Though many teams would gladly accept an 11-1 season like DeMatha had in 2015, their one lone loss to WCAC competitor Gonzaga stills stings the nation's ninth-ranked Stags.
"Last year, we were running the table and we felt good and then we came home and took a loss in the league," said head coach Elijah Brooks.
"We came close last year but we fell just short and this year we wanna finish the job," added senior quarterback Beau English.
Working for a nationally-recognized program like DeMatha lends to a stronger network with high-level coaches, which means access to top-notch mentors, insight, and advice. Coach Brooks has used those to his teams' advantage.
"I spend a lot of time traveling to see other elite championship programs and what their coaches do. Spent time with the Houston Texans, with Coach O'Brien and their staff...spent time with Coach Harbaugh with the Baltimore Ravens, Ohio State, Alabama..." Brooks described the challenge attached to excelling. "We've won championships but it's even more difficult to stay up there so I just wanted to try to take different pieces from those hall-of-fame coaches and apply it to high school."
While competing in one of the country's toughest leagues makes blemish-free records and injury avoidance difficult, the rigorous weekly tests also strengthen squads for postseason play and national recognition.
"We feel like we're one of the powerhouses around here so being able to represent a great area like this," said the Air Force commit.
Though the coaches emphasize the value of preparation, Friday nights and Saturday afternoon tests on the gridiron between DC's Catholic programs like DeMatha, Gonzaga, St. John's, and Good Counsel often speak for themselves.
"If you don't bring your A-game, you're gonna lose and it's imperative that our guys understand that level of competition and they need to be prepared day in and day out," Brooks explained.
With a 42-7 handling of Virginia power Oscar Smith, DeMatha is 1-0 and takes on Avalon this Friday in their first home contest of the year.