All throughout a season focused on establishing Surrattsville as a legitimate Prince George’s County contender, Hornets Coach Robert Harris has emphasized finishing: getting that final stop to put drives — and games — away.
Finishing made the difference in a 22-20 statement win over Forestville on Monday afternoon. The Hornets’ last win over the Knights came in 2007.
Twice, when the Knights had scored touchdowns to cut the Hornets’ lead, Surrattsville’s defense rallied, standing up would-be two-point converters to retrieve some momentum. Then, with Forestville trying to engineer a go-ahead drive and needing to convert a fourth-and-short near midfield with one minute to go, Surrattsville (6-0, 4-0 Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A) pushed the Knights’ quarterback back to regain possession and seal the win.
“We’ve always been a good defense. The offense came through and we were able to get that final stop,” Hornets defensive lineman Daevon Johnson said. “That’s what we’ve been about all season, the final stop. Our coach always tells us we can’t take a single play off.”
Against a Forestville team (5-1, 3-1) that hadn’t given up a point in three straight games coming into Monday’s matchup, it was the Hornets who impressed. Surrattsville turned stops into points when Isiah Butler hit Forestville quarterback Earon Settles before he could throw, forcing a fumble that Johnson picked up and carried 20 yards to the end zone. Linebacker Alonzo Anderson and corner Ryan Wilcox both had interceptions, and safety Amaru Major leaped and tipped a ball away to break up a near touchdown.
“I feel like we’ve got the monkey of the ‘ville’ — you know, who’s the best ‘ville’ — off our back,” Harris said. “Our seniors had never beaten them, so it’s a good feeling for them. [Forestville] is a good team. We knew it was going to be like this.”
The “this” to which Harris referred was a high-energy game filled with many decibels of sideline-to-sideline banter and palpable on-field intensity. The field itself, still soggy from a week of rain, caused cleats to slide at inopportune moments, tripping up receivers and runners from both sides, adding to the tension.
“It was very tough [to run on the field],” said Major, who also rushed 19 times for 128 grueling yards, many with Knights defenders hanging on trying to bring him down. “I just tried to stay on my toes and keep moving my feet.”
That field and still-formidable Knights defense held the Hornets to four first downs and 218 yards of total offense. But a few big plays, some key fourth-down tackles, and a few timely stops made three touchdowns enough.
“It’s been a long time since Surrattsville beat Forestville, so it feels good that we’ve done it,” said Hornets quarterback Robert Harris III, who threw for 65 yards and a touchdown.
“Our defense played really well today. They played big, especially in the fourth quarter. They got that big last stop we needed.”