Not since the late 80s, when Potomac stopped bussing students in and therefore dropped out of Suitland’s 4A classification, have the Rams and Wolverines clashed — but that doesn’t mean the history between the two has been forgotten.
“They used to play each other all the time. . . . People are excited, there’s going to be a lot of barbershop talk about this one,” said Potomac Coach Ronnie Crump, who remembers plenty of Potomac Suitland matchups, and no Potomac losses.
The renewal of the rivalry was made possible by a rule change that allows Maryland public schools to schedule teams outside their classification, one that now gives smaller schools the opportunity to confirm their suspicions that talent and classification levels don’t necessarily correlate.
“People are brainwashed,” Crump said. “They think just because they’re 4A that means they’re better than teams that are 3A, 2A, 1A. That’s not always true.”
Potomac (3A) finds itself in position to prove his theory against a traditionally strong Suitland team that is reloading and will feature the unpredictable combination of talent and inexperience at several positions.
But the Rams still feature the dangerous combination of wide receiver Nick Nelson and quarterback Wesley Wolfork and a speedy backfield with the potential to fly through the Potomac defense.
Tennessee-bound linebacker Jerome Dews will undoubtedly have other plans for the Suitland attack, particularly for Wolfolk, who he says is “like a brother to him.” The two became friends while playing at Wise as sophomores. Even when they transferred to separate schools, Dews said they’ve stayed “real close.”
“[Wolfolk] is a real elusive quarterback, they’ve got [Nelson] a big receiver, and they’ve got a good running game,” Dews said before adding with a laugh “So we’ll just bust them hard that first play and we’ll be good.”
While many Prince George’s County football fans will be focused on the PG Learning and Sports Complex for three high-profile inter-classification matchups on the season’s opening weekend, they should keep an eye on Wilson High School, where DuVal will be opening its campaign against a strong Wilson squad that posted an 8-3 record in 2012 and dominated Perry Street Prep 55-12 last week.
The game will serve as a barometer for DuVal and new starting quarterback sophomore Antione Brooks, about whom Coach Dameon Powell said: “We’re confident that he’s awesome.”
Brooks will be one component of what could evolve into an explosive backfield. The other component will be running back Terrence Davenport, who didn’t start in 2012, but came on in the middle of a game to fill in for an injured player and ran for 296 yards.
“We have something different that a lot of teams in our county don’t and that’s a running and passing game. So I just feel like we can be a little versatile,” Powell said. “I think we can go a long way.” . . .
Second-year Coach Jae Jackson hopes to give the Bowie name some weight in the crowded Prince George’s County football scene, and this may be the year he does it. The Bulldogs went 4-6 in 2012, but lost three of those games by a combined 15 points. Jackson says he’ll get a good idea of whether or not his team can flip that script and end up on the other side of .500 this year when Bowie heads to perennial playoff team Westlake in Waldorf. to open its season Friday night.
“That first game at Westlake will be real telling for us. We go down there, it’s a night game, so when we see how we do down there we can pretty much gauge how we’ll do against competition in PG County,” Jackson said. “We’re looking to be playoff bound this year.”