After getting bottled up for most of yesterday's game, Eleanor Roosevelt running back Edwin Rios burst out when his team needed it most. And when the final seconds expired, after Rios's game-winning 26-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, Roosevelt players celebrated as though they had won a state championship.
In a matchup of Prince George's County powers, Rios rushed for 66 of his 80 yards in the second half to lead the ninth-ranked Raiders to a 19-13 comeback victory over No. 15 Suitland before 2,000 in a Maryland 4A first-round game in Greenbelt. Roosevelt quarterback Wendall Williams, who threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Hewan in the first quarter, added 62 yards on 14 carries and sophomore fullback Daniel Silva, a call-up from the Raiders' junior varsity team, had 72 yards on 14 carries.
With its first victory over Suitland since 1995, Roosevelt (10-1) advanced to a semifinal game on Saturday in Baltimore against Patterson, which defeated Lake Clifton, 18-6, yesterday.
Suitland, which lost in the Maryland 4A championship game the past two seasons, finished 8-3.
"This was a big ballgame," Rios said. "They are the only team in the county we hadn't beaten yet. This was for bragging rights and to be the top dog in the county."
In the teams' meeting during the regular season, also at Roosevelt, Suitland dominated the line of scrimmage in handing Roosevelt its only loss of the season, 23-7. Yesterday, however, Roosevelt was able to rush for 244 yards on 55 carries and held a 12-minute 30-second advantage in time of possession.
After Rios's go-ahead touchdown run up the middle with 8:39 left, Suitland managed one first down before punting and the Rams ran out the remaining 6:14, gaining 49 yards on 12 plays, all rushes.
When the win was sealed, Raiders Coach Rick Houchens was doused with a water cooler and the players danced around the sideline; one even turned a cartwheel.
"We had to come out and prove we had unfinished business," Houchens said.
Suitland used a pair of big plays to take a 13-10 lead midway through the third. Running back Jamal Barnes's 61-yard run set up a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Duane Smith in the first quarter and running back Lenwood Dozier had a 40-yard touchdown run with 4:39 left in the period. But Roosevelt place kicker Dan Remsberg's second 31-yard field goal tied the game at 13-13 with 1:11 left in the third.