SnapChat Game Story Video -- by Matt Seal
Game Photos -- by Isabel Gretschel
After being dominated by a vaunted Viera squad early on in the season, Gonzaga redeemed itself on Eye Street in the annual Jesuit Gridiron Classic this Saturday. By a score of 40 to 0, the Gonzaga Eagles defeated the Georgetown Prep Little Hoyas for the sixth straight year, controlling the game from start to finish in front of the two school’s rowdy student sections.
The Eagles received the opening kickoff, and within three minutes Gonzaga, led by their talented freshman quarterback Caleb Williams and a mature, veteran running back in Jason Labbe, crossed the goal line on the back of a 22-yard scamper to the end zone by John Marshall. While the first quarter closed with a score of 7 to 0, Georgetown Prep’s senior quarterback John Ridgway was repeatedly knocked into the turf by Gonzaga’s impressive defensive front, with multiple drives stuttering due to untimely sacks.
The game opened up offensively for Gonzaga in the second quarter, with all-purpose player Loic Sangwa hauling in a Caleb Williams pass for a long touchdown, and the captain Jason Labbe running one in himself from short-range. The Eagles defense once again shut down Ridgway and his offense, sacking him four times in the quarter, giving the special teamers plenty of reps.
In Randy Trivers’ fourth Jesuit Gridiron Classic win, he refused to rest on his laurels during the second half, instead running multiple trick plays in an effort to open up the game. Perhaps the most dramatic play of the half was senior wide receiver Sydney Person’s beautiful ball to tight end Robbie Mangas for a 45-yard touchdown, sealing the deal in the third quarter and eliciting a deafening cheer from the Gonzaga students. Trivers also found an effective use for athletic backup quarterback/do-it-all offensive weapon Sam Sweeney, who was given multiple attempts to run in space, finishing with two rushing touchdowns of over 20 yards and handling the Eagles’ punt returning duties for the day.
While Gonzaga is most definitely a very young team, its veteran leadership, having endured a near upset at the hands of the Hoyas the year before, refused to let what was a five-year winning streak get in the way of their preparation. According to Luke Hoffman, a senior defensive lineman who notched his second sack of the season on Saturday, “the team prepared well for a physically and fundamentally sound Georgetown Prep team,” and it was evident early on that the Eagles did not intend to let the game stay close as they had the year before. After seeing first-hand just how dangerous Georgetown Prep’s running game could be, the Eagles’ older players snuffed it out early, forcing multiple three and out drives which allowed its young gun Caleb Williams to throw for 127 yards while showing off his multiple weapons capable of shredding opposing teams.
In what has become one of the area’s most watched high school sporting events, this annual meeting between the DMV’s two Jesuit high schools never fails to excite, and there is no doubt that Dan Paro’s Hoyas will mark their calendars for next year’s matchup on Rockville Pike in hopes of breaking a six-year losing streak.