Another year, another Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Championship game appearance for the DeMatha Stags. The storied high school program out of Hyattsville, Md. returns to the title game with a 34-20 playoff semifinal win over the St. John’s Cadets Nov. 12 at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex.

In front of a large crowd on a frigid night, the Stags remained hot by scoring two touchdowns in the game’s final minute and a half to record their sixth consecutive win of the season behind two scores from star running back Delonte Morton. The University of Maryland recruit had missed most of the year with an ankle injury but returned just in time to help rush his team to another title appearance.

“It was a playoff game and every playoff game is hard but with us being as strong as we are, we always play as hard as we can,” Morton said. “We gave it our all and we came out on top.”
DeMatha’s Delonte Morton talks return, playoff win

The Stags arrived on top after battling a hungry Cadets team down to the wire. DeMatha (9-2) jumped to an early 14-0 lead fueled by a two-catch, 83-yard first half from receiver Ryan Burbrink. The senior wideout hauled in grabs of 59 and 24 yards to set up a pair of one-yard touchdown runs from Jacob Siwicki and Morton before St. John’s answered with a big passing play of its own. Cadets’ receiver Danny Wright broke a 60-yard catch and run that moved St. John’s (5-6) down to the five-yard line before he ran it in with 9.8 seconds left in the first half to cut the Stags lead to 14-7 at halftime.

Wright was the whole story for St. John’s in his last game as a Cadet. The senior wideout left it all on the field, hauling in five catches for 101 yards and rushing for three scores. His third touchdown of the night made it 21-20 with 5:40 left in the game before DeMatha went with an exclusive power package to close the night. The Stags ran it nine-straight times and ran more than four minutes off the clock before Morton’s one-yard plunge gave them a 28-20 lead with 1:38 left. Burbrink then came up huge on the defensive end with a 40-yard fumble return on the game’s final play to seal the win.

“All week we knew it was going to be a fight we should’ve started off stronger in the beginning,” a disappointed Wright said. “I give credit to them, they played hard.”

DeMatha (9-2) will play Good Counsel (9-2) for the WCAC title on Nov. 20 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. The Good Counsel Falcons 44-0 victory over the Gonzaga Eagles on Nov. 12 opened the door for DeMatha and Good Counsel to once again face each other in the Championship game for the seventh consecutive year.

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO