Gonzaga star Caleb Williams announces college decision on Fourth of July

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./The Sports Pulse

WASHINGTON — Gonzaga College High School’s Caleb Williams, widely regarded as one of the nation’s top prospects in football, announced his commitment to the University of Oklahoma on Saturday evening.

The five-star quarterback, ranked No. 4 overall in the class of 2021 by 247Sports and No. 1 overall as a dual-threat quarterback by ESPN, had more than 20 offers, including Alabama, Maryland, Clemson, LSU and Florida State. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder made the announcement via Twitter and on a live broadcast of CBS Sports HQ.

“With the past three quarterbacks, I honestly felt like it was for me…with what Coach [Lincoln] Riley has been able to do, I kinda just want to learn and hopefully get to the next level,” Williams said in an interview with CBS Sports.

“I got a year [left] here [at Gonzaga], but I’m ready to go and gain the trust of my teammates, earn a starting spot and hopefully help them get to a national championship.”

Over the past few seasons, OU has emerged as a program that has produced high-caliber quarterbacks. Two of the last three Heisman Trophy winners – Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018 – played for the Sooners. Jalen Hurts, a recent second-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, was a Heisman runner-up in 2019.

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson had a few words of acknowledgment for Williams, the rising senior at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) football powerhouse in Northwest D.C.

“What’s up, Caleb? It’s all about making good choices. Welcome to the family, and I wish you nothing but the best. Boomer Sooner,” said Peterson, a former Oklahoma standout.

In addition to being named the MVP of the 2020 Elite 11 Finals for the nation’s top high school quarterbacks, Williams registered 1,770 passing yards for 19 passing touchdowns and 838 yards on the ground for 18 rushing touchdowns in the 2019 season. 

One of the unforgettable moments of Williams’ prolific career was a last-second heave into the end zone to win the 2018 WCAC title game over DeMatha as a sophomore.

Oklahoma has already landed 11 high-profile prospects, receiver Mario Williams, tight end Ethan Downs and cornerback Latrell McCutchin, as the Big 12 program prepares for the 2020 season.

The latest member of OU’s class of 2021 recruiting class, Williams has been esteemed as “the most talented quarterback prospect to come from the Mid-Atlantic region in a decade” and “projects as a multi-year impact starter at the Power Five level with the upside to first round if not top 10 pick in the NFL Draft” according to an assessment by 247Sports’ Charles Power.

Gonzaga head coach Randy Trivers weighed in on Williams making the jump to the next level.

“Caleb Williams is rare talent,” Trivers said. “His excellence is most prominent when a competitive challenge arises. Oklahoma is fortunate to get this Eagle to eventually wear the Sooner uniform.”

Our favorite photos from the Spring Sports Season


Baseball: Photos by Cory Royster/The Sports Pulse

The Coronavirus pandemic has swept the nation and has taken away sports altogether for us to enjoy.

However, we wanted to showcase the work of our award-winning photographers. Each week we will have them select their Top 10 favorite photos from each sport throughout the spring sports season.

We will run these galleries until every sport that we cover is represented to get you closer to the action until life returns to normal.

DCSAA joins Virginia, in canceling spring season

By José Umaña/The Sports Pulse Contributor

WASHINGTON – With cases of the coronavirus known as COVID-19 growing in the metropolitan region, the District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) announced its decision to cancel this year’s spring sports season on April 17. 

Officials worked with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office before canceling its season and promised to continue promoting the city’s tips to stay healthy during the pandemic. Established in 2012, DCSAA is comprised of 49 of the city’s public, public charter and independent (private and parochial) high schools according to its website. 

“We are disappointed for those student-athletes who will not have the opportunity to compete and showcase their skills during their senior season,” DCSAA Executive Director Clark Ray said. “But we fully support the mayor’s decision and recognize the importance we collectively play in helping to flatten this curve and stop the spread of this deadly virus.”

Before the cancelation was confirmed, D.C. Public Schools announced its decision to continue online learning for the rest of the school year. During a presentation on April 17, Bowser confirmed that school buildings would remain closed, and the city’s stay-at-home order was extended until May 15.

Spring sports in the District include baseball, cheerleading, chess, outdoor track and field, softball, tennis and ultimate frisbee. Multiple teams began their campaigns and played 1-2 games before the shutdown in March. 

“People need to follow all the recommendations issued by the CDC, the District of Columbia Department of Health, and the mayor,” Ray said. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and school administrators are our number one priority.”

