For a program that had played in every Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship between 1997 and 2010, DeMatha’s loss last season to Gonzaga in the WCAC semifinals seemed like the ultimate gut punch.
DeMatha is used to reloading, not rebuilding. But last season’s disappointing 6-4 finish was part of a long-term plan to restore the Stags at the top of the WCAC, which rival Good Counsel has dominated in recent seasons.
DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks played a number of sophomores last year, hoping the bumps those players endured would pay dividends for future of the program. The season has just begun, but Brooks, who replaced longtime coach Bill MacGregor in May 2011, already has started to see some of the payoff.
The Stags (1-0) opened the season with a dominant 52-14 win over Hillside (N.C.), with several juniors playing key roles.
Running back Mark Allen, who had 292 rushing yards last season, ran for 152 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries; linebacker Jawhaun Bentley, who missed last season with an ACL tear, had 13 tackles and two sacks; and Spencer Kleinrichert had nine tackles from his linebacker spot.