Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:19 AM
Photo by Daniel Kucin. Wise quarterback Isaiah Black threw for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Published on: Monday, December 03, 2012
By Daniel Kucin
Wise was looking to prove its skeptics wrong Friday night at M&T Bank Stadium as the Pumas battled against Quince Orchard for the class 4A state championship title.
The seesaw match ended in the Pumas favor as Wise defeated its arch rival 12-7 in a thriller that went down to the wire.
Running back Chase Powell started the game off with a bang delivering a 4-yard touchdown run early in the first half, but the extra point attempt failed after Quince Orchard blocked the low kick.
Around the eight minute mark, Powell broke off a 53-yard run to put his team in great scoring position. Despite running through the Cougars’ defense on a promising drive, Quince Orchard forced a fumble right on the goal line and Ben Brown fell on the ball inside the end zone to thwart the Pumas’ chance to score.
Photo by Daniel Kucin. Wise tight end Micah Till catches the game-winning touchdown pass.
Quince Orchard made sure they would capitalize on this opportunity, and senior quarterback Matt Choi led a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by D’Andre Johnson, who barely broke the plain, and Franklin Porter’s tackle. The extra point was good, allowing Quince Orchard to take the lead, 7-6.
Wise’s defense has been acknowledged as one of the best in Prince George’s County. Coming into the state final, the Pumas’ defense had given up only 43 points all season. It also posted eight shutouts.
Despite giving up more than 200 yards against the run, the Pumas locked down when they needed to in this game and held Quince Orchard to only 58 passing yards. The game was in the hands of two talented running backs — Wise’s Powell and Quince Orchard senior Tyrell Williams.
Williams tore through Wise’s defensive line. Penalties and momentum swings kept things close, despite Williams rushing more than180 yards.
Powell ran for 114 yards and helped open up Wise’s offense with play action and bootleg passes — catching Quince Orchard off guard as the game progressed.
The game essentially came down to one play with 2 minutes and 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter, when Wise quarterback Isaiah Black set back to throw in the pocket and launched a 23-yard pass down the left sideline to tight end Micah Till who elevated over two defenders to secure the game-winning touchdown grab.
“I was telling coach just give me the ball, and I am going to make a play,” Till said. “I told my seniors that I was going to get it for them, and I got it for them.”
Till was double-covered all game and held only two catches for 49 yards. However, the catch that mattered most in the game solely rested in his hands.
Wise finished off their season undefeated, and the Pumas will retain most of their starters from this year.
“It was an outstanding game. Two teams fought hard to the end,” Wise head coach DeLawn Parrish said. “It is unfortunate that we can’t have two champions. ... Our young men persevered and believed in themselves, and that was the first time that we were down this year at halftime and we came back and fought hard to get the win. You saw the looks in their faces, and they refused to lose.”