DCSAA’s decision comes after both Virginia High School League (VHSL) and Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) canceled their spring seasons in March. Both leagues cited the need to support the state’s call to close all public and private schools. Spring sports in Virginia are baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis and outdoor track. 

District schools who participate in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) had their conference games paused after Commissioner Steve Colantuoni announced the suspension of all athletic activities on March 16. He added that officials were attempting to create “a modified schedule” for the spring season, a task made harder with both D.C. and Virginia closed. 

Big 33 Football Classic nixed 

Meanwhile, the Big 33 Football Classic showcase, an annual senior football all-star game featuring top players from Pennsylvania and Maryland, has been called. 

In a letter to coaches, participants, and fans on April 14, Executive Director Gary Cathell said the “uncertainty” caused by the spread of COVID-19 forced event officials to cancel all events related to the showcase, which would have taken place on Memorial Day on May 25. 

“It is about protecting our players and fans,” Team Maryland Director Scott Ripley said. “I am truly disappointed for the players selected to this year’s team. They will be missing out on something that they would never forget in a lifetime. We wish them total success in college this coming fall.”

Maryland is the only state in the region whose public and private school leagues have yet to announce its spring season plans. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), which works with the state’s public schools, suspended all athletic activities on March 27, including the semifinal and final rounds of the boys and girls basketball tournament. 

As of April 18, MPSSAA has not announced its plans as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan extends distant learning for students until May 15. If any spring competitions were to take place after May 23, the association would need to pass an amendment to extend the athletic calendar, according to its handbook. 

Schools associated with The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) had its postponement extended on March 30. In a joint statement, both leagues said they would work together to formulate a plan to restart their seasons.  

“The leadership of the MIAA and IAAM remain hopeful that both leagues will be able to offer our student-athletes an opportunity to return to play at some point this season,” the statement said. “Both leagues will continue in their efforts to consider possible options dependent upon the re-opening of schools.”  

CMIT-North commands county attention after successful season

By Jose Umana/The Sports Pulse Contributor

HYATTSVILLE – For the Chesapeake Math and IT (CMIT) Academy North High School girls basketball team, the 2019-20 season was its coming-out party.

The Tigers, who have dominated the charter school conference in Prince George’s County for the past two seasons, showed the progress of their program with dominating wins over some of the area’s best, leading them to a 24-1 record and a berth to the Maryland 1A state semifinals. The Laurel-based squad now waits for the chance to show their talent at the highest stage.

CMIT-North garnered attention for their large margin of victory of their charter school opponents. One example occurred in the state playoffs, where they defeated College Park Academy 100-3 for their first regional title. However, according to head coach Abdi Mohamed, his unit’s strengths is their maturity and time-management skills with their schoolwork in a charter school program.

“We got older,” Mohamed said. “Last year, we had four freshmen and one sophomore starting, and now, we have one junior, three sophomore and one freshman starting. So, we got older; we got better. Last year, we had freshman playing varsity right away, and playing summer basketball help us out a lot, so they knew what the expectations were and what to look for.”

Most of the players have come up together through Mohamed’s program in middle school, which built chemistry to create the Tigers’ up-tempo offense. Players like sophomore guard Zanai Barnett-Gay took a giant leap, Mohamed said, as her offensive play elevated her not just to a leadership role on the team but to the 1,000-point plateau for her high school career.

CMIT-North sophomore Zanai Barnett-Gay. Courtesy Photo.

“It is good that we finally get the recognition,” Barnett-Gay said. “We have been so good for so long, and it is so good to be finally be seen.”

After losing to Meade on Dec. 11 in their third game of the season, the Tigers went on a tear, winning the next 22 games in all competitions. Their victories did not only come against charter school competition either as they took down Banneker of Washington D.C. and defeated Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Baltimore in the Title IX Tournament.

Meanwhile, against PGCPS teams outside their division, CMIT-North finished the year going 3-0, including earning a 64-47 win over 4A powerhouse Eleanor Roosevelt during the She Got Game Tournament on Dec. 14.

Guard Afia Owusu-Mensah, who was named to the 2020 All-County First Team, called the upset the best game they played all season.

“We have been trying to play Roosevelt for a while,” Owusu-Mensah said, “I guess they did not want to play us because they did not think we were any good, but this year, we got to play them in the She Got Game tournament, and we knocked them out.”

