January 30, 2023

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School Spotlight: Our Lady of Good Counsel (MD)

Our Lady of Good Counsel High School is located in Olney, Maryland. About an hour drive away from the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Our Lady’s football team is a part of the Washington Catholic Capital Conference. This conference may be one of the hardest conferences among all high school football divisions across the country. With only five teams in the entire conference, three of them, along with the Our Lady Falcons, are ranked in the top 50 high school football teams in the nation. As of right now, Our Lady is ranked 47th in the nation. (According to Maxpreps) The Falcons are led by head coach, Andy Stefanelli, who took over the reins as head coach in 2017. Coach Stefanelli had some big shoes to fill in when he became head coach as their former coach, Bob Milloy stepped away from the game. Coach Milloy is Maryland’s all-time winningest high school football coach. 

Coach Stefanelli is an alumni of Our Lady and spent about 8 years as the school’s freshman football coach before moving up to varsity. Last week, I had the great opportunity to speak with Coach Stefanelli about his team and their season

One of the first things I asked coach was, if there was any message that was praised during the offseason and summer workouts. He responded “We really put a big emphasis on leadership because we felt last year he had a few senior leaders, but not much out of the younger group. Since those seniors graduated and moved on, we don’t really have much of a senior class this year. So it was really going to be the matter of which of these current juniors are going to step up and take on a leadership role. We did a leadership class for them, preached to them about leadership, different kinds of leadership and also what they needed to and how important it was. So that was really the message to the team. For us to get there, they were going to have to take ownership of this team and make it theirs”. 

When coach Stefanelli was talking about his team being so young, it sparked me with the question of what do you enjoy most about coaching? Coach Stefanelli answered, “It’s about seeing the players on the team grow up, mature, and develop a passion for the game. Also to get them to understand the benefits that football can provide for them. Not just in scholarships and things like that, but in the real value of teamwork and working hard. To see where they come in and they don’t see that, they’re just playing football because it’s fun. As they move along through the process, it’s certainly when they come back after going to college. They come back, thank you and they really get it and understand what you were saying. That is definitely gratifying, some of the comments and stuff we’ll get from former players. Thanking us as a staff and what we did for them. For me, it’s really about the players and that bond you create with them. You know some of that comes with struggles, and sometimes you have to be hard on them. They might not always appreciate it or like it at the time, but over time I think they see it”. 

I also talked to coach Stefanelli about his team’s recent trip to Baton Rouge where they faced off with Catholic. We talked a little bit about their trip but also talked about traveling around the nation to play in games. Coach Stefanelli responded that, “We’ve gone down to Georgia to play, played in Florida, went to California, and it’s just a different level. It is really the speed of the game. In our league, the metro area DC, it’s one of the top leagues in the country. That is usually the difference when you travel, especially when you go down south and you see the speed. For us, we see still see that kind of speed here, but when we go down there, it’s still a challenge. Those teams they play you around and, we tell our kids football down there is different. Football is a way of life. It’s a big deal, so when you go down there and play those teams and win some games, it’s cool but it’s great for our kids. Like ok, yeah you’re going up against SEC guys now and they’re going to SEC schools so it’s different, but we look at it like a challenge and the kids love the challenge”.

With 19 players with division I offers, this young team is filled with incredible talent and high athletic ability. Here are some of the players that we discuss on the Our Lady of Good Counsel football team.

Dylan Gooden is a class of 2023 defensive end.  “He’s really kind of a freakish athlete. He’s long at 6’5, runs a 4.5 40 yard time. He’s got a knack for getting to the quarterback, and he’s a really good pass rusher. This off-season we decided to move him to like a hybrid linebacker/ def. And that’s been working out pretty well because now he can cover out in space but also still rush the passer”. (Coach Stefanelli)

Neeo Avery is a class of 2023 defensive end. Coach Stefanelli said, “He’s coming off a knee injury from last basketball season. He’s 6’5 235. Kinda like Dillon where he’s a freakish athlete. Last season for us he was our starting quarterback at the beginning of the year. He ended up breaking his pinky on his throwing hand which ended his qb days. So, the only thing he could play is defensive end. So he went out the next week against a conference rival and had 3 sacks. The next thing you know he’s getting offers for playing defensive end. He ended up being an all conference defensive end in five games. We’re gonna get him back and he’s gonna be a huge addition to us”. 

Spencer Jones is a class of 2023 wide receiver. “Spencer is a 6’4 wide receiver, really athletic with soft hands. He really dedicated himself to the weight room, he ran track to get faster. This year in the first couple games he’s had two really good games. He’s becoming a go to receiver, he can really stretch the field, and play with great effort”. (Coach Stefanelli)

Aaron Chiles is a class of 2024 linebacker. “He runs like 4.5 40 yard time. His nickname is Cheetah. He can run sideline to sideline, he’s got cover skills, he can rush, and can fill as an inside backer. So he’s got the full package. He’s still growing and learning as a player and we’re using him in a lot of different ways. He’s got all the ability in the world to be an outstanding linebacker. He’s become the leader of our defense at a pretty young age. As a junior, he was already named captain”. (Coach Stefanelli)

Kyle Altuner is a class of 2024 offensive tackle. Coach Stefanelli said, “Kyle is our left tackle. He’s an Under Armour All American like Aaron. He’s our top linemen and the leader of the offensive line. Super athletic, he’s 6’3 300 lbs. He can move, he’s great in the run game and pass game”

Dilin Jones is a class of 2024 running back. He’s got multiple power five offers. He’s also a captain and as good as they get. He’s a next level running back. He can run for both power and speed. He’s rushed for 17 carries for over 300 yards in the first two games. And we run 3 running-backs, so that’s why he doesn’t have that many carries. He’s a playmaker”. (Coach Stefanelli)

Elijah Moore is a class of 2024 wide receiver. “Elijah Moore is another 6’4 receiver with a lot of power 5 offers as well. Spencer Jones is kind of that tall, long, speed guy. Elijah is the kid that goes up and makes the contested catches. He blocks pretty well and he is just really long and physical. He does things that other people can’t do. That kind of gives us a nice combination along with Spencer. He’s got long arms, big hands and catches everything”. (Coach Stefanelli)

Frankie Weaver is a class of 2024 quarterback. “Frankie Weaver, our quarterback. He’s a high level guy and made some huge strides since last year. He is reading coverages better, he’s got a cannon for an arm, he’s becoming more mobile as he is kind of growing into his 6’4 frame. (Coach Stefanelli)

Faheem Delane is a class of 2025 safety. Coach Stefanelli commented, “He’s 6’3 and weighs around 190 pounds. “Faheem is another All American. He was named All American as a freshman. He’s got offers from everywhere already. He is our free safety or strong safety

Peyton Nelson is a class of 2025 running back. Coach Stefanelli commented,“Peyton is a running back who works with Dilin Jones. A little bit smaller than Dilin, but runs with power and speed”.

Judah Jenkins is a class of 2024 cornerback. Coach Stefanelli said, “He is another power five guy. He’s had two games and he has two punt returns for touchdowns. He’s our lockdown corner. 

Click here to see the Falcons remaining schedule for the season.

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