By CHRIS McMANES — MarShawn Lloyd showed why he’s a special running back, and the DeMatha defense used an early goal-line stand to power the Stags to a 33-0 whitewash of Avalon on Friday night.
Played at Catholic University’s Cardinal Stadium, DeMatha (2-1) set the defensive tone with a goal-line stand on the Black Knights’ opening possession.
“I thought our defense did a great job,” Stags Coach Bill McGregor said. “They couldn’t have done any better.”
Avalon (2-2) took the opening kickoff and, on the strength of two pass plays totaling 58 yards, drove into prime scoring position with a first-and-goal at DeMatha’s 1-yard line.
The Knights tried a shovel pass, as well as running inside and outside. They even got four more plays on a field-goal attempt when the Stags were penalized for running into the kicker.
On fourth down from the 1, senior defensive lineman and Penn State recruit Coziah Izzard broke through the line and dropped the runner for an eight-yard loss.
“You win championships with defense,” McGregor said. “We had the penalty, but the defense willed to keep them out of the end zone. They had eight plays inside the 5 and didn’t score. That says a whole lot about our football team.”
Junior linebacker Greg Penn set up DeMatha’s first points early in the second quarter when he recovered quarterback Clay Vance’s fumble and returned it to the Avalon 28.
Five straight Lloyd carriers netted 20 yards before the drive stalled at the 8. Sophomore Daniel Holbrook, whose earlier 42-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright, got the Stags on the board when he connected from 26 yards.
DeMatha went into halftime with a 17-point lead.
Lloyd, a 5-foot-10, 215-pound South Carolina recruit, bow-tied the victory by going nearly untouched for a 55-yard touchdown run.
“Our offensive line did a great job on that, and he’s a terrific back,” McGregor said. “Any time he sees it, he can take it and go. That’s the great thing about having MarShawn on our side.”
Lloyd also credited the O-line for creating the daylight.
“It was wide open,” Lloyd said. “The hole opened up, and I saw our fullback go through untouched. I only had to make one guy miss, and I knew [I was heading] to the end zone.”
Despite having outscored their past two opponents, 77-6, the Stags have much to improve upon.
“I like our attitude. I like our work ethic. We practice hard,” McGregor said. “We’ve just got to clean some things up. We made way too many mistakes. That’s on me and the coaches.”
Lloyd said DeMatha is moving in the right direction.
“We’re not at our highest peak, [but] we’re going to get there,” he said. “Each week, we’re getting better and better. We’re nowhere near where we’re going to be. We’re still working each week, and in the end, it’s going to be really good.
“I feel like we’re going to connect more and keep working. Things are going to get better.”
Strong Ohio team up next for Stags
DeMatha will play its second powerhouse team when St. Ignatius of Cleveland comes to Landover Saturday. The Wildcats are coming off a 42-41 victory at Archbishop Hoban, which entered the game ranked first in Northeast Ohio and 12th in the nation.
St. Ignatius, the third-ranked team in the cleveland.com Top 25, rallied from a 25-point, third-quarter deficit to end Hoban’s 31-game winning streak. The Wildcats’ comeback came on the Knights’ Akron, Ohio homefield.
“[St. Ignatius] is a really good team,” Stags senior MarShawn Lloyd said. “It’s going to push us and show us where we are.”
DeMatha lost its season-opener, 34-7, at St. John Bosco in Los Angeles County. The Braves were ranked third nationally.
“John Bosco showed us where we were [as a team],” Lloyd said. “Being able to play against St. Ignatius, like Bosco, is definitely big for our program. I think it will help us as we go through the season.”
The Wildcats feature one of the finest high school kickers in the nation. Declan Mangan nailed 53- and 56-yard field goals last week.
While DeMatha is playing the majority of its home games at Catholic University in Northeast Washington, Saturday’s contest is at Marvin F. Wilson Stadium. The facility was the Stags’ principal home field for the past several years.
“I’ve played there for three years, so it will always be home,” Lloyd said. “We’ll like it. It will be fun to go back there and play.”
Lloyd in the Palmetto State
MarShawn Lloyd spent Saturday in Columbia, S.C., seeing his future team, South Carolina, take on SEC rival No. 2 Alabama. The Crimson Tide, which counts former DeMatha teammate DeMarcco Hellams among its freshmen, downed the Gamecocks, 47-23.
Lloyd, a four-star power back with speed, chose South Carolina over such schools as Penn State, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and reigning national champion Clemson.
“Anytime he touches the ball, he can score,” Stags Coach Bill McGregor said. “He’s a great football player and a great young man – a great character person.”
WCAC Capital Division on top
The Capital Division of Washington Catholic Athletic Conference football is well represented in The Washington Post Top 20. Gonzaga (3-0) is No. 1; St. John’s (2-2) second; DeMatha (2-1) fourth; and Good Counsel (2-1) fifth. The only non-WCAC program in the top 5 is No. 3 Quince Orchard (2-0).
Chris McManes (mick-maynz) covers DeMatha football for the Hyattsville Life & Times.