WASHINGTON – Early in the third quarter on Oct. 25, DeMatha Catholic High School running back MarShawn Lloyd knew he was ready to break free for a huge run.
The senior had already scored a touchdown and was prepared to continue running. After receiving the handoff from quarterback Malakai Anthony, Lloyd ran through a hole to the left side of the offensive line and saw safety Justin Smith preparing to make a tackle.
Without hesitation, Lloyd galloped over Smith and quickly stiff-armed another tackler on his way down before sprinting down the field. The audience at Cardinal Stadium awed at the moment and did not begin cheering loudly until the senior completed the run in the end zone.
“I know a lot of defenders don’t like to tackle me up top so I knew he was going to go down low,” Lloyd said. “I knew it was my chance; I felt it and I just jumped over him and after that, I just knew I was going to score.”
“He is very talented,” defensive tackle MelTeon Davis said. “He is not normal. He is just not normal.”
The 69-yard run was one of two big plays completed by the South Carolina Unversity commit, who rushed for 261 yards and scored three touchdowns for DeMatha. His performance was the catalyst in the Stags’ 30-17 win over rivals Good Counsel, improving their record to 6-2.
The result was a good comeback performance for the Stags, who lost to Gonzaga 28-26 in a rematch of last year’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC)âchampionship game on Oct. 19. Coming into the game against their Montgomery County rivals, Head Coach Bill McGregor said he was looking from improvements on both sides of the ball, mainly the defense.
“Every game in the WCAC is a big game,” McGregor said. “…Week-in and week-out, there is nothing like the WCAC.”
After each team failed to score in their opening possession, Anthony got the Stags on the board first when he found wide receiver Robert Jones running towards the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, Good Counsel could not capitalize on good field position after a muffled punt turnover, ending the first quarter scoreless.
With less than five minutes to go before halftime, Lloyd and Anthony rushed for 44 yards during the 12-play drive, which finished with the running back smashing through the middle of the Falcons defense for a 14-yard rushing touchdown.
Good Counsel looked to attempt a two-minute drill to get some points before the intermission but freshman Jason Moore intercepted quarterback Chase Williams. The young defensive end trotted his way to the red zone, giving DeMatha good field position to convert a 14-yard field goal to go up 17-0.
After Lloyd’s 69-yard run in DeMatha’s first second-half drive, Falcons running back Sy’Veon Wilkerson ended a 12-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown to get Good Counsel on the board. Early in the fourth quarter, Williams connected a 44-yard pass to tight end Cole Hefflin, setting up the Falcons for a 2-yard touchdown play by running back LeJay Hatcher.
Following the 2-point conversion, Good Counsel’s deficit dropped to 10. It then dropped to seven points after a 22-yard field goal by Errigo Vincent with 3:12 remaining.
“We played our worst half of football in the first half and the score indicated that,” Good Counsel Head Coach Andy Stefanelli. “We told them to come out, clean it up and see if we can get ourselves back in the game and we did do that so I am proud of our effort in the second half.”
However, Lloyd closed the door to any Falcons comeback as he dodged several would-be tacklers before going up the right sideline for an 82-yard rushing touchdown. Despite earning an excessive celebration penalty at the end of the run, Lloyd was just happy to see his teammates ready to celebrate with him a victory over Good Counsel.
“My team always depends on me and being the leader of this tea, I knew I had to make something happen,” Lloyd said. “I knew I just had to make one (tackler) miss and it was off to the races.”
The result is the Falcons’ (6-3) second straight loss in conference play. Good Counsel needs to be more physically imposing on defense and stop playmakers like Lloyd before they make huge plays, Stefanelli said. They will look to avoid losing their third straight when they travel to Forestville to take on Bishop McNamara on Nov. 2.
“We need to execute, simply execute,” Wilkerson said. “We need to be mentally in the game at the start of the game and should not happen after another team makes a play; everyone has to be locked at kickoff.”
Despite the win, McGregor said there is still much to evaluate, including how to mitigate the number of penalty calls on both sides of the ball. DeMatha finished the game with 11 flags and according to their head coach, if they had any aspirations of winning a WCAC title, the penalties will need to be lessened.
“We just cannot play that type of DeMatha football,” McGregor said. “We talk all the time about playing with class and we lost our composure a little bit. We need to get that back and go from there.”