Suitland 20, Largo 14

For as poorly as No. 14 Suitland played in the first half of its Prince George's County showdown with Largo, the Rams were that good in the second half. Trailing by two touchdowns at halftime, Suitland stormed out of the locker room and rallied to defeat the Lions, 20-14, last night in Upper Marlboro.

After gaining only 49 yards of total offense, losing two fumbles and giving up long touchdown runs on consecutive plays to Largo early in the game, Suitland overpowered the Lions late in the contest behind a trio of running backs. Robert Sanford carried 11 times for 47 yards and a touchdown for the Rams. Monty Clayton added 59 yards on five carries and another touchdown and Navorro Bowman punished the Largo defense with 114 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.

"Our corps of running backs is great," Bowman said. "We give 100 percent all the time. We know one of the running backs is going to do what they know how to do on the field and that's what we did tonight. We played hard and didn't give up."

Suitland (6-0 overall, 5-0 Prince George's 4A) also was playing with a bit of extra motivation. After playing, being an assistant coach and ultimately the head coach for the five previous seasons at Largo, Eric Wade found himself on a different sideline as an assistant for Suitland.

"It's very emotional for Coach Wade," said Suitland Coach Nick Lynch. "Coach Wade had a lion sticker on the back of his car and our kids ripped it off. It was special and I'm glad we played the way we played."

Early in the game, it appeared that Suitland would be victimized by a lackluster effort. After turning the ball over on downs to the Rams at the Largo 39, Suitland watched Largo (3-3, 2-3) running back Charlie Rivers (18 carries, 133 yards) escape pressure in the backfield and run untouched down the right sideline for a 6-0 lead.

The Rams promptly gave the ball back to Largo when they fumbled the ensuing kickoff and then watched again as Rivers knifed through the Suitland defense for 30 yards and another score. All it took was two plays and 15 seconds for the Rams to trail 14-0.

But Suitland was a different team in the second half. The defense clamped down and the combination of Sanford, Clayton and Bowman quickly wore down the Lions defense. After Bowman rumbled 28 yards early in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 14, Largo appeared exhausted. This time it was the Lions' turn to fumble the kickoff and Sanford took the next handoff and went 21 yards untouched for the final margin.

"It tells you a lot about our team," Lynch said of his team's second-half rally. "Their fortitude, their will to win. They never got down and to come out here and play like they did in the second half is a tribute to our coaching staff."