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Chesapeake rides running back into semifinals; Wise looks thoroughly dominant

Also in this week’s high school football notes, Centreville learns to beat the same team twice, and we hand out WCAC superlatives

Running back Victor Listorti has powered Chesapeake to the Maryland 3A semifinals. (Jaimie Hurst)
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When Chesapeake Coach Rob Elliott began watching Victor Listorti in a local youth program about a decade ago, Listorti was short and skinny. But Elliott saw potential in him because of his aggressiveness and determination.

In high school, when Listorti grew to 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds, he possessed the size and attitude to become a star running back. This season, the senior has rushed for 1,866 yards and 26 touchdowns to lead Chesapeake to its second Maryland 3A semifinal appearance.

“His strength and his speed have really increased as he’s come through high school,” said Elliott, whose team beat Atholton, 27-0, in the quarterfinals. “So he’s really a kid that’s really developed each year. It’s been dramatic improvement over top of dramatic improvement.”

Football Top 20: St. John’s affirms No. 1 ranking with WCAC championship victory

Elliott expected Listorti to break the Anne Arundel County program’s single-season rushing record, which Listorti accomplished when he elapsed 1,500 yards this month. But Elliott wondered if his squad’s young offensive line could help Listorti reach his potential.

After growing pains in a 2-2 start, the Cougars (10-2) have won their past eight games by an average of 29.3 points. Chesapeake reached the semifinals for the first time in 2018, when it fell to Linganore by 39 points.

“We were happy to be there,” said Elliott, whose squad will visit Northern on Friday night. “It made it not seem like such a far-fetched goal. Now it’s trying to get that step: Can we get one more game than we did in ’18?”

— Kyle Melnick

Wise leaving no doubt in playoffs

After dominating Prince George’s County — and the state of Maryland — in recent years, Wise appeared vulnerable this season, needing narrow escapes against C.H. Flowers and Eleanor Roosevelt.

But if the postseason reveals a team’s true quality, the 4A playoffs have shown Wise is still the cream of the crop. In three playoff games, the Pumas (11-0) have outscored opponents 178-17, including a 62-2 win over Blair in the quarterfinals Friday.

“I think that the biggest difference for us is that we’ve gotten to consistently play games during the playoffs — unlike the regular season, when we would miss a game here or miss a game there because of covid,” Coach DaLawn Parrish said.

Consistency has played a part in the Pumas’ resurgence, but the recent play of Buffalo commit Nik McMillan and Maryland-bound Jayden Sauray is what makes Wise the favorite to win its sixth state championship.

Against Blair, Sauray accounted for six touchdowns — three of which came on passes to McMillan, a wide receiver who has fit in just fine after transferring in the summer.

“Jayden trusts me enough to know that in a one-on-one situation, nine times out of 10 I’m beating my man,” McMillan said.

With C.H. Flowers knocking off Broadneck, 43-36, in overtime Saturday, the scene is set for a rematch of their Oct. 9 game. The Pumas won that matchup, 20-19, on a failed two-point conversion by Flowers.

“The key to our success is just winning on all [sides] of the ball,” McMillan said. “When the offense, defense and special teams are all hitting, can’t no team in Maryland play with us.”

— Tramel Raggs


Players of the week

WR/CB Nik McMillan, Wise. The senior did a bit of everything in the Pumas’ 62-2 win over Blair: He had 186 receiving yards and three touchdowns and also added an interception.

WR Braden Boggs, Battlefield. The sophomore helped keep the Bobcats’ perfect season alive with 193 receiving yards and three touchdowns in a 48-13 rout of Osbourn.

LB/FB Hunter Green, Arundel. The senior set up the winning score in his team’s 29-21 win over Seneca Valley. He blocked a punt in the third quarter that the Wildcats recovered for a touchdown before he ran in the two-point conversion.

WR DJ Linkins, St. John’s. The senior was the star of the Cadets’ electrifying passing attack in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game, posting four catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-14 victory over Good Counsel.

Games to watch this week

Northwest at Quince Orchard, 7 p.m. Friday

Freedom (Woodbridge) at Battlefield, 1 p.m. Saturday

C.H. Flowers at Wise, 1 p.m. Saturday

Maret vs. Bell, 4 p.m. Saturday, at Georgetown University

Centreville learns to beat the same team twice

High school football coaches like to say it’s hard to beat the same team twice. But there aren’t many adages that describe how difficult it is to beat the same team twice when that opponent is your biggest rival and a spot in a region final is on the line.

That was the challenge Centreville faced this past weekend as it took on Westfield in a Virginia Class 6 Region D semifinal. The Wildcats beat their neighboring foe, 20-0, in the regular season finale. But a program such as Westfield is bound to make adjustments, which is why the Wildcats had beaten it twice in the same season just once before — in 2013, when Centreville went undefeated and won the state title.

“We can’t avoid the rivalry stuff and the things people like to talk about,” Wildcats Coach Jon Shields said. “But when we were preparing for this game, the focus is on how we can get better and how we’re going to handle the adversity that is sure to come.”

Friday’s game started with the teams trading scores, and it was tied at 14 by halftime, a sign that this meeting might not go like the previous one. But Shields said his team showed no panic at halftime, and he tried to mimic that calm.

“There was no screaming and yelling,” Shields said. “It was just a lot of talk about staying focused and making adjustments.”

The Wildcats pulled away in the second half for a 28-14 victory. Junior running back Isaiah Ragland, a workhorse all season, finished with three touchdowns. Centreville will face Madison, arguably the strongest Class 6 team in Northern Virginia, in the region final.

“You always want to practice on Thanksgiving to play that weekend,” Shields said. “For us to get here shows the improvement of the team and the program. … All you can ask for is the opportunity to play games like this.” ​​

— Michael Errigo

Handing out WCAC superlatives

A normal fall season is in the books for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, so ahead of next month’s All-Met selections, here are a few awards:

Best comeback: Good Counsel wins this one with a one-week turnaround: The Falcons were thoroughly dominated, 28-0, by DeMatha at home Nov. 5, then edged the Stags, 17-15, in the WCAC semifinals a week later.

Best upset: For its third straight championship in the Metro division, St. Mary’s Ryken stunned previously unbeaten Archbishop Carroll, 24-12, two weeks after losing to the Lions at home.

Best play: St. John’s running back Jamar Curtis’s 74-yard run against Good Counsel on Oct. 30, for the sheer speed of it. When the Cadets took the field at their 26-yard line, the game clock showed 6:00. When Curtis crossed the goal line, the clock read 5:50. Including a shotgun snap and a handoff, Curtis had traveled 79 yards from north to south, in pads, against a defense, in 10 seconds.

Best game: By now, it seems to be a contractual agreement that St. John’s and Gonzaga must play a close game in the regular season finale. Even this year, with St. John’s entering at 8-0 and Gonzaga at 5-4, the rivals played a 20-17 slugfest that Gonzaga led at halftime. The Cadets escaped with a win after salting away the last 8:38 on one offensive series.

— Jake Lourim