Following their regional title win, the school community rally around the Tigers as they defeated Snow Hill, 77-27, on Mar. 6 in the state quarterfinals, qualifying for a trip to the semifinals at Towson University against Coppin Academy of Baltimore. More than 75 students bought tickets, and the school ordered buses to take everyone to the game.

However, following multiple rescheduling and rule changes, state high school athletics officials elected to postpone the game indefinitely due to the coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

“It is kind of disappointing; we worked all year to get here, and we have a chance to play right now,” Barnett-Gay said. “I think it was necessary, but I don’t really like it.”

The stoppage in the road to a state title has only fueled CMIT-North to continue building towards their goal, Mohamed said. Players continue to text him their workout plans and ask for ideas to stay fit as they wait for the final decision by state officials.

Meanwhile, as they prepare for next season, the Tigers have begun reaching out to more public school teams in the county to face off against in their non-conference schedule. Both Barnett-Gay and Owusu-Mensah named multiple programs but understand that they will be the underdog in those games. It is a spot that they are used to and ready for the next challenge.

“Everybody knows now that we are a good basketball school,” Owusu-Mensah said. “We can compete with anybody in the state; we are not scared of any team.”

DCSAA Names Winter All-State Teams

Turner is Coach of the Year, Williams and Rice named Players of The year

By The Sports Pulse Staff

WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) recently announced the selection of its Winter All-State teams.

Coaches selected the teams in each sport through a majority vote.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Steve Turner, Boys Varsity Head Coach, Gonzaga College High School

Turner is completing his sixteenth (16) year as head coach at Gonzaga. He currently holds an overall record of 396-142. He has been named the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Coach (WCAC) of the Year five times during his Gonzaga tenure while his teams have captured four WCAC titles, and he was the first-ever National Gatorade Coach of the year in 2015-16.

Turner was also named the Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year for the 2018-19 season. He has coached two DCSAA Players of the Year, fourteen First Team All-WCAC players, ten First Team All-Mett players, nine Washington, D.C. Gatorade Players of the Year, five DCSAA First Team players and six First Team USA Today All-USA DC players.

He is the first two-time winner of the DCSAA State Championship Tournament, capturing the title in 2016-17 and 2019-20. His team 2007-08 squad finished ranked #4 by ESPN and Sports Illustrated, #1 in USA National final poll, and #10 in the USA Today final poll.

The veteran coach and his wife Leah have two sons (Christian 25 and Jared 16). Jared currently plays for his father at Gonzaga. Tamika Dudley, Girls Varsity Head Coach, Sidwell Friends School Coach Dudley, is a 1999 graduate of Woodbridge High School (Woodbridge, VA), where she was a four-year starter and departed as the all-time leading scorer.

In 2011, she was named to the Woodbridge High School Athletics Hall of Fame. Coach Dudley received a Division I scholarship to Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY. While at LIU, she helped propel her team to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history and faced NCAA powerhouse University of Connecticut.

Dudley left LIU as the all-time leader in six different categories and was named to the LIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.

After college, she went on to coach at the University of Wilmington in North Carolina as an assistant before accepting a teaching and assistant coaching position at her high school alma mater alongside her former head coach, George Washington.

In 2011, Coach Dudley became the head girls’ basketball coach at Woodbridge High School. At Woodbridge, she accumulated over 155 wins and appeared in the Virginia 6A State tournament in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. In 2019, the Lady Vikings were District, Regional, and State champions, winning the first girls basketball state championship in school history.

Dudley was also named the 2019 Cardinal District Coach of the Year, Regional Coach of the Year, Virginia class 6 Coach of the Year, USA Today Virginia Coach of the Year, and Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year.

ALL-STATE TEAMS & PLAYER OF THE YEAR BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Terrance Williams, Gonzaga.

Gonzaga’s Terrance Williams. Photo by Cory Royster/The Sports Pulse

FIRST TEAM: Terrance Williams, Gonzaga; Chuck Harris, Gonzaga; Stephaun Walker, Coolidge; Jasir Tremble, Roosevelt; Mateo Rice, Maret; Saveon Jackson, KIPP DC College Prep; Darren Buchanan Jr., Wilson; Joshua Wojnar, Model; Ishmael Leggett, St. John’s.

SECOND TEAM: Myles Stute, Gonzaga; Rasheed Dupree, KIPP DC College Prep; Anthony Simmons, SEED DC; Tegra Izay, Archbishop Carroll; Maurice Johnson, Cesar Chavez; De’ontay Cozart, H.D. Woodson; Ryan Cornish, Sidwell Friends; Mike Aiken, Thurgood Marshall; John Square, St. John’s; Michael Katsock, St. Albans.

GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kiki Rice, Sidwell Friends.

Sidwell Friends Kiki Rice. Photos by Chris Thompkins/The Sports Pulse

FIRST TEAM: Kiki Rice, Sidwell Friends; Azzi Fudd, St. John’s; Kamryn Anthony, Anacostia; Alyson Jefferson, Benjamin Banneker; Ava McGee, Maret; Taylor Webster, Georgetown Visitation; Janiah Williams, Eastern; Cameron Wilkes, Dunbar; Kaniya Chambers, SEED DC; Caramina Tanedo, St. John’s.

SECOND TEAM: Zyaire Hairston, Dunbar; Tajha Jackson, Ballou; Japria Grady, Eastern; Taniya Lawson, Archbishop Carroll; Page Greenburg, Maret; Jaydn Donovan, Sidwell Friends; Camille Blackman, The Field School; Sofia Greenfield, Georgetown Day.

Our favorite shots from the 2020 DCSAA Basketball Championships

Here at The Sports Pulse, we are blessed to have some of the best photographers in the industry getting you closest to the action. Here are some of our favorite shots from Cory Royster.

DCSAA basketball champions crowned on Sunday

By Brooks Warren/The Sports Pulse Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) basketball championships concluded on Sunday at the Charles E. Smith Center on the campus of George Washington University.

Eight teams fought for a championship title, but only four could call themselves champions at the end of the day.

Those four champions were Gonzaga College High School and Kipp DC Charter School on the boys’ side. St. John’s College High School and Anacostia High School represented the girl’s sides as champions.

The Purple Eagles won by the score of 55-49 over the Tigers in a hostile environment. The game stopped momentarily to keep fans from fighting in the stands, and even beer was thrown toward the Gonzaga bench!

Michigan University commit Terrance Williams registered 19 points and 14 rebounds, concluding to a double-double performance. Guard Devin Dinkins scored 13 points, including a trio of 3-pointers and guard Chuck Harris followed up with 12 points and seven assists.

“I think we just turned it up in the fourth quarter really,” Williams said, “Really all I can say, I think throughout the game we weren’t playing our hardest, but in the fourth quarter coach told us, ‘seniors we gotta end it on a high note, so that’s when we turned up.’”

Gonzaga’s Josiah Hardy in action during the DSCAA Basketball Championships. Photo by Cory Royster/The Sports Pulse

The Tigers were led by Miasiah Brown, Nasir Best, and Jay Young III, who all scored 11 points apiece. Wilson gave Gonzaga some issues in the second quarter when they switched to a 3-2 matchup zone, a defensive look that, according to Harris, was not seen often by Gonzaga. The defensive change gave Gonzaga some fits early on and led to an eight-point Tigers lead.

“Once we got it down, we were able to score pretty easily,” Harris said.

However, Gonzaga responded promptly after a timeout and went on a 10-3 run by the end the first half down just by only one point.

From there, Gonzaga threw a counter punch and held Wilson to only four points, while scoring 13 points of their own. Best made it a five-point game late in the second half after a physical layup, but Harris immediately responded with a 3-pointer of his own, and Wilson could never close the gap.

“We always talk about coming out the first four minutes of the second half with the opportunity to knock somebody out,” Gonzaga head coach Steve Turner said. “Tonight, I think we did a good job of extending that lead. So I think it was about nine points, and from there, we stayed up front, capitalized, and made plays when we needed too.”

Kipp DC won a 65-32 decision over Model Secondary School of the Deaf. Four double-digit scorers led the Panthers. Guard Saveon Jackson led all scorers with 18 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists followed up by guard DeQuan Williams who accounted for 17 points, six rebounds and four steals.

Guard Rasheed Dupree scored 14 points, dished out five assists, and tallied four steals, followed by 10 points from guard Charles McClain.

Jeremiah Deans led the Eagles with nine points, six rebounds and four steals. The Panthers won the boys Class A championship after outscoring the Eagles, 47-21 after the first quarter.

The first game between Anacostia High School and Ballou High School ended in a dominant 59-35 Indians win.

Guard Kamryn Anthony led the Indians with 22 points, five rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Chataeah Frederick contributed 13 points and four steals. Ballou wing Tajha Jackson had a game-high 25 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. The Indians ran away with the contest during the second quarter when they outscored the Knights 21-5.

