Way too early Super 25 teams to watch: DeMatha Catholic

Way too early Super 25 teams to watch: DeMatha Catholic

Super 25

Way too early Super 25 teams to watch: DeMatha Catholic

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Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. DeMatha Football photo.

Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. DeMatha Football photo.

While the preseason Super 25 football rankings won’t come out until late July, this is one of a series on teams that could contend in the Super 25 high school football rankings next season. We previously looked at De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), South Panola (Batesville, Miss.)Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.), Miami (Fla.) Central and Chandler, Ariz.

Team: DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md.

2014 finish: The Stags went 9-3 and won the Washington Catholic Athletic League.

Tradition: DeMatha has won two consecutive WCAC titles and has won 22 straight overall, including six in a row from 2003 to 2008.

Spring football: No spring football. Some of the team’s players will be in a 7-on-7 league in June. Summer practice begins Aug. 1.

2015 schedule: Hosts defending 6A Florida champion Miami Central on Aug. 29, then travels to 5A Florida champion American Heritage (Plantation) on Sept. 5 and La Salle (Wyndmoor, Pa.) on Sept. 18.

Top returnees (years listed are for next school year): Senior OL Terrance Davis; senior DB-WR Darryl Turner Jr.; senior RB Lorenzo Harrison; junior RB Anthony McFarland; junior QB Beau English; sophomore QB Tyler Lenhart; and junior RB Khory Spruill.

Toughest to replace: Defensive tackle Julius Combes, who is walking on this fall at North Texas. “He was a leader on a young team and did a great job,” DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks said.

Outlook: The Stags have a ridiculous amount of talent returning. They had 17 players make the All-WCAC first, second, third and honorable mention teams and return most of those players.

Davis, a 6-4, 305-pounder who is looking at Alabama, Florida State, Maryland, Michigan and UCLA, leads a solid offensive line.

“We know the game starts out front,” Brooks said. “We have a veteran talented offensive line and it gives us the flexibility to run downhill if we need to, or spread it out if we need to get the passing game going.”

Speaking of passing, the Stags return English and a capable backup in Lenhart, a promising sophomore. Every player who ran the ball in the WCAC championship returns, including Maryland commit Booker, four-star junior McFarland, Turner and Spruill.

Defensively, the Stags got a boost with the transfer of speedy defensive back Brent Nelson from Winter Springs, Fla.

“He’s very explosive. He won almost every track and field event he entered this spring,” Brooks said. “He’ll play both sides of the ball and his presence will definitely be felt on defense. We hope we can match him with the opponent’s best receiver.”

With so many starters returning, you have to search for a weakness. Brooks’ biggest concern are his special teams, which were a strength last season.

“We lost an all-conference place-kicker and punter,” Brooks said. “Last year, our special teams allowed us to win a lot of good field positions and that definitely gave us a leg up.”

A sure sign of DeMatha’s confidence is its schedule, which includes two Florida state champions in Miami Central and American Heritage and Philadelphia Catholic League tough La Salle, in addition to the usual difficult WCAC slate.

“We want to gauge and see where our program is and what better way than this type of schedule,” Brooks said. “With a schedule like this, you can’t listen to outside noise. The only thing we can control is ourselves.”

 

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