on their experience and look to get out to an early lead on the Colts.

Bold Prediction:

Coach Washington has Coolidge moving in the right direction and with two more seasons of a Gaskins/Walker duo, they may very well win the 21’ and 22’ DCSAA state championships.

But not this year.

The Eagles senior class appreciates the time they’ve spent together and the opportunity to compete for Coach Turner. They will look to honor him by playing the game the right way and advancing to the DCSAA final. 

Gonzaga wins going away, 70-60.

The DCSAA semi-final games will be played at McDonough arena on the campus of Georgetown University. 

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DeMatha takes home WCAC title with 70-56 win over Paul VI

DeMatha takes home WCAC title with 70-56 win over Paul VI

The senior-laden DeMatha Stags defeated Paul VI 70-56 to capture the 2019-2020 WCAC basketball crown. Led by Earl Timberlake’s 21 points, the Stags pulled away late to capture their second title in three years.

DeMatha entered the final with an overall record of 29-3, but one of their losses came at the hands of the Panthers, 74-65, on February 16th. Monday night, they were determined not to allow recent history to repeat itself. 

The Stags seized the lead early in the first quarter and each time PVI got close, a DeMatha upperclassmen made a big play. 

“Our seniors stepped up for us,” DeMatha coach Mike Jones said. “Obviously everybody is going to talk about Earl [ Timberlake] and Hunter [Dickinson], but we had five seniors who pushed us through all the tough times we had this year. It was a roller coaster ride, but our five seniors stepped up for us all night and really all season long.”

Undoubtedly, DeMatha won as a team on the big stage provided by American University, but it was Earl Timberlake’s performance that stole the show. On a night where the lights were the brightest, Timberlake dazzled the raucous Bender arena crowd, with a virtuoso performance sure to go down in the annals of WCAC lure. 

Not only did he score 41 points, he grabbed nine rebounds and tallied five assists, routinely setting his teammates up in position to make open shots. 

“I'm a team player, I do whatever needs to be done to win,” Timberlake said. “I don’t care about the stats, I just want to win at the end of the day.”

Timberlake got it done on both ends of the floor. His winning efforts included five blocked shots. Serving as a defensive anchor for the Stags, he protected the rim on countless occasions, routinely swatting potential PVI buckets from the sky.

“He’s a big-time player and the I don’t even know if the University of Miami realizes how good of a player he is. I’ve said it and ill keep saying it, there’s not a better defender in High School or College basketball than Earl Timberlake right now,” Jones said. “He’s gonna play basketball a long time.”

Late in the second half, PVI went on a run. After trailing by double-digits, the Panthers' backcourt began to heat up. Trevor Keels knocked down a jumper and Jeremy Roach’s floater cut the Stags lead to 53-50 midway through the fourth. 

With all the momentum on the side of the Panther’s — the game suddenly hanging in the balance, Timberlake responded. The Hurricanes commit hit a contested three-pointer from the elbow over the outstretched hand of his defender. After a DeMatha stop, forward Jordan Hawkins pushed the ball to the middle of the floor before centering it to Timberlake at the top of the key. With three seconds remaining on the shot clock, the senior took a single dribble to his right before pulling up for what would be a three-point dagger.

“I had been struggling with my three-point shot against them, but I never failed to trust the work I put in the mornings and late nights,” Timberlake said. “I took those shots and believed in myself.”

DeMatha’s coach believed in him as well. Jones noted he’s done this entire career.

“This was the same thing he did as a sophomore. We won against Gonzaga behind him hitting big shots for us and getting big shots on the other end.”

Jordan Hawkins scored 17 points and Michigan commit Hunter Dickinson added 10 points and five rebounds for the Stags. Duke commit Jeremy Roach and Trevor Keels paced PVI with 22 points each. 

The victory is DeMatha’s ninth WCAC championship since 2000.

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