Prince George’s high school football players and coaches are hoping for drier, stronger field conditions this week than they saw on Monday, when fields still soaked from days of rain affected results of the county’s rescheduled games, slowed down offenses, and, in some cases, altered the course of seasons.
Eleanor Roosevelt (2-4, 2-3 Prince George’s 4A) may hold the biggest grudge against Mother Nature as the tough-luck loser of a mud-slowed 8-0 game at Wise (4-2, 3-2). Late in the fourth quarter, on a field Wise athletic director Jason Gordon said was more playable early in the weekend than it was when the teams faced off Monday, Raiders’ fullback Sammy Raymond took a fourth-down handoff but slipped feet from the goal line. Roosevelt’s bid for a touchdown and potential game-tying two-point conversion slipped away, too — as did, in all likelihood, the Raiders’ playoff hopes.
Squishy fields slowed runners all over the county, including Surrattsville’s Amaru Major. Prince George’s top rusher with 1,019 yards had to battle for 128 yards on 19 carries on a soaked field Monday. He said it was “really tough” to run on the lumpy, slippery Hornets’ turf in his team’s 22-10 win over Forestville . A handful of would-be big plays for both sides ended before they began when runners or targeted receivers lost their footing.
Gwynn Park Coach Danny Hayes said his Yellow Jackets (6-0, 4-0 PG 3A/2A/1A) who won 36-0 over Largo (1-5, 1-4), lost a few players — including their backup quarterback — to ankles turned by the unpredictable footing.
“It was pretty tough,” Hayes said of the field. “Two soccer games were played on the field before us, and then we had to play on it. It just wasn’t good. Hard to turn, hard to run. We got a couple of injuries because of it.”
And in what turned into the game of the week — Douglass’s crazy 34-32 double-overtime win over Potomac (2-4, 2-2 PG 3A/2A/1A) — poor field conditions seemed to slow everybody but the Wolverines’ Kesean Strong, who rushed 24 times for 252 yards.
“The field was wet and muddy, but he looked like he was playing on a dry surface,” said Douglass Coach J.C. Pinkney, whose team improved to 4-2 (3-1 PG 3A/2A/1A) with the win. “That kid is the real deal.”
“[The field] was still soft, the turf kicked up a lot, I think that’s what slowed down the teams [in regulation]. It was so tough to move the ball once we started chopping the field up. But when we got into overtime, the end zone we were working into was a little better, so overtime period picked up well.”
“Field conditions were the major factor in the game. Both teams had problems with footing,” Oxon Hill Coach Craig Jefferies said. “Our defense played well. . . they just took it upon themselves to will themselves to win.”
The Clippers had just 102 yards of total offense in the victory.