SPRINGDALE – The Suitland High School and Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School football teams faced off in a clash that remained relatively close for at least the first 36 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, the Pumas exploded, scoring four unanswered touchdowns, to roll over the Rams, 47-12, at Charles H. Flowers High School on Oct. 18.
Wise quarterback Jayden Sauray was 9 for 14 passing with 126 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore quarterback also recorded eight carries for 20 yards and two rushing touchdowns to lead the Pumas (7-0) to the sizable away win.
“Football is played on all three phases of the game,” said Wise Head Coach DaLawn Parrish. “Every phase wasn’t clicking in the beginning like we wanted but we still played against a pretty decent team. (Suitland) came out and fought, but over four quarters I believe our depth and our relentless pressure got to them.”
Early on, Suitland (5-2) relied heavily on their running game but Wise did not allow the Rams to even advance past the 50-yard line into Puma territory. Sauray’s 16-yard and 21-yard passes led to a touchdown play at the end of the first; Sauray ran in a 1-yard score to give Wise the 7-0 lead entering the second.
The Rams came back with a touchdown play on a 49-yard pass from quarterback Damien Partee to Jermawn Ford Jr. to bring the score to 7-6 after a failed extra-point attempt. At that point, 4:41 remained in the quarter.
Following three-and-out drives by both teams, Wise took over at Suitland’s 24-yard line with less than a minute left. The Pumas quickly made their way through the red zone to score another touchdown to close the half as Sauray tossed a 3-yard pass to wide receiver Keith Boddie Jr. to give Wise a 13-6 halftime lead.
Five minutes into the third quarter, Wise extended its lead to 20-6 when Kiysean Clardy recovered a fumble and completed a thrilling 56-yard return for another touchdown.
Meanwhile, Suitland running back Benjamin Atyam posted a strong third quarter. He made some key rushing plays along the way that culminated with a 60-yard reception to set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Partee with about three minutes remaining to reduce the Rams deficit by eight points.
However, the game’s momentum shifted in Wise’s favor in the fourth quarter. After defensive tackle Rashard Jackson scored on a 12-yard interception return, the Pumas tacked on three more touchdowns: one on a 34-yard reception by Jalil Farooq, another on an 8-yard rush by Sauray and a 5-yard scamper by Anthony Morales to seal the victory for Wise.
After a rough first half, Sauray, listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, said his teammates motivated him to continue performing while also giving credit to Wise’s “elite defense,” which gave the offense needed momentum throughout the evening. Alongside Sauray’s performance on offense, receivers Farooq and Boddie combined for two touchdowns on five receptions for 63 yards.
“Our defense; I feel like my defense is the best in the state. My defense comes up with big plays, helped us come through,” Sauray said. “When I’m doing bad they pick me up, they flip the momentum on us. I feel like they do a great job… the game was on them.”
Parrish and Sauray said daily improvement will be one of their points of focus as Wise moves toward the end of the regular season hoping to keep an unblemished record.
Suitland Coach Ed Shields felt his group made some solid plays down the stretch, but “not enough” to overcome Wise’s depth and caliber. Also, the Rams did not maintain discipline for the duration of the game, Shields said.
“I feel that we didn’t stay disciplined long enough. They (Wise) stayed disciplined, they had numbers, and we didn’t,” Shields said.“We got guys going both ways, they don’t. That’s not their fault,” Shields added, “but by the same token, that means we have to stay disciplined a lot longer and we didn’t do it tonight.”
Partee, a 6-foot-1 senior, went 7 of 16 passing to finish with 167 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also carried the ball seven times and totaled 41 yards for a rushing touchdown.
“I feel like we beat ourselves,” Partee said. “It’s one of those games where we made a lot of mistakes and that led to us not coming out on top in the game. (Wise) didn’t do anything that surprised us or caught us off guard; it was the mental thing… that we had to correct.”
Next, Wise will play at Parkdale on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. while Suitland hopes to snap a two-game skid at Flowers on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.