The second girls game featured St. John’s College High School and Sidwell Friends School. The result was a 54-44 Cadets win. Wing Azzi Fudd led all scorers by stuffing the stat sheet with 17 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Forward Taylor Napper dominated the paint to the tune of 16 points and cleaned the glass with 11 rebounds. Wing Kelis Corley followed up with 10 points to round out three double-digit scorers.

St. John’s College High School wing Azzi Fudd wins the MVP award. Photo by Cory Royster/The Sports Pulse.

Three double-digit scorers led the Quakers. Point guard Kiki Rice led Sidwell with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while wing Jadyn Donovan scored 12 points and corralled 12 rebounds, with off-guard Khia Miller ending the contest with 10 points.

A look back at the WCAC Girls Basketball Championship in Photos

Check out some photos from the 2020 WCAC Girls Basketball Championship held at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 24, 2020 from The Sports Pulse Photographer Michael R. Smith.

The 2020 WCAC Boys Basketball Championship in Photos

Check out some photos from the 2020 WCAC Boys Basketball Championship from The Sports Pulse Photographer Michael R. Smith.

Stags take down Paul VI, win 41st WCAC title

By Brooks Warren
The Sports Pulse Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON – The DeMatha Catholic High School boys basketball team opened up the new decade on a high note as they held off Paul VI Catholic, 70-54, to win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Boys Basketball Tournament Championship at American University on Monday night.

With the win, the Stags won their second title in three years and their 41st conference championship. The victory was also head coach Mike Jones’ 500th win in his 18-year career at the Hyattsville-based school.

“My other finger was kinda getting lonely over there,” senior center Hunter Dickinson said, smiling, “I needed another one.”

In front of an electric crowd at the Bender Arena, DeMatha’s senior class stole the show. With every touch of the ball and dribble down the court, Dickinson, forward Earl Timberlake, as the rest of the Stags attempted to finish every play with purpose, wearing the enthusiasm on their faces.

After the game, several players spoke about honoring the victory to Morgan Wootton, the former DeMatha head coach who died late last year.

That motivation was the perfect backdrop for a fast-paced, but physical contest against Paul VI. Dickinson was a key factor all night on both sides of the ball.

Despite just scoring 10 points, the University of Michigan commit was demonstrative in his leadership, instructing his teammates consistently on the defensive end.

Meanwhile, Timberlake focused on being an offensive machine, registering 21 points and six assists while adding eight rebounds and five blocks.

Washington, DC – February 24: DeMatha Stags Earl Timberlake (0) shoots the ball during the WCAC 2020 Basketball Championship at Bender Arena in Washington DC.
(Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse).

He battled with Paul VI’s Jeremy Roach all night; a challenge fans relished to see after the point guard’s 24-point performance in Sunday’s semifinals.

While Roach finished with 22 points, Timberlake made vital stops to negate any momentum building moments for the Panthers.

“My shots (have) been a little off,” Timberlake admitted. “I never doubted myself, I trust the work that I put in, early mornings, late nights, and I took my shots.”

The senior leadership brought on by Dickinson and Timberlake proved to be essential for the win, Jones said.

“Me and Earl, we’ve been through so much together,” Dickinson said. “Since starting in eighth grade, just been brothers ever since, and it’s just really special to win one with them.”

It was a seesaw match. DeMatha threw the first punch with an 8-0 run late in the opening frame to gain a lead they would not surrender. The Panthers fought all night to obtain an advantage, but the Stags always had a response.

DeMatha received help from junior wing Jordan Hawkins, who finished with 17 points, to head into halftime with a five-point lead.

Paul VI’s best moment came during a 9-0 run that spanned throughout the third and fourth quarter, which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from junior guard Trevor Keels (22 points).

However, it was DeMatha’s dynamic pair that stood up once again to seal the win. First, Dickinson stopped the bleeding when he sank two free throws, followed by a couple of 3-pointers from Timberlake to give the Stags a nine-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.

After sinking the second attempt, Timberlake shouted to the crowd with pride, claiming the title was heading home to Hyattsville.

“It’s huge…you talk about pressure, you talk about being able to leave a legacy if two guys felt that pressure, it’s those two,” Jones said. “So, again, they’re running around, talking a little bit, again, they’re the ones who had to feel the brunt of that all year long, so they deserve to be able to do it.”