Thursday, December 12, 2013 2:23 AM
Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr. Joe Shelton stripped the ball away from Douglass quarterback Devin Butler and returned it for the game-winning touchdown Saturday.
Published on: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
By Daniel Kucin Jr.
Two Upper Marlboro high school football teams battled it out Saturday at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.
Wise opened its season against Douglass as the reigning Maryland 4A State Champions, but the Pumas didn’t play up to their ability in a highly contested match-up in front of a sold out crowd under the lights.
It was the first time both of these schools have met, but it didn’t take long for them to get acquainted in a physical defensive showing.
Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr. Wise quarterback Isaiah Black went three for six with 54 yards passing. He rushed 60 yards and scored a touchdown.
Coined as a “Tale of Two Halves” by Wise head coach DaLawn Parrish, Douglass came out confident and played like champions despite losing the Maryland 2A State final against Middletown last season.
The Eagles leaned on their power running game to score in the first quarter. Douglass running back Mikale Mackle found a crease and ran 28 yards for the touchdown, but the Eagles failed to cash in on their extra-point attempt.
Sophomore quarterback Devin Butler was efficient running his offense and made the most of the opportunities he had throwing the football. Up by six points late in the second quarter, Butler was flushed out of the pocket and threw a 32-yard dart on the run to Kevin Freeman.
Freeman found the end zone on the ensuing play to go up 14-0 after a two-point conversion.
Everything was seemingly going in the Eagles favor going into halftime. But, the Eagles put the ball on the ground during their first possession of the second half, and Wise safety Marcus Allen picked it up.
“We started to focus on the little things when we turned the ball over a lot,” Parrish said. “Offensively, we just kept coming at them, and I thought if we held on to the ball, we could do some things. And, in the second half, we had some things go our way.”
A momentum shift was ready to unfold when Wise quarterback Isaiah Black engineered a 17-play drive down to the Douglass five-yard line. However, the drive slowed to a halt when running back Adam Gillis Jr. fumbled the ball and Douglass recovered it to impede the Pumas’ progress. But, Wise managed to fall on another fumble, and Gillis redeemed himself with a one-yard touchdown run on fourth down to cut the lead to eight.
After Douglass muffed a point late in the fourth quarter, Wise turned its mistake into points. Allen recovered his second fumble of the night, and Black ran in for a 10-yard touchdown. After Reggie Ware ran in for the two-point conversion, the Pumas tied the game up at 14.
With 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, on fourth down and in their own territory, Butler rolled out and tried to convert on a fake punt run. Wise senior Joe Shelton stripped the ball from Butler and waltzed into the end zone, holding the ball high in the air.
Wise completed its 20-14 victory, scoring 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
“We are 1-0 against a good team, and I think we will take that. But for us, we have to get better each week,” Parrish said. “The goal for us is always to get to the state championship. We were fortunate to come out with a victory. ... I think it could have gone either way, and we have to focus on next week’s opponent.”