BY CHRIS McMANES — Fifth-ranked DeMatha appeared well on its way to victory Friday night at Marvin F. Wilson Stadium in Landover. Instead, the Stags gave up a late touchdown and lost to No. 13 Good Counsel in overtime, 20-14.
With the loss, DeMatha drops to 4-3 overall and 0-2 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
“We’re usually tougher in those circumstances,” Stags Coach Elijah Brooks said. “We’re usually the ones that come up with the fumble recoveries, come up with the big catch, come up with the big stop. We had a chance to close out the game. Just too many mistakes, and you can’t do it in the WCAC.”
Leading 14-7 with a little over two minutes to play, DeMatha couldn’t stop the Falcons (5-2, 1-1) from marching 70 yards to tie the game. Good Counsel quarterback Kamerun Snell completed all three of his passes on the drive, the final one a 43-yard touchdown to Sy’Veon Wilkerson with 1:13 remaining.
The Stags got the ball first in overtime, starting at the Falcons’ 25-yard line. On fourth-and-six from the 21, Eric Najarian was sacked by Jalen Green. The ball went over to Good Counsel, which found itself facing a third-and-13 when Snell hit Cameron Hart for 23 yards to the DeMatha 5.
The Falcons’ Latrele Palmer ended the game with a 6-yard TD run off right tackle.
“You’ve got to give credit to Coach (Andy) Stefenelli and the Good Counsel team,” Brooks said. “They came out and won a hard-fought game.”
Najarian, making his second career start, was 13 of 22 passing for 165 yards and one score. DeMarcco Hellams caught five passes for 94 yards. His 51-yard reception with 4:59 left in the third quarter put the Stags up, 14-7.
Jermaine Johnson had five receptions for 51 yards, and Dominic Lyles caught three balls for 20 yards. Johnson lamented DeMatha’s inability to execute when the game was on the line.
“We just didn’t make the plays that we needed when it was crunch time,” he said. “We’ve got to work harder and get better.”
With sophomore running back Myles Miree (5 rushes, 25 yards) a little banged up, Brooks turned to freshmen D.J. Butler and Sieh Bangura. Butler ran 13 times for 52 yards. Bangura had 10 totes for 29 yards. It was the second consecutive week the Stags’ running game was largely held in check.
DeMatha has three conference games remaining to right the ship and get into the four-team WCAC playoffs.
“It’s going to be a huge gut check moving forward,” Brooks said, “because it doesn’t get any easier. It’s not just going to happen. These teams are hungry. They’re working just like we are.
“If we don’t get tougher, it’s going to be a long season.”
DeMatha junior Joseph Hood punted three times for a 41-yard average, including a long of 57. His three kickoffs averaged 57.7 yards.
The Stags fell to No. 14 in The Washington Post Top 20. Good Counsel is now eighth.
DeMatha goes on the road to play No. 4 St. John’s (4-2, 2-0) on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. It will be the Stags’ first Saturday game of the year.
Chris McManes (mick-maynz) covers DeMatha football for the Hyattsville Life & Times.