St. Mary’s Ryken loses to Paul VI in WCAC football
Seven-game winning streak ends as Paul VI beats SMR; Hornets shut out Raiders
In a torrential downpour St. Mary’s Ryken was excited to face Paul VI High School of Virginia for its homecoming football game on Friday night, but they didn’t expect the team that they beat 35-0 last year to dominate.
Paul VI scored two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter to regain its lead from earlier in the game and was able to hold off St. Mary’s Ryken in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference contest 27-24.
“It felt great. The O-line was blocking great all game,” Panthers senior quarterback Devon Zackavy said. “The energy was up the whole game. My teammates had trust in me, and if I saw a hole, I didn’t second guess it. I went for it. We just kept grinding and kept battling in there. We knew we had to stop them and the game was ours. We have one more game after this. We haven’t had a streak like this in a while, and we just want to keep it rolling.”
The win is the seventh in a row for Paul VI after losing its first two games to start the season. And it also snapped St. Mary’s Ryken’s seven-game winning streak.
“I don’t have words. It belongs to my kids,” Paul VI head coach Michael Grandizio said. “I’ll be honest with you. Nobody believed. They saw it on DC Sportsfan. They saw it on the write-up. St. Mary’s Ryken was number five in the region, number one in the conference,
at trapping animals the way his father had taught him. It was a simple but pleasant way of life.
As the days got shorter and the nights colder, the children and their grandmother spent the evenings huddled by the fire to stay warm.
Late one evening, a fierce wind began to howl through the trees, down the hill and over the cabin. It shook the roof and rattled the door. And under the screaming wind, a haunting whisper could be heard, murmuring what sounded like “Gilbert.”
Gilbert looked out the window. He could see a dim light in the distance.
Someone must be lost. Gilbert put on his heavy coat and strode to the door.
His grandmother’s figure blocked the doorway. She pushed him back and said, “Get ahold of yourself, boy. That light is not a visitor. Who would be outside in the dead of night in this cold? Those are demons, come to prey on you, poor orphan.”
She told Hannah and Gilbert that as long as they stayed inside their cabin, they’d be safe. “But never go outside,” she warned. “You’ll be safe only in here.”
Every night the demons returned. Their whispers became agonizing moans. “Gil-bert” the voices would wail, and the shrieks would reach such a frenzied pitch
that it terrified even the grandmother who said prayers to stave off the evil spirits.
Gilbert tried as hard as he could to resist their beckons. He stuffed cotton in his ears and buried his head under his pillow. The demons returned night after night, screeching his name and clawing at the door. “Gil-bert! Gil-bert!” Their keening and wailing nearly drove him mad, and his grandmother and sister had to lash him to his bed to keep him safe.
Then, as suddenly as they began, the night visits stopped. The family was no longer terrorized by demons. Life returned to normal.
On a warm summer night, Gilbert was awakened by a light knock at the door. He
quickly pulled on his trousers and put his feet in his shoes. Outside, a woman’s voice sweetly intoned, “Gilbert?” It was his mother.
Moments later, Hannah awoke to a breeze on her toes. The cabin’s door was wide open and Gilbert’s bed was empty. She ran to the door in time to see a faint light ascending a hill in the distance. Gilbert was under the demons’ spell.
Hannah screamed to her brother, “Run! Gilbert! Run!” Her screaming woke their grandmother, and both women stood in the doorway, their panicked shouts echoing all around the countryside, “Run! Gilbert! Run!”
Their voices broke his trance. Gilbert looked to his side and saw not his
mother, but a gruesome spectre come to take him away. He began to run as fast as his legs could take him.
“Gilbert! Run!” his sister shouted. Gilbert crashed down the hill, speeding blindly through the darkness. He reached the edge of the lake and struggled to get away, but he could feel something pulling at his feet.
He thrashed with all his might, but the weeds growing along the edge of the pond had entangled him and were pulling him under. As his face slipped beneath the water, the last words he heard were, “Run, Gilbert, Run.”
Fishermen have said that on dark, summer nights, the ghost of young Gilbert can sometimes be seen running along the shores of the lake, trying to find his way back home.
St. Mary’s Ryken running back Jonathan Wynn ran the ball 21 times for 286 yards and two touchdowns in Friday night’s 27-24 loss to Paul VI.