OLNEY – It was a defensive takeover by the Our Lady Of Good Counsel High School football team which propelled them to a 21-12 win over Friendship Collegiate Academy on Sept. 27.
The defense was so dominant that they scored 12 of Good Counsel’s points. They succeeded in stifling Friendship Collegiate’s speedy quarterback, Dyson Smith, sacking him with abandon and forcing him to make risky plays by throwing immense pressure while he was in the pocket.
“Really, that’s the beauty of the defense, we really don’t have too many weaknesses,” Good Counsel (4-1) Head Coach Andy Stefanelli said. “I think the secret to our success on defense is that they play so well as a unit; they’re mostly seniors, and they communicate well when they fly around the ball.”
It was not until six minutes before halftime that Good Counsel scored, in one of the luckiest football plays of the game. On fourth down, Friendship Collegiate was so deep in their territory that kicker Brandon Chase-Murphy had to kick from the end zone.
His attempted punt was blocked by the Good Counsel defense as cornerback Jason Scott recovered the ball in the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, followed by an extra point by Vincent Errigo for Good Counsel’s first seven points.
“The whole defense, we’re all seniors … I think we have, what, 11-we all have a mindset, we can’t lose, we try our best not to lose…Our slogan is ‘you can’t lose if the other team doesn’t score’,” said Scott.
While Good Counsel’s defense helped them get the win, Friendship Collegiate’s defensive line helped keep Good Counsel scoreless for about a quarter and a half. The nascent Good Counsel offense also made sure that the game was going to be a competition of whose defensive line let up first.
“Defense, we had to do what we had to do, step up, cause offense is kind of young this year, struggling. We got a better group on defense; we’re picking them up, they’ll get there,” said linebacker Caleb Dennis.
Running back Sy’Veon Wilkerson was a favorite target of Good Counsel quarterback Chase Williams, but he could not get points on the board after Friendship Collegiate shifted focus onto him. Running back Sean Aaron also received handoffs, but like Wilkerson, did not score. On offense, the only player to score was wide receiver Jaylen Dotson, off a 31-yard pass in the third quarter.
The third quarter was also when Friendship Collegiate staged its comeback, albeit an ill-fated attempt. On the ensuing kickoff after Dotson’s touchdown, wide receiver Richard Franklin (who doubled as a kick returner), ran the ball for 92 yards for a Knights touchdown. Chase went for the kick for the extra point attempt but had it blocked.
On their next drive, Friendship Collegiate took over at Good Counsel’s 38-yard line and made their way to the 16-yard line, where Smith threw a pass to wide receiver Jordan Anderson’s hands in the end zone for their second touchdown. They went for the two-point conversion this time in an attempt to tie it up, but Smith ended up getting sacked.
The game went into the fourth quarter as anybody’s game: one wrong move by either team and it could be the end. Good Counsel continued pressuring Smith and forcing him to commit mistakes as well as containing their wily running backs and receivers.
It was a mistake by Smith that undid a comeback run. Late in the contest on a fourth and two situation, Smith chose to pass but the Falcons’ Dennis intercepted the throw. He took the turnover and ran for the last score of the game, followed by another successful Errigo extra point attempt (he was three-for-three that night in extra-point attempts).
While it was not Friendship Collegiate’s last drive of the game, Smith was intercepted for the second time in a quarter, this time by defensive back Jason Moncure on their following possession. Good Counsel’s defense was steadfast in preventing any meaningful plays from the Knights, ending any hopes of another comeback run.
“It’s really the story of the season for us. Our defense has been playing really well, really consistent. The nice thing tonight, aside from (a) consistent defense, is really big plays,” said Stefanelli.