OLNEY – An interesting chant rang out from the student section during the third quarter of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) semifinals playoff game between No. 3 seed Gonzaga College High School and No. 2 seed Good Counsel High School on Nov. 15. The chant was directed at Gonzaga’s defense for struggling to contain Good Counsel running back Sy’Veon Wilkerson. The senior already ran for two touchdowns and continued to shred the Eagles defense.
The students clapped and cheered “you can’t stop him! You can’t stop him!”
Wilkerson may not have heard the chants, but when the game was over and Good Counsel had punched its ticket to the WCAC championship by a score of 44-14, four of those touchdowns belonged to Wilkerson. The student section was right. The Eagles could not stop him.
“We talked about this all week. We spoke it into existence. The whole team was locked in from day one,” said Wilkerson.
Defeating the defending champions was not going to be an easy feat. The two teams last clashed in an instant classic in October; the regular-season game required five overtime periods to determine a victor. Good Counsel won then, too, by just seven points. Toppling the Eagles in the semifinals game, however, seemed to come a little easier.
Falcons Head Coach Andy Stefanelli stated that part of Good Counsel’s game plan included containing Gonzaga junior quarterback Caleb Williams.
As a result, Ohio State commit Mitchell Melton and University of Buffalo recruit George Wolo led the Falcons defense and spent the better part of the evening chasing down Williams and sacking him. Williams stayed in the pocket for just a few seconds before Melton came barreling around the offensive line ready to tackle him.
The Good Counsel defense also kept Gonzaga scoreless for two quarters. Over 90 minutes of time elapsed between Gonzaga’s two scores. The first touchdown gave the Eagles a short-lived, one-point lead as Williams escaped and ran for 14 yards; Gonzaga had blocked Good Counsel’s extra point attempt.
Gonzaga’s only lead of the night did not last for long as the Falcons proceeded to run roughshod all over the field. Wilkerson took the lead back a minute later on a 45-yard touchdown, but the extra point attempt missed its mark again.
Any lingering concerns of those two missed points haunting the Falcons later in the game were quickly assuaged when Good Counsel quarterback Chase Williams connected with running back Sean Aaron on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Running back LeJay Hatcher capped off the play by stumbling over the goal line for the two-point conversion.
The Falcons received the ball to start the second half, but Gonzaga defensive back Jalen McMurray intercepted Chase Williams to send the Eagles offense onto the field. However, Melton made sure the Eagles did not come away with points when he sacked Caleb Williams on fourth down.
Good Counsel junior defensive end Ronnell McCorn intercepted Caleb Williams a few plays later for a pick-six. Wilkerson’s two final touchdowns arrived after McCorn’s heroics, and the game had all but slipped away for Gonzaga.
Wide receiver Hayden Fisher put up points for the Eagles as time expired in the third quarter, but the game was already in the bag for Good Counsel.
Many Gonzaga players were visibly upset as they exited the field immediately after the game’s conclusion. Meanwhile, in stark contrast, the Falcons danced on the field, embraced and cheered as they celebrated their opportunity to compete for a championship.
“We just really preached consistency. We had a game plan and we knew what we wanted to do against their defense,” said Stefanelli. “They made a few mistakes and we were able to capitalize early. We capitalized early and controlled the tempo. That was our goal. We wanted to control the ball and control the clock.”
Good Counsel will have just over a week to prepare for the WCAC Championship game on Nov. 24 at Catholic University against St. John’s, who defeated the Falcons in October. For Aaron, it makes no difference which team the Falcons faced in a week.
“It doesn’t even matter,” said Aaron. “They all can get it.”