UPPER MARLBORO – Pure silence.
A pin could be heard dropping on the field after the play.
DuVal quarterback Antoine Brooks was down on the field after throwing a redzone interception and trying to make a play in the endzone.
Brooks lay on the ground for a few seconds and immediately called for help from the sideline. Players shuffled off the field as if the injury would be routine, but after further examination and nearly 40 minutes of waiting, everyone in the stadium knew how serious the injury to Brooks’ ankle truly was.
“Everybody, line up on the field now,” a DuVal coach yelled from the sideline. “Everybody stay calm.”
But no one could stay calm. There were tears, thoughts and even prayers dedicated to Brooks as he lied on the field.
“Lord, please stay with Antoine Brooks tonight,” one woman said from the sidelines.
The rest of the night was not easy for the Tigers, as they failed to overcome the loss of their star player in a 42-7 drubbing from the Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. Pumas. After Brooks tossed a 64-yard bomb on the first play of the continuation of Friday’s game, the Tigers were shut out the rest of the way. They never came close to the redzone after Brooks’ injury.
“I feel bad for Antoine, I feel bad for everyone,” DuVal Head Coach Damien Powell said. “I just want the best for all of these guys. We just have to fight strong without him now. I’m hoping he’s okay and he can move forward.”
The team still had fight in them after Brooks’ injury, Powell said, but they are going to have to regroup and pick up where they left off before Brooks went down.
Wise Head Coach Dalawn Parrish said it is never good to see a player go down like Brooks did. It happened right in front of the Puma’s sideline and it did not go over well with his players.
“We talk about it all the time. Play every play like it’s your last because in this game you never know,” Parrish said. “It was difficult seeing that. To see the way his foot was laying there, that was very difficult. We just had to tell the kids that we got to move on. You hope it’s not horrific. But we’ve got to keep moving and keep playing.”
Wise quarterback Jabari Laws said seeing Brooks go down the way he did is a “really sad” moment, not only for DuVal football, but for Prince George’s County football.
“You never want to see somebody that explosive and that good in the 4A division go down. I think this changes the 4A division,” Laws said. “Their team is very good, but he also is an animal. It’s hard to stop him. He brings diversity to the field. He plays receiver, running back, quarterback. He’s a great player. He’s an athlete.”
The Pumas managed to keep their focus well enough to score 42 unanswered points against the Tigers. Laws had an efficient day passing the ball and moving the offense. Laws finished 10-of -17 with 172 yards, but managed to score three touchdowns through the air and finished with one on the ground as well.
Laws managed to connect with wide receiver Anthony Lytton, Jr. for two touchdowns. Lytton also returned a 32-yard punt for a score. He finished the game with seven receptions for 97 yards.
Though the game did not start off perfectly, Wise managed to keep their composure throughout the contest and make adjustments at halftime. The Pumas did not score a single point before the half, but came out swinging in the second half after the crucial redzone stop where Brooks threw an interception.
“We got a big stop before the half. It was unfortunate that Antoine got hurt on that play. That was the biggest stop of the game. After that, we were able to regroup. On offense we made adjustments to where we were lining up,” Parrish said. “Just seeing where they were at defensively. They were going in that box to stop the run, and at that point we knew we were just going to throw.”
The Pumas have four good receivers, Parrish said, and trusting Laws with the ball throughout the game is easy. He did not throw a lot, but his efficiency with the ball got the job done. Parrish put trust in Laws to control the game and make plays.
“I don’t know how many yards he threw for, but he had some good passes, good pump and go’s, good balls out there,” Parrish said. “He did a good job, especially running the hurry up offense. We can’t complain.”
Laws said Parrish having trust in him shows how much he has developed as a quarterback and a football player. Not only did Parrish put trust in his quarterback, but he put trust in his entire offensive unit to play as one and produce more in the second half.
“He was trusting his O-line knowing they were going to give me time to get the ball off. He was trusting his wide receivers to get open,” Laws said. “It’s really the guys up front and everyone doing their job.”
Wise 0 0 21 21 – 42
DuVal 0 7 0 0 – 7
D – Antoine Brooks 62-yard TD to Williams, 0-7
W – Jabari Laws 24-yard TD pass to Anthony Lytton, 7-7
W – Laws 7-yard TD run, 14-7
W – C.J Rainey 11-yard TD run, 21-7
W – Laws 40-yard TD pass to Myles Wolfolk, 28-7
W – Laws 38-yard TD pass to Lytton, 35-7
W – Lytton 26-yard punt return, 42-7