By CHRIS McMANES —
Perhaps it is fitting that the “S” in MarShawn Lloyd’s name is capitalized, just like it is on Superman’s cape. He might not be faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive, but when DeMatha needs a big play, Lloyd comes to the rescue.
He also showed he can take flight.
After watching their 24-point lead shrink to seven, Lloyd sealed the Stags’ 30-17 victory over Good Counsel on Friday Oct. 25 with an 83-yard touchdown run. It was his third score of the night and gave him a career-high 292 yards.
“He’s an outstanding football player,” DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor said. “I think it was very evident tonight. The touchdown runs he had were absolutely phenomenal.”
The win came in DeMatha’s first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular-season game at Catholic University. The crowd was probably smaller than it would have been because the Washington Nationals were playing their first home World Series game.
Those in attendance and watching Monumental Sports Networks’ live stream were treated to one of the nation’s finest rushing performances. Lloyd, a senior running back from Middletown, Del., also scored on a 14-yard run and a 69-yard high hurdle that was SportsCenter’s No. 1 play of the day.
“Great players show up and make big plays,” McGregor said.
Lloyd, who had a 99-yard kickoff return in the Stags’ 28-26 loss at Gonzaga on Oct. 19, seems to have at least one breakaway run a game. He scored DeMatha’s only touchdown in its loss at nationally ranked St. John Bosco with a 33-yard pass reception. In the Stags’ 33-0 victory over Avalon, he had a 55-yard house call.
“We have a saying, ‘Big players play big in big games.’” McGregor said. “And he plays big in big games.”
Good Counsel (6-3, 1-2 WCAC) began its opening drive on the Stags’ 29-yard line but was unable to reach the end zone. DeMatha also failed to score on its ensuing drive despite Lloyd’s 44-yard run. The Deer Men made it 7-0 midway through the first quarter on a 15-yard pass from senior Malakai Anthony to junior R.J. Jones.
The Stags padded the lead to 14-0 on Lloyd’s first TD with 1:29 left before halftime. DeMatha got the ball right back when freshman defensive end Jason Moore intercepted a screen pass at the Falcons’ 17 and returned it to the 9. The Good Counsel defense held and forced the Stags to settle for a 20-yard field goal by sophomore Daniel Holbrook.
Lloyd gave DeMatha its biggest lead of the game by taking Anthony’s handoff, leaping over a defender at the Stags’ 41 and breaking a tackle. He concluded his 69-yard headline-grabbing run by outracing the Falcon defense down the left sideline.
Good Counsel coaches protested vehemently because hurdling is illegal in high school football. A flag was thrown on what should have been a 15-yard penalty, but after the officials gathered, they allowed the play to stand. With 8:55 remaining in the third period, DeMatha held a 24-0 advantage.
It didn’t last as the Stags’ play calling became too conservative.
“We packed it in and just tried to run the football with the lead,” McGregor said. “I think I packed it in too soon. We have to go back to the drawing board and go from here.”
The Falcons, who threw the ball just seven times in the first half, finally got their offense untracked with a 73-yard touchdown drive. They opted for a two-point conversion, but quarterback Chase Williams was tackled by senior Greg Penn.
DeMatha (6-2, 1-1) opened the fourth quarter with a 25-yard Lloyd run but the drive stalled. After Good Counsel blocked a punt, Williams threw his finest pass of the night, a 42-yarder over the middle to Cole Hefflin to put the ball on the Stags’ 2. LeJay Hatcher punched it in from there.
Williams followed by escaping heavy pressure to find a well-covered Hefflin for two points.
The Falcons drew within 24-17 on a 22-yard field goal by Vince Errigo with 3:12 to play. The Stags started the ensuing drive on their 22 but a false start penalty pushed them back to the 17. On the next snap, Lloyd ensured DeMatha would win.
The South Carolina recruit took the handoff and went to his right. A defender got a hand on him but had no chance to bring him down. Once he ignited the afterburners, Lloyd blew past everyone into the end zone.
“They were actually stacking the box, and our offensive line knew that, hat on hat, they really had no safety because he was in the box,” he said. “So, pretty much if I make one man miss one on one, it’s down to the races. And that’s what happened.”
Lloyd appreciates the work his offensive line does in creating running lanes.
“They did an amazing job today,” he said. “They played hard on each play, and we came out with the victory.”
