BY CHRIS MCMANES — Some people might be surprised by DeMatha Catholic’s 40-0 thrashing of St. John’s in Northwest Washington on Saturday. Stags’ junior quarterback Beau English is not one of them.
“St. John’s is a great team, but we really feel like we can beat anybody like this,” English said. “When we play our football, we feel like nobody can stop us.”
DeMatha was nearly unstoppable in the second half, scoring 34 points at rainy Fernandez Stadium to improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. The Cadets, who were coming off a triple overtime victory at Good Counsel, fall to 3-2 and 1-1.
The Stags are ranked first in the Washington area by The Washington Post and 6th in the nation by USA Today. St. John’s came in ranked seventh locally.
English completed five passes of at least 29 yards to finish 13 of 21 for a season-high 307 yards and two touchdowns. His first scoring strike went for 79 yards to Anthony McFarland to give the Stags a 6-0 second-quarter lead. McFarland caught the ball over the middle at his own 45 and ran into the end zone untouched.
DeMatha took the second-half kickoff and drove 80 yards in eight plays, scoring on Kellon Taylor’s 19-yard reception in the right corner of the end zone. The 6-foot-5 Taylor, who also plays on the Stags’ nationally ranked basketball team, out-jumped his man for the touchdown.
Maryland recruit Lorenzo Harrison, who rushed for 98 yards, had a 9- and 28-yard run during the march, and Taylor and English hooked up for another 19-yarder. Harrison was stopped short on the two-point conversion attempt.
Taylor caught five passes for 120 yards, and Delante Hellams hauled in three passes for 58 yards. English credited his offensive line for giving him the time to find open receivers.
“That’s just a credit my O-lineman,” he said. “My skill guys really made the plays when I got them the ball. They were great in space and getting yards after the catch, so that really helps. They made the catches today.”
DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks agrees with his signal caller.
“Beau didn’t play up to his potential the previous week, and he really set out to get back to fundamentals and key coaching points,” Brooks said. “He really showed what he can do when he has enough time to throw the ball, and our receivers did a great job making big plays.”
While English and his receivers were playing pitch and catch, the Stags defense recorded its second consecutive shutout. Tino Ellis, who’s also heading to Maryland, recovered a fumble and had two interceptions.
“Our defense is outstanding; we have one of the best defenses in the country [and] great coaches,” English said. “All three levels of defense are outstanding, so they did a great job today.”
Just before the end of the first half, Ellis intercepted a Talik Mann pass inside the Stags’ 10-yard line and returned it to the Cadets’ 23. He picked off another one in the third quarter at his own 33. Penn State recruit Shane Simmons hit Mann’s arm as he released the ball.
“I’m extremely pleased with the performance of our defense” Brooks said. “St. John’s is a very good team, and for us to have that showing says a lot about our defense. If we can continue to improve, this can definitely be a special group.”
Khory Spruill scored on a 5-yard TD by running through a huge hole up the middle, and Harrison made it 26-0 on a tally from a yard out. McFarland punctuated the scoring on a 2-yard run with 5:07 to play, and for the second straight game, DeMatha’s lead of at least 35 points kept the clock running the rest of the way.
English, 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, comes to school each day from Pikesville north of Baltimore. He had 198 yards passing at halftime, but only six points to show for it.
The Stags’ 34-point second-half onslaught ruined St. John’s Homecoming and was reminiscent of the 29 points they scored in their 32-12 victory over La Salle.
DeMatha, halfway through the regular season, opened the year with a pair of victories over reigning Florida state champions. The Stags have outscored their opponents, 182-48, and not allowed a point in 10 quarters.
“We were really expecting this coming into the year,” English said. “We knew we had a great team, and we stayed on track early. Now we’re looking to keep it rolling.”
DeMatha plays at Bishop McNamara (3-2, 1-1) in Forestville on Saturday Oct. 10 at 2 p.m.