Maryland 4A South semifinals

Wise scores fourth-quarter touchdown to beat E. Roosevelt, 6-0

By Ted Black
Gazette Staff Writer
Saturday, November 14, 2009; 6:09 PM

In a game filled with turnovers, penalties and missed opportunities on both sides, Wise earned the right to host next weekend's 4A South final with a 6-0 victory against Eleanor Roosevelt on Saturday.

The Pumas next weekend will face C.H. Flowers, which beat Wise, 14-12, in the regular season finale last week. Flowers outlasted Suitland, 34-27, on Saturday in the other 4A South semifinal.

Wise (10-1) defeated Roosevelt (6-5) by the same 6-0 score six weeks ago, when both teams went into the game with 3-0 records. But this time the two squads arrived having lost their previous contests. Wise's nine-game winning streak and state-record eight-game shutout streak ended in its loss to Flowers. Meanwhile, the Raiders had dropped two in a row and three of their last four entering play on Saturday.

Neither team scored in the first half, and each missed a field goal attempt, with the second miss setting up the lone score of the game.

Roosevelt senior place kicker Adam Quigley was short on a 45-yard field goal try in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Wise linebacker/running back Tyrone Gaither caught the missed attempt at his 22-yard line and returned the ball to midfield.

The Pumas, who ran three plays from scrimmage in a third quarter dominated by Roosevelt, went the distance in seven plays. Jabril Baldwin carried three times for 16 yards on the drive, but senior running back Rahsaan Moore got the game's only points on a one-yard touchdown run with 8 minutes 30 seconds remaining.

"I was just looking for a hole on that right side," Moore said. "I wanted to follow a block from the fullback [Quentin Gartrell] and find a hole. I found one on that side and we scored. It was a tough fight. It was frustrating in the first half because we had some good drives and we had too many penalties. Then we were on defense almost the whole third quarter. We rely on our defense a lot. They came up with a big stop in the fourth quarter."

Roosevelt responded with a long drive that again saw the Raiders march deep into Wise territory. A 25-yard pass from Abdul Bangura to Mitch Kempisty on a halfback option enabled the Raiders to get to the Pumas 13-yard line. But the Wise defense stiffened, and the Pumas stopped Bangura on an end around on a fourth down play. And after that, Moore provided the back-breaker.

Three runs from Baldwin gave the Pumas some breathing room before Moore found a huge hole on the right side and raced 56 yards before finally being dragged down from behind by Roosevelt linebacker Julian Rusher. With a first and goal at the Raiders 10 and their opponents out of timeouts, Wise quarterback DeAndre Smith twice took a knee to run out the clock.

"I've been telling Jabril all week that I wanted to break a long run," Moore said. "I thought I was going to score. I looked back and saw the defender coming and I thought he was going to dive at my feet."

Roosevelt second-year Coach Tom Green commended his players for their effort on Saturday. Although the Raiders dropped their last three contests and were eliminated from the playoffs by Wise for the second year in a row, Green could take solace in how his players performed in Saturday's game.

"I think we just didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had," Green said. "But you have to give Wise credit, too. They fought hard and they made some plays. This group of kids that I have really worked hard this year. I had guys that played hard and came to play every game. Each team had a few chances today, and we just didn't capitalize on our opportunities."

Roosevelt put together a 16-play drive late in the second quarter, aided by a fumbled punt by Wise returner Trevon Butler. But the Pumas stopped it when Titus Till intercepted a pass by Shawn Petty inside the 5-yard line.

Just before halftime, Baldwin broke loose for 41 yards to get the ball to midfield. Smith connected with Butler for 34 yards to the Raiders 16-yard line. Three plays later, Vincent Cantorna missed a 29-yard field goal and Roosevelt's Antoine Johnson returned the loose ball to midfield as time expired in the second quarter.

Roosevelt proceeded to control the entire third quarter. The Raiders had a 10-play drive that ended in Wise territory when Petty was sacked on fourth down. Roosevelt followed with another 10-play drive ended with Quigley's short field goal attempt that Gaither returned to midfield to set up the game's only scoring drive.

"We didn't tell any of them that the ball was live [after a field goal attempt falls short] and could be returned, said Wise coach DaLawn Parrish. "He just figured that on his own. That shows you how often teams kick in Prince George's County."

This story is from The Gazette group of community newspapers published by Post-Newsweek Media, a unit of The Washington Post Co.

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