ANNAPOLIS – Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. came into last Friday’s 4A championship game having won back-to-back state titles without a single loss since 2014.
The Pumas squared off with Quince Orchard for the second consecutive year, and for the second time in as many years, the result was the same.
While Wise handed the Cougars a 42-7 loss a year ago, Wise was in for a fierce battle early on this time around. Still, behind the efforts of a dominant running game and experienced players, Wise defeated Quince Orchard, 38-20, to win its third straight state championship and create a Prince George’s County dynasty.
“It has been a great day and a great year,” Wise Head Coach DaLawn Parrish said after the win. “Everybody stayed together as a team. Everything that we asked them to do, they accepted it. I want to congratulate our team for completing the mission.”
Wise quarterback Quinton Williams found his groove early on during the opening drive, as he went 4-of-5 and drove the ball into the redzone before facing a fourth-and-2. Unfortunately for Wise, the Cougars’ defense stood strong and stopped senior running back David Medley for a 1-yard loss to force a turnover on downs.
Quince Orchard quarterback Doc Bonner then scampered 46 yards after being flushed out of the pocket and got the ball down to the Pumas’ 6-yard line. Sophomore running back Marquez Cooper finished the deal with a 6-yard run to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
Wise senior running back John “Moo Moo” Oliver became the bell cow in the first half as he accounted for 139 yards on 17 carries. On the Pumas’ ensuing possession, they relied on his powerful runs as he got into space at will.
Oliver and Williams led an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ate up more than four minutes off the clock. Oliver then gashed through the Cougars’ defense from one yard out to tie the game up at seven.
“I felt a little adversity today,” said Williams, who finished with 174 yards and two interceptions. “I made a couple of mistakes, but these guys believed in me and knew that I could get the job done and we got the win.”
Wise forced a three-and-out on the following possession, leaving the Pumas with a golden opportunity to score with the ball on their own 40-yard line. It took Wise just five plays to amass 60 yards, with senior running back David Medley punching the ball into the endzone from 11 yards out. Wise attempted to go for a two-point conversion, but two penalties pushed the offense back to the 22-yard line. Williams threw an errant pass that hit the dirt, but the Pumas still enjoyed a 13-7 lead.
Just when Wise thought it was going to lock down defensively and strangle its opponent, Quince Orchard had other plans. Bonner threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brendan McGonagle to retake the lead late in the third quarter on an eight-play, 74-yard drive.
Despite the comeback, Wise relied on Oliver, who ran for consecutive second-half touchdowns and racked up 224 yards by game’s end.
“I just used my vision and my speed to get the job done,” Oliver said. “I just have to give a shout out to my offensive line because without them I wouldn’t have had as many yards.”
When asked if any touchdown felt more significant than another, Oliver jokingly said it was his last score because he stiff-armed a defender.
Wise senior Anthony Lytton changed the tide of the game late in the fourth quarter. With 4:40 remaining on third down, Lytton intercepted a pass and returned it to the Quince Orchard 39-yard line. Then, on first down, the wide receiver took a reverse to the house for a touchdown.
Medley tacked on a 7-yard touchdown on Wise’s next possession to complete a 25-0 scoring run.
Bonner found Elijah Payne on a 15-yard dart late in the fourth, but it was all for naught.
The championship is Wise’s fourth overall.