The Avalon-Good Counsel connection was alive and well on Monday night in the College Football Playoff national championship at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Monday’s national championship game between Alabama and Clemson featured two former Montgomery County All-Sentinel players in Good Counsel graduate Dorian O’Daniel and former Avalon standout Trevon Diggs.
O’Daniel, who was named The Sentinel’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, became the first Good Counsel alum to capture an NCAA championship in the Bob Milloy era.
O’Daniel’s grandfather, Ed O’- Daniel, was among those in attendance, along with his mother, Kerri Wells.
Ed O’Daniel, a former standout at Texas Southern, was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the 1971 NFL Draft and was once an assistant coach at Avalon.
Diggs, the brother of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver and former Good Counsel standout Stefon Diggs, was an integral part of the Crimson Tide’s special teams unit throughout the evening.
Although Diggs began his high school career at Wootton, the Montgomery Village Sports Association product graduated from Avalon last year as one of the nation’s top-rated prospects. Diggs also holds the state record for career receiving yards, with 4,149 during his four-year varsity career in Montgomery County.
The life of legendary Montgomery County football coach Al Thomas was celebrated over the weekend at Calvary United Methodist Church in Mount Airy.
I’m told more than 600 people attended the Saturday afternoon service including Bob Milloy, Terry Changuris, Kreg Kephart, Dave Mencarini, Michael Nesmith and Eric Wallich along with Magruder head basketball coach Dan Harwood.
When Seneca Valley opened its doors in 1974, Thomas was hired as the Germantown public school’s first head coach and built the football program into a state powerhouse. He compiled a 120-24 record during his 12-year stint as Seneca Valley’s head coach.
Bobby Allen, who graduated from Seneca Valley in 1977, played on Thomas’s first state championship team in 1976.
Allen played three years of varsity football at the newly opened public school in Germantown and was a two-year starter at quarterback.
He described Thomas as a very “intense, organized and disciplined” coach.
“You weren’t going to take a lot of water breaks, and at the end of the day you were going to run your 40s,” Allen recalled. “He was way ahead of other coaches at that time for sure.”
The Screaming Eagles went 9-0 during Allen’s sophomore campaign and finished 6-4 during his junior season before capturing the state title with a 12-0 record during his senior campaign, he said.
Thomas guided the Screaming Eagles to five state championships during his tenure at the Germantown public school. Under Thomas’ tutelage, Seneca Valley captured state titles in 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1987.
The Germantown public school’s football program has captured a Maryland record 12 state championships thanks in large part to Thomas, who helped put Seneca Valley football on the map and started the winning tradition.
“Coach had a real blueprint on how he wanted to run his program,” said Allen. “It’s great to be a part of any tradition like that. It’s a legacy to coach Thomas and the staff and his coaching style.”