Zag 52 FCA 31, final | The Gonzaga varsity football team and Coach Randy Trivers will play for their second straight DCSAA AA State Championship in a rematch of last year’s game versus H.D. Woodson High School on Saturday, December 5th, at 2:00 PM at Howard University.
AllMetSports: DCSAA Class AA football final preview: Gonzaga vs. H.D. Woodson
Parnell Motley (left) and H.D. Woodson flexed their offensive muscle in the Turkey Bowl. Can the Warriors push Gonzaga in a rematch of last year’s title game? (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
By Mark Giannotto December 4
No. 8 Gonzaga vs. H.D. Woodson
What: DCSAA Class AA championship
When: 2 p.m. Where: Greene Stadium, Howard University
Tickets: $10 (Free for children ages 12 and under)
How they got here: After losing to Good Counsel in the WCAC semifinals, Gonzaga (10-2) rebounded for a 52-31 win over Friendship Collegiate in last weekend’s DCSAA Class AA semifinals at Catholic. H.D. Woodson (8-4) upset DCIAA regular season champion Wilson, 40-24, and won its third straight Turkey Bowl behind five first-half touchdown passes by sophomore quarterback Khalil Wright.
When Gonzaga has the ball: Tailback Tyree Randolph is the smallest player on the field in most games, but he usually packs the biggest punch, and the junior emerged as one of the area’s top rushers this fall. The Eagles are at their best grinding out methodical drives on the ground, although wide receiver Max Fisher gives quarterback Sam Brown a dynamic weapon outside. After Gonzaga’s offense scored just two touchdowns combined in its two losses early in November, the Eagles erupted for seven touchdowns on their first eight possessions last week.
When H.D. Woodson has the ball: The Warriors have two elite wide receivers in Maryland commit Parnell Motley and junior Charles Peeler , and both showed just how dangerous they can be by dissecting Wilson’s defensive backfield in the Turkey Bowl. Tailbacks Mychale Salahuddin and Marcel Foster keep defenses off-balance, but it’s Wright’s development that has been the key to Woodson’s late-season surge.
Skinny: How Woodson’s offensive and defensive lines handle Gonzaga’s size advantage up front likely will decide this rematch of last year’s championship game. The Warriors, led by junior defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman , must figure out a way to slow down Randolph and force the Eagles to throw the ball against Motley and Peeler, who double as talented cornerbacks. That’s easier said than done, and the Warriors need only look at their 29-6 loss to Gonzaga last year for proof. The Eagles showed last week against Friendship Collegiate they can be susceptible to big plays through the air, and Motley and Peeler could make them pay if Wright finds a groove.