Pass­ing at­tack helps No. 1 Stags roll

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - DE­MATHA 40, ST. JOHN’S 0 BY ERIC GOLD­WEIN eric.gold­wein@wash­post.com

Wear­ing a De­Matha jacket, a Mary­land beanie, an Ugg booton his left foot and a plas­tic bag cov­er­ing the walk­ing boot on his right foot, Darryl Turner Jr. stood on the side­line and leaned on his crutches, as he had all game.

Next to him stood Kel­lon Tay­lor, who was chat­ting with the in­jured wide re­ceiver about the touch­down pass he pulled down min­utes ear­lier on the Stags’ first pos­ses­sion of the third quar­ter.

The two might not have re­al­ized it then— as they were laugh­ing about the im­pres­sive re­cep­tion, on which Tay­lor used ev­ery inch of his 6-foot-5 frame to come away with the 20-yard score— but the Stags had fi­nally cracked St. John’s de­fense. Af­ter tak­ing a one-score lead into in­ter­mis­sion, No. 1 De­Matha poured it on in the sec­ond half and came away with a re­sound­ing 40-0 vic­tory over No. 7 St. John’s on a rainy Satur­day af­ter­noon in North­west Washington.

“We just came out and played De­Matha football,” Tay­lor said. “The first half, in­clud­ing my­self, we fed into all the talk­ing, but the sec­ond half we played De­Matha football. We blew them out like we knew we could.”

Tay­lor had 115 re­ceiv­ing yards on six catches for the Stags (5-0, 2-0Wash­ing­ton Catholic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence), none big­ger than his grab that gave the Hy­attsville school a 12-0 lead in the third quar­ter. The se­nior is part of a re­vamped re­ceiv­ing corps that hasn’t missed a beat since Turner, a Mary­land re­cruit, frac­tured his tibia in the sea­son opener.

“Re­ally it just mo­ti­vates us more. We knew we had to step up for him be­cause re­ally he was a big, key part of our of­fense,” Tay­lor said. “So ev­ery­one stepped up big time. Ev­ery­one’s just step­ping up a lot.

With Beau English un­der cen­ter, De­Matha was able to get what it wanted, when it wanted in the pass­ing game. The ju­nior fin­ished with 312 pass­ing yards, com­plet­ing 14 of his 21 at­tempts and mak­ing the most of those com­ple­tions. The Stags’ lone first-half touch­down came on a 79-yard pass from English to ju­nior An­thony McFar­land, who used his speed to break through the Cadets’ sec­ondary and march in for the score.

The Cadets (3-2, 1-1) strug­gled to get go­ing against De­Matha’s stingy de­fense. Nurs­ing an an­kle in­jury, quar­ter­back Ta­lik Mann didn’t start the game but en­tered in the sec­ond quar­ter, re­plac­ing Mau­rice Bel­lan. The of­fense came alive with the 6-2 se­nior un­der cen­ter, al­beit briefly. Af­ter con­sec­u­tive first-down com­ple­tions to Aaron Hans­ford, Mann threw a pass into the hands of Tino El­lis, whose in­ter­cep­tion negated the Cadets’ red-zone op­por­tu­nity and kept the Stags’ shutout alive.

That’s about as close as St. John’s would get to crack­ing the De­Matha de­fense. El­lis came away with another in­ter­cep­tion on the Cadets’ first pos­ses­sion of the third quar­ter and the Stags cap­i­tal­ized with a touch­down run from Khory Spruill. Lorenzo Har­ri­son, who had 98 rush­ing yards, tacked on another touch­down, and the Stags added another when El­lis blocked a punt that landed in the hands of Mar­quis Brown, who marched into the end zone.

When the fi­nal whis­tle sounded, the Stags ran to­ward their fan sec­tion and the cel­e­bra­tion be­gan. The win­ning streak over their WCAC ri­val that dates back to 1994 — be­fore any of the cur­rent play­ers were born — would live on.

“It feels awe­some be­cause the guys were talk­ing a lot of stuff this week on Twit­ter, so­cial media and ev­ery­thing. That mad­ness,” El­lis said. “But we got the job done and next is McNa­mara.”

TONI L. SANDYS/THE WASHINGTON POST

De­Matha wide­out Kel­lon Tay­lor beats St. John’s de­fen­sive back Aaron Brown to gain a first down.

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