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DuVal suffers tough playoff loss to Suitland

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Photo by Daniel Kucin. Suitland's defense tries to contain DuVal senior running back Shamik Perry.

Photo by Daniel Kucin. Suitland's defense tries to contain DuVal senior running back Shamik Perry.

Published on: Wednesday, November 14, 2012

By Daniel Kucin

Two of the best teams in the county clashed Saturday in the 4A Divisional playoff.

The 4A Divisional playoff round proved to be as advertised between the No.2 DuVal Tigers and No. 3 seed Suitland Rams in a win-or-go-home setting.

These two teams faced each other earlier this season boasting identical records only to have DuVal defeat Suitland by 20 points. That was clearly on the minds of the Rams, and Suitland didn’t execute a repeat performance as they knocked off DuVal 21-14.

DuVal senior running back Shamik Perry racked up double-digit carries. However, Suitland running back Anthony Squire was a man among boys in the entirety of this game.

Photo by Daniel Kucin. Suitland’s Wesley Wolfolk breaks off for a 58-yard touchdown run.

Photo by Daniel Kucin. Suitland’s Wesley Wolfolk breaks off for a 58-yard touchdown run.

After a back-and-forth defensive battle, DuVal finally broke. Squire ran off-tackle and dove into the end zone to go up by 7-0 in the last remaining minutes of the first quarter.

DuVal had trouble getting organized in the first half, often having 10 men in the huddle on numerous plays. Despite having trouble in that department, the Tigers relied on their power back to get the job done in crucial situations. Perry seemed to break the will of Suitland’s defense at times and racked up more than 160 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, he could not do everything on his own.

“They came ready and they had a real good plan, and they executed. We just had to make plays when we needed to make them,” DuVal head coach Dameon Powell said.

Powell had nothing but the best to say about Perry after he played his final game in a Tigers’ uniform.

“He is a special running back. He is a special guy,” Powell said. “I was glad to have him for four years.”

After stalling on offense and giving the ball back on the ensuing possession, Suitland saw a chink in the armor and took advantage of it. With nine seconds remaining in the first quarter, junior quarterback Wesley Wolfolk broke off a 58-yard run down the sideline and found pay dirt putting the Rams up 14-0. DuVal had a tough time containing Wolfolk and Suitland’s rushing attack for the most part throughout.

DuVal did not want to go down lightly, and, at around the 11th minute of the second quarter, Perry chipped away down field to get his team in the red zone. DuVal was forced to go for it on fourth down, and Suitland defensive back Malik Simms was called for pass interference, keeping the Tigers’ drive alive. DuVal quarterback Natio Scales finished the job with a sneak up the middle to split the difference, 14-7.

Nearing the end of the second quarter, DuVal found a spark, executing an efficient drive that put the Tigers in position to score on the 1 yard line. With no timeouts and only seconds remaining, DuVal ran a play up the middle only to be stopped with the time dwindling down. The Tigers barely snapped the ball to fumble and go into half with nothing to show for it.

As the seesaw match-up progressed later in the third quarter, Suitland ran the clock down and left DuVal’s tiring defense on the field. Suitland drove 99 yards for a touchdown capped by Anthony Squire, taking the score to 21-7. Squire demolished the Tigers’ defense all game and accounted for 205 yards on the ground.

DuVal found late success scoring in the fourth minute of the final quarter, but a Taivon Jacobs interception with two minutes remaining all but sealed the Rams’ victory.

“We knew that they were a running team, so we knew we had to use up as much clock as we could on the fact that they are a physical team and we are a little undersized,” Suitland head coach Ed Shields said. “It really wasn’t about revenge as much as us playing at a higher level. DuVal has raised their level of play, so we had to raise ours. If you can’t see that they are a good team, then you are missing something.”

DuVal’s postseason dreams diminished. It had been five years since the Tigers reached the playoffs, and they had not played a home postseason game since 1989.

Suitland will look forward to playing Wise on the road at noon Saturday.

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