The contest was part of the Great American Rivalry Series. Members of the U.S. Marines presented the Stags with a championship trophy. Lloyd, who averaged 13.9 yards on his 21 carries, was honored as MVP.
“I didn’t know this was going to happen, so it definitely means a lot,” he said. “I’m truly blessed about it. It’s amazing.”
DeMatha takes great pride in its special teams. Its kicking game, in particular, annually performs well. This year, following the graduation of punter/place kicker Joey Hood, a pair of sophomores have stepped right in.
The Stags have needed both Daniel Holbrook and Ben Boucher in more than one game this year as Holbrook has struggled with a hamstring injury. Boucher earlier in the day scored a goal in the Stags’ 2-0 soccer victory over Gonzaga.
“I thought Ben just did a great job,” Coach Bill McGregor said. “He played in a soccer game today and then turned around and played football. I don’t know how he can kick at all. He eventually came to me and said his leg was really bothering him and hurting, which is totally understandable.
“Fortunately, Danny was able to come in and get off a couple kicks off for us at the end. Hats off to both guys.”
McGregor’s 1981 baseball team honored
Although best known as the Stags’ football coach, Bill McGregor also coached baseball at DeMatha for six years and led the squad to four straight Catholic League championships (1978-81). His 1981 team was recognized Sunday with induction into the school’s Hall of Fame.
The squad finished 16-2 and won the Washington Metropolitan Athletic Conference. Notable players in attendance included former longtime DeMatha football assistant Deno Campbell, Rogers Alexander and current Stags baseball coach Steve Miller. Vince Kerley, a 1969 DeMatha graduate, was McGregor’s assistant coach.
Alexander starred in football at Penn State and played for two NFL teams. Campbell now coaches football at St. John’s. Miller played at Maryland before Mike Toomey signed him for the San Francisco Giants. He made it as high as Triple-A.
WCAC crowded at the top
The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Capital Division continues to be well represented in The Washington Post Top 20. Gonzaga (8-1) is No. 1. Quince Orchard (8-0) is second, followed by DeMatha (6-2) St. John’s (4-4) and Good Counsel (6-3).
The Stags travel to St. John’s on Saturday. The kickoff was pushed back 30 minutes to 1:30 p.m. because several players are taking their SAT that morning.
The Cadets lead the division with a 2-0 record. Gonzaga is 2-1, DeMatha 1-1. Good Counsel, which plays at McNamara (5-3, 0-2) is 1-2.
The playoffs begin the weekend of Nov. 15-16.
St. Jerome grad leads Good Counsel
Chase Williams, who graduated from St. Jerome Academy in 2018, is Good Counsel’s starting quarterback. The sophomore played a key role in the Falcons’ 42-35, five-overtime thriller over Gonzaga. It is the Eagles’ only loss.
USA Today cited Williams for his “athleticism, determination and cool under pressure.”
Williams played basketball, baseball and ran track for St. Jerome. As a freshman last year, he moved up from JV to start for Good Counsel in the playoffs against DeMatha. He looks much more comfortable and confident this season.
“I definitely feel I’m improving,” Williams said following the Falcons’ 30-17 loss to the Stags on Oct. 25. “This year has been great for me maturity-wise. My team is just great. Our defense is great. We have a lot of weapons on offense. It’s definitely helped me mature.”
Williams and the entire Good Counsel offense had a rough time in the first half against DeMatha last Friday. He was just 1 of 7 for one yard in the opening 24 minutes.
“I’ve got to play better, just controlling the game and being mentally free,” he said.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Williams rebounded after halftime with a 9 0f 16, 114-yard performance. His athletic ability was on full display when he eluded two defenders and threw a tight-window pass to Cole Hefflin for a two-point conversion.
“I knew I couldn’t go down in that situation. I had to get the ball out,” Williams said. “Cole made a great play. That’s really all I have to do – just get the ball in my athletes’ hands.”
Williams’ second-half performance included directing a 73-yard scoring drive and setting up the Falcons’ second touchdown with a 42-yard pass. Improved play on offense, defense and special teams led to 17 straight points.
“We’ve just got to play like that from the beginning,” he said. “That starts with me and goes all the way to the bench. There’s nothing we can’t fix, nothing we can’t get better on.”
Chris McManes (mick-maynz) covers DeMatha football for the Hyattsville Life & Times.