Elijah Brooks played for two legendary coaches at DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)
and now he's putting that experience into good use in his third year as head football coach at his alma mater.
On Friday Brooks guided the Stags (5-1) to an impressive 21-0 victory over archrival Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.). It marked the first time in at least 13 years that Good Counsel had been shut out and snapped a four-game winning streak against DeMatha.
The impressive victory has earned Brooks the honor of being named this season's first Capital One Bank Washington, D.C. Coach of the Week.
"It was a huge win for us," he said. "We stayed unbeaten in the conference (Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) and because we had lost to them four years in a row. They've won the last four (conference titles). They've been such an explosive team. For us to think we could come away with a shutout — there wasn't even a thought."
The Stags' finest defensive effort of the year yielded only 107 yards and three first downs. Middle linebacker Dale Matthews
set the pace with nine tackles, four for losses. The game-changer was a 99-yard interception return by cornerback Cam Phillips
, and a 95-yard touchdown run by Taiwan Deal
was a clincher in the fourth quarter.
Brooks played football under Bill McGregor and basketball under Morgan Wootten. He helped both teams win a pair of championships in the highly competitive WCAC. During his senior year (2001-02) he captained both teams, leading the football squad in rushing and the basketball squad in assists.
He played football for one year at Kent State University before playing his final three years at William & Mary, where he finished No. 6 in career rushing.
Graduating in 2007, he was hired to teach history and psychology and as an assistant football coach at DeMatha. He now teaches Body Composition, a weight-training elective for upperclassmen.
Replacing McGregor as head coach could be a pressure-filled job.
"When a guy has done such a fantastic job putting our program on the map for 29 years, it's big shoes to fill," said Brooks. "But I have a great support system with the DeMatha community and my family.
"They (McGregor and Wootten) paved the right way to prepare for games and the way to lead as a player and coach. They provided so many life lessons that I still carry with me today."