|The DeMatha football team lost its third straight game on Saturday, the first time that has happened since 1994. Coincidentally, the team lost to St. John's, a team that had not beaten the Stags in 23 years. However, It should be noted that in 1994, the Stags regrouped and came back to win the WCAC Title.|
In the fall of 2007, we wrote about the ending of that season as it pertained to the death of Thomas (Tom) Eastman, a most popular counselor at DeMatha, who worked at DeMatha for four memorable years. Here is what we wrote:
"In the spring of '94, Tom Eastman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He fought hard against this most awful disease but lost the battle in October of that same year. After his death, a number of faculty members came forward and started the Thomas Eastman Fund, which, to this day, assists students with books and financial aid.
Tom was a fan of all things DeMatha including the varsity football team and he attended a game versus Centreville (VA) just before he died. (Then) Coach Bill McGregor dedicated that game to Tom in a very emotional pre-game speech and afterwards (a Stag victory), the team
presented a game ball to Tom, who was then able to make it out to see a part of the Lake Braddock game the following week (also a Stag victory).
It just so happened after that, DeMatha lost its next three games, the school's worst losing skid in 18 years. However, that steak was broken on Oct. 21 of that year, the same day in which the school held a Memorial Mass in Tom's honor. That night, DeMatha beat highly touted Chambersburg High in Pennsylvania, 28-27, with the outcome decided in the game's very last minute. (In fact, the newspapers in Chambersburg still reference the game and a very controversial call that went DeMatha's way -- something that almost never happens on the road in PA).
Anyway, from that point on, DeMatha went on to win four more games, the last two in the conference playoffs with Tom's wife in attendance. Mrs. Phyllis Eastman was presented with a game ball following DeMatha's 24-14 playoff victory over Gonzaga and she was there once
more to see the Stags beat Carroll (24-12) in the league championship game, a game which, interestingly enough, had its location changed to Marshal High School -- the place where Tom had one time served as a coach."
Tom Eastman is still remembered fondly in the halls of DeMatha and a plaque bearing his name can be found in our courtyard. Whether this year's team is able to regroup as the '94 team did remains to be seen, but we certainly know from past history that it can, in fact, be done -- even if it is with a touch of divine intervention.
St. John de Matha, Pray for us!