The flight: DeMatha departed from Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport around 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, and landed at Los Angeles International Airport six hours later, around noon Pacific time. It was a grueling travel schedule for a team that played Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. Pacific time, or 9 p.m. on the “body clock.” Good Counsel, on the other hand, traveled two days before its game against St. John Bosco.
The hotel: DeMatha’s travel squad stayed at an Embassy Suites just outside Los Angeles, which gave the team a breakfast buffet each morning of the trip.
The food: Schools typically coordinate meals on long trips like this. DeMatha ate barbecue with the St. John Bosco players the night before their game. Spalding’s and Moore’s players also ate together before their game last month.
The tourism: “We put them on two buses and were going to see L.A.,” McGregor said. One problem: He didn’t account for Los Angeles traffic. What was intended as a one-hour bus tour turned into a three-hour odyssey the day before the game. The Stags did see Rodeo Drive and Ventura Boulevard.
The game: DeMatha lost, 35-7, to a St. John Bosco team starring Clemson commit D.J. Uiagalelei at quarterback.
The last word: “We call it a business trip, but at the same time, there’s an educational experience, too,” McGregor said.
⇒ Player of the week: Shamar Smith, RB, Spalding. The senior carried 24 times for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the Cavaliers’ 56-12 rout of Malvern Prep (Pa.) on Friday.
⇒ Game of the week: Friendship Collegiate vs. DeMatha, 7 p.m. Friday at Catholic University
Damascus’s Junior Baires sets Maryland record for extra points
Junior Baires arrived at Damascus junior varsity practice his freshman year expecting to play on the offensive and defensive lines. But the varsity team needed a kicker, and Baires had experience kicking the year before. So a few days into practice, varsity coach Eric Wallich asked to watch Baires kick off.
After warming up, Baires kicked two balls to the opposite 5-yard line. At that moment, he sealed his role as Damascus’s varsity kicker.
Now a senior, Baires has connected on 210 career extra points, breaking the all-time Maryland record during his team’s 37-0 win over Einstein on Friday.
“It wasn’t even a thought of mine to be a varsity kicker as a freshman,” Baires said. “Once he pulled me up, I knew it was real.”
Alex Eckard, who played for Linganore between 2006 and 2009, had held the state record with 205 extra points. Baires said he has missed three extra points in his career.
“Ever since last week, we’ve just been talking about how cool that would be to break the Maryland record at home as my last home opener,” Baires said. “I ran to the sideline right after … and everyone was just hype.”
⇒ Player of the week from Maryland: Jaylin Moore, WR/DB, Marriotts Ridge. The senior scored two late touchdowns and caught a game-winning two-point conversion pass in the Mustangs’ 15-14 win over River Hill on Friday.
⇒ Game to watch in Maryland: Howard at Glenelg, Friday, 7 p.m.
After a disappointing debut, T.C. Williams gets first win at The St. James
There was palpable excitement before T.C. Williams’s game against West Springfield on Sept. 20. It was the Titans’ first game in their temporary home — the sparkling indoor field at The St. James, a sports performance facility in Springfield. It would be the first indoor high school football game in state history. Tickets sold out, reporters packed in, and all eyes turned to the home team.
But the game didn’t go according to plan for the Titans. The West Springfield offense proved too much, and T.C. Williams fell, 62-48.
“They were disappointed in their performance,” Coach Jimmy Longerbeam said of his players, whom he described as young up front. “But they came back and practiced very hard.”
The result felt like a missed opportunity. To rebound from it, Longerbeam made the focus on practice this past week “fixing us,” rather than the team’s opponent, Centreville.
The Titans returned to The St. James on Friday night and drew another strong crowd. They scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and topped Centreville, 28-24, earning the program’s first victory over the Wildcats since 1996.
“We played really, really good defense and then just made one more play than they did down the stretch,” Longerbeam said.
Longerbeam said the team is young up front, and it has seen things improve as the defensive and offensive lines mature. At 3-2, the Titans’ season hangs in the balance. They will have big home games against Hayfield and West Potomac at The St. James.
“We just have to continue to get better every week,” Longerbeam said. “We can’t let T.C. beat T.C. As I tell the kids all the time, more games are lost than are won. So we have to continue to work on ourselves.”
⇒ Player of the week from Virginia: Charlie Martin, K, Woodbridge. The first-year kicker made two big ones in an overtime win against Forest Park, including the the game-winning extra point.
⇒ Game to watch in Virginia: Champe at Stonewall Jackson, 7 p.m. Friday
Eastern drops to 0-5 following second forfeit
Eastern forfeited its game against National Christian Academy on Friday as a safety precaution, after injuries depleted the team’s 35-man roster.
“Due to the limited roster we currently have with injured starters and leading into next week the student athletes that would be expected to play would have just fulfilled their days of contact for their first competition,” athletics and activities coordinator Torrance Hill wrote in an email to NCA on Sept. 16. “We do not want to risk injuries for these new young men.”
Eastern (0-5) also forfeited its opening game against Archbishop Carroll due to similar roster concerns. The Ramblers are scheduled to play Wilson on Friday.
While National Christian (5-0) will take the free win, having an unexpected bye week isn’t ideal.
“Winning by forfeit is tough, obviously you’re happy to get another win and it’s nice to have an additional week of practice to prepare for your next opponent, but in my opinion it makes things tougher on your players,” NCA Coach Andre Kates said. “Specifically the seniors that are looking to get as many games on film as possible for coaches at the next level to evaluate.”
⇒ Player of the week for D.C./Pr. George’s: Joh’Quel McQueen QB, KIPP. McQueen made the most of his two quarters under center, as he passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another during KIPP’s 54-8 rout of Richard Wright on Saturday.
⇒ Game of the week for D.C./Pr. George’s: C.H. Flowers at Bowie, Friday, 7 p.m.