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.
Football season is just about over, but there are still some leagues still holding onto the dream. The Maryland State Finals will take place this weekend, while the State of Virginia has to wait until next week to crown a champion. Below, I recap two of the playoff games I've attended recently and look ahead to the best games of this coming weekend.
Next week, to get everybody ready for the indoor season, we'll have a Varsity News Basketball preview edition. So get excited for that. Without further adieu ...
Lake Braddock Beats Robinson 24-23
- Technically as a reporter I'm not supposed to be subjective. I'm supposed to just take what happens, put a nice little bow on it, and then present it to you. I can be a fan, but I'm just supposed to keep it to myself. Not necessarily in my capacity here at SB Nation, but in my other occupation, which is the reason I get to attend all of these games.
But sometimes I just can't help myself. There are certain teams that I cover that I get to know and eventually support. The Lake Braddock Bruins are one of those teams. I've been to five of their games so far this season. I know them better than any other team in the region. I'm not supposed to have favorites, but I kind of do.
So when I went to see Lake Braddock take on Robinson in the Virginia State playoffs a couple weeks ago, I was rooting for the guys in Purple. Much to my chagrin, Robinson jumped out to an early lead, and extended it to 17-3 by the time halftime rolled around. At this point I moseyed on over to the Robinson sideline so that I could be in better position to talk to the coach after the game.
But then Lake Braddock came out in the second half with a renewed sense of urgency. Robinson go the second half kickoff, but Lake Braddock forced a quick three and out, got the ball back and marched down the field for a quick touchdown. Then the same thing happened on the next possession and the game was tied at 17. That's when I made my way back to the other side of the field with a fair amount of optimism.
The rest of the game played out pretty slowly. Turnovers, fizzled drives, frustrated coaches; everyone was waiting for one of the two teams to blink.
Lake Braddock blinked first. Robinson was able to get the ball into the endzone after a long drive, but failed to convert the point after. The door was still open for Lake Braddock.
They got the ball back with about four minutes left in the game and started to make their way down the field. It looked like it might be over when the Robinson defense forced them into a fourth down situation, but a big scramble by Michael Nebrich kept the Bruins' hopes alive.
Fittingly enough, that's how the game ended as well; on the legs of Nebrich, the quarterback who had made Lake Braddock's offense one of the most explosive in the region. On another fourth down, Nebrich ran the ball up the middle and was able to snake his way through the Robinson defense on the way to the end zone. After they converted on the extra point, Lake Braddock led 24-23. But there was sill 1:30 left in the game for Robinson to get into field goal range.
I stood on the sideline next to Matt Zanellato, the player who had transferred from Robinson to Lake Braddock in the offseason and sparked this rivalry. He nearly wore down his cleats pacing up and down the sideline.
And for a while, it looked like Robinson was going to make it into field goal range. But then they attempted to spike the ball and fumbled the handoff. Lake Braddock recovered and the game was all but over. Lake Braddock had won a rematch of their lone loss, and the most important game of the season to that point. As a pseudo-fan, I was pretty happy about it.
Good Counsel Beats DeMatha 42-3 In The WCAC Championship Game
There are two reasons that this is one of the games that you circle on your calendar before the start of the season. The first is that it is always one of the best games in the region, but more importantly because you can bet your life on these two teams being in the WCAC final when it's all said and done.
This was the seventh time in a row that these two teams played for the WCAC Championship. DeMatha won the first five before Good Counsel broke through with the school's first championship last season. DeMatha responded with a three-point win during the regular season. Nobody really knew what to expect in this championship game because in the past, regular season success had never translated to a championship. Half of the reporters I spoke to on the sideline before the game picked DeMatha, half Good Counsel, and the other half had no idea (* math).
Nobody was expecting what we saw. Good Counsel dominated DeMatha in every aspect of the game from the first whistle until they turned on the unning clock with about a minute and a half to go. After DeMatha got a field goal on their first possession (which they only got because of a pretty bogus roughing the kicker call after Good Counsel had forced them to punt), Good Counsel decided they were going to score the rest of the points that afternoon. Forty-four points later, and Good Counsel had one of the most convincing and unexpected wins anyone in attendance had ever seen. It's not that we didn't think Good Counsel could win, we just didn't think either team could dominate the other one like they had.
I've seen three Good Counsel games this season, and in each one junior wideout Stefon Diggs has caught three touchdown passes from Zach Dancel. I don't know if he was trying to impress me, but it has been working.
A year ago at this time Good Counsel was still working towards the school's first championship. Now they've won two straight and enter next season as the favorites in their conference.
DeMatha has a lot of reflection to do. This was the worst loss they had suffered in almost 50 years. They just don't have games like this, especially when the stakes are so high. But that doesn't mean I won't have this game circled when the schedule comes out next year.
Games to Watch:
Stone Bridge vs. Osbourn Virginia AAA Division 5 Semifinals
A matchup of the best team over the course of the regular season and arguably the most explosive. Stone Bridge hasn't played a close game since the very first of the year. Osbourn boasts an offense led by Dominique Terrell who has accounted for more touchdowns this year than anyone else in the area. If Stone Bridge can shut Terrell down, then they win this game easily. If they can't, Osbourn has a very legitimate chance to earn an upset, however small it may be.
Lake Braddock Vs. Battlefield in the Virginia AAA Division 6 semifinal.
I'll be covering this game. Guess who I want to win.