My name is Jordan Ruby and I've been living in the DMV for five years and covering high school sports in the area for four. Varsity News is a weekly feature that reviews all the best local action in a single place, bullet pointed for easy digestion.
The football playoffs in the area are just getting good, and we're here to update you. The Maryland divisional playoffs are just reaching a head, while Virginia is still working its way through a larger bracket. The big game this weekend comes from D.C., however, when the WCAC Championship game will be played in Annapolis.
Last Week's Highlights:
Good Counsel Runs Over Gonzaga
I was hoping this game would be a lot closer than it was, and when Gonzaga got a big stop on fourth down on Good Counsel's first possession, it looked like I might get my wish. But then Gonzaga went three and out, Good Counsel got the ball back, and nearly burned the house down.
Wes Brown, the Good Counsel running back who had missed a lot of the season with an ankle injury, returned to rush for over 200 yards and scored the first of two touchdowns on that possession. Things really got out of hand in the second quarter however, when Good Counsel started dominating both sides of the ball.
Stefon Diggs caught his first of three touchdowns on the night, then quarterback Zach Dancel, who was moonlighting in the defensive secondary, got his first of two interceptions shortly thereafter, and threw a 60+ yard touchdown pass to Diggs on the very next play. By the time the game was over, they had instituted the running clock rule because Good Counsel was up by 35. I'll have more on the game they advanced to in a little bit.
Stone Bridge Beats Up On Stuart 55-0
So what else is new?
Ballou over Dunbar
Ballou beat Dunbar 35-31 in the DCIAA semi-finals, and will advance to face H.D. Woodson in the Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving; a game I have given up my Holiday to cover, so it better be good.
H.D. Woodson handed Ballou its only loss of the season in late October.
Games To Watch This Weekend
The first two games come from the Virginia AAA Northern Region 6 bracket. The winners of these two games will meet in the Division Championship.
Robinson At Lake Braddock, 7:30
These are two teams that just flat out don't like each other. I wrote earlier this season about why the rivalry between them is so strong, and this year it is focused around Matt Zanellato.
The Wide Receiver transferred from Robinson to Lake Braddock in the offseason, and is now putting up among the best numbers in the region. These two teams met earlier this year, and Robinson was able to hold the explosive Lake Braddock offense in check for a 10-7 win.
Lake Braddock will again have the home field advantage, as they are the top seed in the regional playoff. Lake Braddock hasn't lost a game since they face Robinson, while Robinson has lost only once.
Like it was last time, this game will come down to which team can impose their style of play on the other. Robinson likes to keep it on the ground, while Lake Braddock runs an exciting spread offense. Whichever team gets into a rhythm and forces the other team to play their game will have the best chance of winning. I think Lake Braddock will come back after that loss and get a win here, 33-21.
Chantilly At Centreville, 7:30 p.m.
This is a rematch of the best football game I've ever seen. Just getting to this game is a pretty impressive feat for Centreville, who won only three games this season.
Each team was undefeated when they face each other back in October, and both enter this game with two losses. But that doesn't really matter as long as they are in the playoffs with a chance to win.
Unlike the previous game where the two teams play diametrically opposed kinds of football, Centreville and Chantilly both play the same way. They both like to keep it on the ground, have their quarterbacks manage the game, and beat you with their defense. This one comes down to which team is able to execute that plan better. Centreville doesn't have the same type of talent that Chantilly has, but I just feel like Centreville wants it more. I'll take them, 21-17.
Good Counsel Vs. DeMatha, Sunday 2 p.m., Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
I've been looking forward to this matchup in the WCAC Championship game all year. Sure, there was a chance that one or both of these teams would fail to make it to the Title game, but nobody really thought that was going to happen. When Good Counsel plays DeMatha this Sunday at the Naval Academy, it will be the seventh year in a row that these two teams will have played for the WCAC Championship.
DeMatha won the first five contests, but Good Counsel is the returning champion. The two teams met earlier this season at Good Counsel and DeMatha made a statement with a 31-28 win.
This is a game that has NFL-caliber talent all over the field. DeMatha has Darien Harris (Michigan St.) at linebacker/running back, and Cyrus Kouandjio who has offers from Alabama, Georgia, USC, Miami ... and Maryland (Sing it with me: One of these things ...).
Good Counsel has Blake Countess, a senior two-way player who is still weighing his college choices. But its big star is junior Stefon Diggs. Diggs plays on both sides of the ball, but really makes his money as a wide receiver. He has 20 touchdown receptions in the team's 11 games.
This is talent vs. talent. As is always the case in those types of games, it comes down to execution. I think Good Counsel has a bad taste in their mouth coming off the loss from earlier in the season, and they are rolling after the aforementioned blowout win in their last game. I'll take Good Counsel to with this one, 35-27.