|Gonzaga Football Family,
It’s difficult to believe we are beyond the halfway mark of our regular season as the old cliché “time flies when you’re having fun” certainly rings true!
After a tough 3 point season-opening loss to McDonogh, the Eagles have been on a strong 5 game win streak. The season’s 1st triumph came against Viera High School, Florida’s 2015 Class 7A State Runner-Up. This victory was not without a plethora of challenges relating to inclement weather and travel conditions. The team arrived at its Cocoa, Florida destination at5:30am which was 18 hours after the originally scheduled arrival time! With just over 12 hours prior to kickoff, the Eagles did a fine job of maintaining their focus in preparing for the Saturdayevening showdown.
Although behind on the scoreboard in the 2nd half, the Eagles maintained their composure by taking the lead and never looking back in route to a 31-19 victory. The atmosphere featured great weather, a hospitable and huge home crowd, an enthusiastic marching band and cheerleaders, and of course our passionate purple faithful! The Eagles were led offensively by #2 RB Tyree Randolph (’17) who had a monster performance with 281 yards rushing and an additional 41 yards receiving. Randolph’s efforts were aided by an offensive line led by #73 OL Captain Johnny Jordan (’17). The defense was led by #10 DB Captain Joe Zuccari (’17) who had 2 interceptions on the evening.
The team was blessed with a few special treats on the trip as Bill Gates ’57, a member of Gonzaga’s 1955 D.C. State Championship Hall of Fame Team addressed the Eagles in special pre and post-game moments. The team and families were also warmly welcomed to celebrate Mass at Divine Mercy Church in Merritt Island, Florida. Following Mass, the team joined families for some sun and fun on the beach!
After returning from Florida, the team had a decisive 40-16 victory Avalon in the 1st ever match-up between the 2 schools. #4 LB Loic Sangwa (’19) recorded 10 tackles and a defensive touchdown while #43 DE Roger Mellado (‘17) spearheaded the defense with a strong performance. Punter #28 John Marshall (’19) had extraordinary performance on special teams with a 51 yard blast and another punt downed on the 1 yard line.
The Jesuit Gridiron Classic was one for the ages! The Eagles won its 5th in a row and 38th in the 66 game series that goes back to 1891. The Eagles were down 17-0 in the 2nd half and came from behind to capture a 21-20 victory in front of a capacity crowd in North Bethesda. #8 LB Captain Mitchell Johns (’17) led the stingy defense performance with 8 tackles and 2 interceptions, while running back Tyree Randolph had another huge day with 165 yards rushing, 74 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. The proceeds from the game benefit the Washington Jesuit Academy for the 14th straight year, and the annual tradition of Jesuit rivals coming together at Georgetown University for mass and dinner on Friday night before the contest was renewed: click here for great photos.
Following the Prep game, the Eagles faced a talented McNamara team in the 1st WCAC contest of the season. The game featured strong performances by #5 defensive end Joseph Wete (’19) who recorded 5 tackles, 2 sacks and a pass break-up, while #29 K Marco Kemp (’19) was a perfect 4 for 4 on point after attempts and nailed his 1st field goal of the season from 29 yards. The offense was led once again by Randolph who ran for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns. The offensive line of #65 Matthew Calderon (’17), #79 Jack Keenan (’18), #53 Luke Petitbon (’20), #66 Aidan Rafferty (’18), #71 Antione Walker (’17), #74 Cameron Warfield (’17) was magnificent in helping to pave the way for Randolph while dominating the time of possession in the 2nd half. In fact, they helped to orchestrate a rare 19 play scoring drive culminating in a Randolph touchdown run! #45 FB Robbie Mangas (’18), and TE’s Jake Bergmann (’17) and Miles Brown (’17) also contributed mightily to the ground attack. When the Eagles went airborne, it was WR #1 Max Fisher (’17) who caught 5 passes on the afternoon including a picturesque 20 yard scoring strike from #7 QB Sam Brown (’17). After being tied 10-10, the Eagles earned the 31-23 win and the 1st WCAC victory of the year.
