Our Lady of Good Counsel High School senior Chris Dawson tore through the defense, running with a passion Saturday that later caused a teammate watching from the sideline to remark, “Chris must be mad or something.”
A defender twisted Dawson's helmet, adding a 15-yard penalty to what was already a 25-yard gain and knocking out Dawson's contact lens.
Dawson calmly returned to sideline as Good Counsel called timeout, gathered his composure, removed his glove, delicately replaced the contact lens, put his glove back on and returned to the field in time for the next play.
Coming off its first two-game losing streak since at least 2005 and longest skid Coach Bob Milloy could remember, Good Counsel didn't blink.
Dawson ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-0 win over Bishop McNamara in Forestville.
“'What's wrong with Milloy? What's wrong with Good Counsel,'” Milloy said, imitating what he believed was outside opinion entering Saturday. “Well, you can tell them there's nothing wrong with Good Counsel. We're fine.”
Though Good Counsel (4-3) has already lost its most games since 2005, the victory over No. 16 Bishop McNamara was Good Counsel's third win over a team receiving votes in the state top-25 poll, along with St. Frances and Calvert Hall. Good Counsel's other win came over Immokalee, a 5A state-finalist in Florida last year.
Ranked No. 7, Good Counsel has lost only to No. 1 DeMatha, No. 2 Gilman and Washington, D.C. power Gonzaga.
“We've been at the top for a while now,” said Dawson, who claims interest from McDaniel College, Juniata College and Lycoming College. “When they see we lost to teams, they think we're down and out. But we just have to come back and fight every game.”
Milloy projects Good Counsel must beat two of its last three opponents — St. John's, Archbishop Carroll and Bishop O'Connell — to make the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoffs.
Cornerback Jelani Williamson — who had an interception and fumble recovery, matching Roger Richardson (two interceptions) in forced turnovers Saturday — is aiming even higher.
“Those two losses, they were tough,” said Williamson, who is considering Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. “But we're coming back with fire, and we're looking to run the table.”
Williamson credited Good Counsel's shutout with a creative practice plan in preparation of Bishop McNamara's no-huddle offense. Aided by freshmen team players, Good Counsel quickly rotated two 11-man scout-team offenses between each play against the first-team defense this week.
On the other side of the ball, the plan was much simpler: block well and run hard. Quarterback Andres Castillo snuck in two touchdowns and threw another to Myles Robinson off play action, and Perry Stefanelli ran for a touchdown.
After Dawson's last carry, a 40-yard touchdown, a Good Counsel assistant greeted him on the sideline by saying, “That hole was so big, your eyes almost popped out of your head.” “They sure did,” Dawson replied.
“They ran the ball well. They did exactly what a good team does,” said Bishop McNamara coach Keith Goganious, whose team fell to 5-1. “And that's the difference right now between us and the good teams in our conference. They start and finish what they're supposed to do.”
Good Counsel 41, Bishop McNamara 0
Good Counsel (4-3) 14 14 13 0 41 — 41
Bishop McNamara (5-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
GC — Chris Dawson 30 run (Bryan Strittmatter kick)
GC — Andres Castillo 1 run (kick failed)
GC — Andres Castillo 1 run (Eric Grimm pass from Andres Castillo)
GC — Myles Robinson 51 pass from Andres Castillo (Bryan Strittmatter kick)
GC — Chris Dawson 40 run (kick failed)
GC — Perry Stefanelli 22 run (Alessandro Burlew kick)
Bishop McNamara — Ramar Williams 14-56, Jordan Crockett 1-12, Alfred Bannister 3-5, Marquis Barnes 1-5, Camari Murray 4-1.
Good Counsel — Chris Dawson 22-182, Perry Stefanelli 5-47, Jonathan Lee 3-12, Andres Castillo 4-7, Jonathan Wanat 1-1, Bryan Strittmatter 2-(-2).
Bishop McNamara —Ramar Williams 12-28-143-4, Camari Murray 0-1-0-1.
Good Counsel — Andres Castillo 3-6-89-0, Bryan Strittmatter 1-1-10-0.
Bishop McNamara — Jordan Crockett 3-60, Brian Thompson 4-44, Camari Murray 3-24, Marcolm Harley 1-10, Alfred Bannister 1-5.
Good Counsel — Myles Robinson 2-58, Keon Paye 1-31, John Prather 1-10.