Junior running back Tyree Randolph ran for 187 yards and two touchdowns to lead Gonzaga (Washington) to a 24-14 upset of No. 5 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) in a nationally televised game Friday night.
It was the Eagles’ first win against the Stags since 2012 — four consecutive losses. In the past three games in the series, DeMatha came from behind to win, but after losing two crucial fumbles and racking up 100 yards on 11 penalties, the Stags couldn’t put together a solid comeback.
“They came back on us to win my freshman and sophomore years, but not today,” Randolph said. “Words can’t express how I feel about my team. It means we are the No. 1 team in the area. People doubt us, but we just keep doing what we’re doing, playing Gonzaga football.”
The Eagles improve to 7-0 with the win while DeMatha falls to 6-1.
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While Randolph was the workhorse, or work pony at 5-7 and 165 pounds, several Eagles stood out.
Wide receiver Max Fisher scored Gonzaga’s first touchdown, snaring a Sam Brown pass across the middle and going 34 yards on the catch to tie the score at 7-7 at the start of the second quarter. He also set an early tone by leaping for a catch on Gonzaga’s first series, pulling it away from two DeMatha defenders. He also caught a crucial 16-yard pass from Brown in the fourth quarter that sustained a Gonzaga drive that ended with Brian Johnson’s 29-yard field goal.
“DeMatha is a good team, so we knew we could never let up,” Fisher said. “I knew I needed a big day to help my team out. That was my mindset. We had to keep going, we had to finish.”
Gonzaga linebacker Kyle Taylor came up with two fumble recoveries to stall DeMatha drives. The first came at the end of the first quarter and the second on the Stags’ final drive.
The Stags at times showed flashes of the ability that made them a top-five team. On the first play of their first series, senior running back Lorenzo Harrison went up the middle, then flashed outside and outraced several Eagle defenders for a 92-yard touchdown run to put DeMatha up 7-0. Late in the third quarter, Harrison again started to break a big run, but after fumbling near midfield, teammate Tino Ellis scooped Harrison’s fumble and raced for a 59-yard touchdown that cut Gonzaga’s lead to 21-14.
“We had to limit turnovers and penalties and those were the things that killed us today,” DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks said. “Gonzaga played a great game. They deserved to win the game. They beat us in all three phases of the game and we have to get better as a team.”
Brown came out throwing for Gonzaga, completing five consecutive passes on Gonzaga’s first series. That seemed to soften DeMatha up for the run and Gonzaga’s front line did a good job of opening holes for Randolph with most of his runs coming between the tackles. It also hurt the Stags that one of their best interior defenders, defensive tackle Seun Oluwatimi, was out with an injury.
“Our team was amazing tonight,” Eagles coach Randy Trivers said. “They played their hearts out and they prepared extremely well.”
DeMatha next plays next Saturday at Archbishop Carroll (Washingotn, D.C.) while Gonzaga plays Friday at Good Counsel (Olney, Md.).