Wilson Coach Mark Martin helped put together the team’s schedule with the desire for his players to see how they stacked up against the area’s best. And after they suffered their worst loss since Martin’s first year at the helm in 2011, the Tigers are using that game as a learning lesson.
Wilson was worn down for four quarters by a much bigger and more experienced team in 12th-ranked Good Counsel which resulted in a 49-13 loss. The Tigers saw the heights they have longed to attain in the loss.
“The level of talent [Good Counsel] has, that’s the level they want to be on,” Martin said. “They finally realized you can’t play around, you have to prepare to get to that level.”
Saturday, the stage gets bigger for the Tigers as they travel to Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland for a matinee matchup with DuVal. The 4A South region finalist has crafty junior dual-threat quarterback Antoine Brooks, who amassed 1,000 yards rushing and passing last season.
Brooks ran for 124 yards on nine carries in DuVal’s 21-7 win last season, with 42 yards coming on a fourth quarter touchdown run. Brooks’s big run was the lone touchdown in the second half, and put the game out of the reach.
“Last year, it was a containment problem on the defensive end, and I wasn’t as mature as I am now,” Wilson linebacker-defensive end Kareem McDonald said. “We couldn’t keep the quarterback in the pocket, he kept breaking to the outside and he outran a lot of people. If we can contain him, we should be fine and come out with the win.”
For both sides, it will be their first time playing at Byrd Stadium. DuVal Coach Dameon Powell sees the game as a great way to prepare his squad for a possible late season run to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Powell said. “What I’m telling them is they have to be poised. When you’re excited a lot of mistakes happen. If we can hit them in the mouth and play DuVal football I think everything will be fine.”
A young DuVal defense will attempt to keep Wilson junior running back Abdul Adams (East Carolina) and senior tailback Larry Frazier under wraps. Frazier didn’t participate in the game last season, but Adams left his mark with 125 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.
“We have to hold them from making big plays,” Powell said. Adams “is very good. If we can stop big plays we will be ok. We have a young group on defense, but they’ll be up for the challenge.”
Former H.D. Woodson coach and athletic director Bob Headen guided teenagers for 25 years as the girls’ basketball coach and football coach for the Warriors. He won eight D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association football titles, seven at H.D. Woodson and one at Cardozo. Headen also won 14 DCIAA titles and two City Titles as the girls’ basketball coach.
On Saturday, the legendary coach will be honored during the Warriors’ matchup with Theodore Roosevelt, and the field will be dedicated to him. The Warriors are seeking their first win of the season after a penalty-filled loss at Martinsburg (W.Va.), 24-7.
Woodson totaled 20 penalties and 200 penalty yards in the second half in last week’s loss. The loss snapped the Warriors’ 10-game winning streak that culminated with their 14th Turkey Bowl title a year ago.
The Rough Riders (0-1) enter the DCIAA Stars opener off a loss as well, a 55-8 defeat on the road against GlenOak (Ohio).
“It’s just a wake-up call,” Warriors senior quarterback Rashad Cooper said. “We felt as though we had a good chance of going undefeated. We have to take it more serious and work harder. We lost the out-of-town game, and now we’re ready to go.”
Although Headen is no longer coaching or teaching, he continues to have a close relationship with the program.
“He’s a great guy, I talk to him before games and he says to stay focused,” Cooper said. “He gives me nothing but good advice, and I want to definitely win the game for him. We all look at him and consider him a legend.”
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