WASHINGTON — In a battle of two D.C. area powers, the Gonzaga Eagles rolled over the Georgetown Prep Hoyas to the tune of a 40-0 victory, and won the Jesuit Gridiron Classic Saturday.
The Gonzaga offense was rolling throughout the game, and it didn’t take long for it to get going. On the opening drive of the game, Gonzaga junior John Marshall made it to the end zone with a 22-yard touchdown run.
Early in the second quarter, Gonzaga’s freshman starting quarterback Caleb Williams led his team on another long drive, which ended in a touchdown as Williams found Dean Engram on an out route in the short corner of the end zone, giving Gonzaga a 14-0 lead.
Gonzaga’s next drive also ended in the end zone. This time, it was running back Jason Labbe II who powered his way in on third-and-goal after having been stopped by the Hoyas defense on both first-and-goal, and second-and- goal. Going into the half, Gonzaga led 21-0.
Georgetown Prep opened the second half with the ball, but on that drive, as had been the case throughout the first half, the Hoyas ran the ball almost exclusively, however the Gonzaga defense was stopping everything right at the line of scrimmage. Gonzaga quickly forced a punt, and quickly found their way back into the end zone. On the Eagles first play of the second half, head coach Randy Trivers called for a trick play, and his team executed it perfectly. Williams received the snap, and immediately threw a screen pass to wide receiver Sydney Person. The Georgetown Prep defense bolted towards Person to make the tackle, but left tight end Robbie Mangas all alone. Person threw the ball deep down the field to Mangas, who was wide open behind the Little Hoyas’ defense. Manga made the catch, and easily cruised into the end zone for a Gonzaga touchdown, making the score 27-0.
Gonzaga would pile on two more touchdowns, including a 48-yard rush from quarterback Sam Sweeney in the third quarter and a 19-yard rushing score from Sweeney in the fourth. Gonzaga cruised to the finish from there, ending with the final score 40-0.
Gonzaga saw production from both the running and passing game. It was hard to tell Williams was a freshman playing in his first Jesuit Gridiron Classic. He appeared poised on the field, and delivered strikes to his receivers all over the field. “I haven’t been in this culture at all. This is my first time ever seeing the crowd and all of that versus 3-1 Georgetown Prep. So, I came out like a regular game. But I knew what it meant to everyone in D.C. and Gonzaga. I prepared well during the week, I helped my team prepare well during the week, and came out with a 40-0 win,” Williams said of his preparation for his first Georgetown Prep game.
Lining up behind Williams was Labbe, an experienced senior. Labbe ran well against the Georgetown Prep defense, especially in the second half once the Little Hoyas had been worn down. The Eagles’ offensive line, led by Indiana commit Aidan Rafferty, was also stout in this game. It consistently opened up holes for the running backs, and kept Williams clean.
But more so than anything, it was the Gonzaga defense that was the most impressive part of this game. Shutting out an opponent is a difficult task, shutting out an opponent as talented as Georgetown Prep is even more impressive. Trivers talked about the impressive talent of the Georgetown Prep running backs, and how much of a priority it was for his team to stop them. “Defensively we were concerned about their running game,” Trivers said. “They have a very potent set of running backs, you know, they’ve got an athletic quarterback, and their offensive line is fundamentally sound. We were very concerned about them running the ball going in. We were hopeful that we could get a lead and do well so that we could change the flow of the game…I thought the defense did a sensational job of tackling well, and getting to the football.”
Led by four-star recruit Joseph Wete, the Gonzaga front did more than just stand up to the challenge. The Little Hoyas tried and tried to run the ball all throughout the game, but Wete and the Gonzaga front were unrelenting. The Gonzaga defense was so good in this game, that it was rare to see Georgetown Prep even cross midfield. The strong defensive performance consistently allowed Gonzaga to have good field position when the offense took over, thus leading to more scoring opportunities.
The win improved Gonzaga to 3-1, and dropped Georgetown Prep to 2-1. Next week, Gonzaga faces Avalon at home, while Georgetown Prep has a bye week.
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