The Eagles flew home to procure the season’s 5th victory with a win over St. Mary’s Ryken in the Homecoming game. The 38-6 victory was the 2nd conference win and featured a stellar performance by Sam Brown who completed 15 of 22 passes for 263 yards and 1 touchdown. Tyree Randolph had another big day on the ground as he scampered for 157 yards and 4 touchdowns. The defense put together its most complete performance of the season with strong contributions from defensive linemen, #55 Malik Bridgeman (’18), #41 Sean Johns (’19) and #22 William Lyke (’18), LB’s #30 Aaron Davis (’19), #51 Jake Galli (’18), #25 LJ Koi-Larbi (’17), Hybrids #26 Nick DeChristopher, #24 Jason Labbe (’18), #13 Hunter Stewart (’19), and #14 Cliff Wallace (’17), and DB’s #6 Dean Engram (’19), #19 Brian Townsend, and #21 Micaiah Paige.
The program has received positive media coverage with a spot in the Washington Post’s Top 10 teams in the area as well as two features on Tyree Randolph: a full article and a spotlight video. Randolph is 9 yards shy of 1,000 yard rushing mark after just 6 games.
In addition to media coverage for the 2016 squad, keep your eyes and ears open for big things happening with our Eagle alumni who are proudly representing Eye Street on Saturdays and Sundays around the nation. Johnson Bademosi (Detroit Lions), AJ Francis (Unsigned), and Cam Johnson (Cleveland Browns) from the class of 2008. Kevin Hogan (Cleveland Browns) represents the class of 2011. Devin Butler, Scott Carpenter (Princeton), Austin Clark (MIT), Jaivon Gibbs (Cornell), Ryan Forrester (Lafayette),Kenneth Hagins (Morehouse), Brady Malone (Cornell), Paris Person (Alderson Broaddus), and Chris Schultz (Bryant) from the class of 2013. Turner Echols (NC A&T), James Orfini (Fordham), Miles Taylor (Iowa), and Robbie Walker (James Madison) are representing the class of 2014. The class of 2015 is represented by Jack Carroll (New Hampshire), Reggie Corbin (Illinois), DeAndre Easterling (IUP), Sean Fitzgerald (Virginia), Jabari Greenwood (Kentucky), Nate Hiligh (Millersville), Nick Johns (Trinity Valley CC), Richie Petitbon (Alabama), Marcus Lewis (Florida State), and Sammy Morrison (Arizona). Lastly, the class of 2016 features Nasheed Bridgeman (Shepherd), Brian Johnson (Virginia Tech), Tre Jones (RPI), Robbie Omelchenko (William & Mary), and Kyle Taylor (Iowa). Check out:
The remainder of October features some highly anticipated contests following this Saturday’sbye. The Gonzaga Reunion Weekend falls on the Saturday afternoon of the DeMatha game on 10/15. The classes of ’71, ’76, ’81, ’86, ’91, ’96, ’01, ’06, and ’11 will return to Eye Street to witness the huge WCAC clash.
Senior Day and the 2016 Gonzaga Athletic Hall of Fame will take place on Saturday 10/22 when we host Good Counsel. A big congratulations to Coach and now Athletic Director Joe Reyda ’85, and to football great Rob Belli ’95, who, along with the other inductees, will be recognized at halftime. The induction ceremony will be in Sheehy Theater after the game. Closing the month will be the Battle for North Capitol Street Supremacy which takes place at Carroll on Saturday 10/29. October is of course Breast Cancer Awareness month and you will notice all members of our program wearing the pink AMDG wristbands on game days.
Whether near or far, the program greatly appreciates your support. Our players and staff are grateful for the love and loyalty of our alumni, fans, and families. The Football Program remains committed to provide our supporters with fond football memories.