There’s a scene from crime drama “The Wire” in which members of the neighborhood run in fear as the menacing Omar strolls the streets with a shotgun.
So Friday, when the Rough Riders knocked off H.D. Woodson, 20-12, to clinch their first regular season championship since 1979, the team yelled “Omar’s dead!” as they walked off the field.
“Rest in peace to the actual actor who played Omar,” Roosevelt Coach Chris Harden said of Michael K. Williams, who died in September. “Much respect to him — this was all in fun for the team. But after hearing it every week, we used it as motivation and said, ‘Guys, if we want to do this thing [and win a championship], we’ve got to go take care of Omar.’ ”
Roosevelt beat Dunbar on Oct. 16, paving the way for it to clinch the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title this past weekend.
In response to Dunbar’s big field entrance with Omar’s whistle (The Wire) Roosevelt HC Chris Harden had an analogy for it… clear message to his Rough Riders— Unsung Prospects (@ProspectsUnsung) October 17, 2021
“Omar got killed.. went down by a youngin, we them youngins” @roughridersfb_ pic.twitter.com/LuXKBboGBp
Since Harden took over the program in 2016, the Rough Riders have won consecutive Gravy Bowl championships and a D.C. State Athletic Association Class A title. All of that success led to the school being promoted from the Stripes division of the DCIAA to the Stars division.
After struggling in its first season in the higher division, Theodore Roosevelt is the favorites to win the Turkey Bowl this Thanksgiving.
“When we came up divisions, a lot of coaches downplayed our accomplishments and said, ‘That’s gravy; that’s not turkey,’ ” Harden said. “I told our guys, ‘We have a closet full of gravy, so now we need some turkey.’ ”
— Tramel Raggs
Yorktown, back on track, readies for a big finale
Yorktown had a bye this past week. Coach Bruce Hanson told the Patriots to use it to better themselves instead of looking ahead.
But if a Yorktown player had begun thinking about the regular season finale, you could hardly blame him. If they win Friday’s game against rival Washington-Liberty, the reward for the Patriots (6-3) would be twofold: They would be crowned Liberty District champions, and they would get the unofficial title of Arlington County champs — having beaten the third Arlington school, Wakefield, earlier this season.
“Somebody told me a long time ago that winning the Arlington County championship wasn’t a big deal,” Hanson said. “And I said, ‘Well, you don’t live in Arlington.’ This means a lot to us, the idea of being the best in Arlington. We’ve talked about it from Day 1.”
The ability to control their own destiny is a surprise for the Patriots, who started 2-3. After falling to Madison, one of the area’s best teams, Yorktown dropped close games against two more strong Concorde District teams, Oakton and Westfield, and found its positive start slipping away. The Patriots were improving every week but were suddenly on a three-game skid.
“We were playing fine, but we weren’t playing good enough to win against those teams,” Hanson said. “But we didn’t get down; we just tried to correct a few things. Our kids knew we could be better.”
Since that loss to Westfield, the Patriots have gotten their season back on track with four straight victories. Hanson said the improvement is directly tied to the fact that this is one of better practicing teams he has had in his 36 years at Yorktown.
“Every time we’re out there, it really feels like we’re getting better,” he said.
— Michael Errigo
Players of the week
RB Deviell Drummond-Wiggins, Hayfield. The senior went off in a win over Mount Vernon, racking up 287 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
RB/DB Amare Ary, Laurel. The junior did a little bit of everything during the Spartans’ 41-10 win over DuVal; he accounted for over 325 total yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
WR Jamall Worrell, Blair. The junior scored three touchdowns in the Blazers’ 28-19 win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase. He caught six passes for 162 yards and two scores before returning a kickoff 82 yards to the end zone.
RB/S Isaiah West, Georgetown Prep. The senior caught a touchdown pass and added the two-point conversion just before halftime, then had a clinching 80-yard rushing touchdown and added an interception in the final minutes of a 22-7 win at St. Albans.
Games to watch this week
South County at Lake Braddock, 7 p.m. Friday
South River at Great Mills, 7 p.m. Friday
DeMatha at Good Counsel, 7 p.m. Friday
Suitland at Eleanor Roosevelt, 7 p.m. Friday
St. Mary’s Ryken looking to stay on top
Coach Aaron Brady knew what he was getting into before, during and after he scheduled traditional powerhouses in the first three games of the season for St. Mary’s Ryken. The Knights dropped their season opener at Mount St. Joseph, which is now 7-2; they lost to a top-50 team in the country in St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.), 40-0; and they went scoreless again at Gonzaga.
They went 28-6 over the previous three full seasons, and suddenly they were 0-3 this fall.
“You really find out where you’re at,” Brady said of playing nationally respected opponents. “And we’re close; we just couldn’t get over the hump a couple of those weeks. But we are definitely playing our best football right now, which is always your goal.”
Sure enough, seven weeks later, Ryken (4-5, 3-0 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) is back where it was in 2018 and 2019 — preparing to play for a division title.
Since the WCAC split into divisions in 2018, Ryken is undefeated in the lower-tier Metro. The Knights are 14-1 overall against Metro opponents, counting the postseason.
“It would be easy for the seniors to just drop their heads or lose interest,” Brady said, “but they haven’t.”
Ryken’s Metro dominance gets its toughest test yet in Friday night’s home game against No. 7 Archbishop Carroll (9-0, 3-0).
— Jake Lourim
Richard Montgomery retains bragging rights
Richard Montgomery’s players are accustomed to claiming bragging rights in Rockville, having beaten Rockville High five consecutive times entering the rivals’ game this past Friday. But there was reason to believe that would change this season.
Enduring its worst campaign since 2014, Richard Montgomery entered its regular season finale with a 3-5 record. Rockville has emerged from its place in the Montgomery County cellar over the past few years and visited Richard Montgomery at 6-2.
But Richard Montgomery showed it’s still the better team with a 35-10 victory over the Rams. Rockets players celebrated by forming “horns down” gestures with their index and pinkie fingers.
“We’ve definitely heard a lot about them,” Richard Montgomery linebacker Mason Hirshfield said. “They have a great record. They’ve definitely improved. There’s a lot of talk about them. A lot of people had us losing, but we know what we’re capable of. And we all played to our full potential. We’ve got to keep doing that.”
Friday’s victory was a much-needed confidence boost, Hirshfield said, after a 34-14 loss to Churchill on Oct. 22. The Rockets revisit Churchill on Friday to begin the Maryland 4A West playoffs.
“We’ll remember last game — that’s how we’re going to keep the focus,” Hirshfield said. “Remember what happened last time, and we’re not going to let that happen again.”
— Kyle Melnick