DeAndre Smith sparks Wise to victory over Eleanor Roosevelt

By James Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 25, 2010; 11:24 PM

Wise defensive back Chaudlier Shepard admits he isn't known for his jumping ability. Among the shortest players on the field, he is often lost among the mass of bodies.

So when the 5-foot-6, 140-pound sophomore picked off a pass from Eleanor Roosevelt quarterback Shawn Petty with a little more than a minute remaining to preserve his team's 22-14 Prince George's 4A win in Upper Marlboro on Saturday afternoon, it wasn't his 26-inch vertical jump kicking in. It was something else.

"Adrenaline," he said. "It's just adrenaline. I just got up there and took the ball. That's what I do."

The first half featured a pair of sputtering offenses, ending in an 8-8 deadlock. The Pumas (3-1, 3-1) could muster only one trip to the red zone, scoring when defensive back DeAndre Smith, also the team's quarterback, stepped in front of an Eleanor Roosevelt pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders (3-1, 3-1) scored their first touchdown with a bit of luck when Petty fumbled going in from the 1, the ball bouncing into the hands of running back Jairus Cook, who ran it in.

But in the second half, the Pumas relied on the legs of Smith and their speedy running back Uriah Bethea, who finished with 126 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries and converted two two-point conversions.

Roosevelt got back into the game with the scrambling and arm of Petty, who threw for 198 yards. The Raiders pulled even at 14-14 with a five-yard run by senior fullback Cody Acker near the end of the third quarter.

And though they managed to move the ball against the Puma defense in the second half, the 12th-ranked Raiders hurt themselves with turnovers. Three second-half giveaways, including two fumbles on quarterback-running back exchanges, were costly. One led to a Wise touchdown early in the third quarter.

But things were still even to start the final quarter, with the heat approaching 90 degrees and showing little sign of abating. Wise's receivers had repeatedly told Smith to get them the ball, promising to make a play. Shepard, who also plays wide receiver, was the one who delivered, outjumping a defender for a crucial 25-yard catch. It was Smith's only - and biggest - completion.

"I was just winded from the game," Smith said. "It's hot outside, you know, a long game, a physical game. I just know that if I throw it up to my receivers and give them a chance to catch the ball, that they will come through for me."

Seven plays later, Bethea scored from the 1 to give the Pumas the winning margin.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company