The Bowie football team had been within striking distance of perennial regional power C.H. Flowers at halftime in recent contests between the two programs. The Bulldogs dropped a 7-6 decision last season and fell in overtime to the Jaguars, 13-10, in 2010. So Bowie Coach Jae Jackson did not take an extreme amount of comfort when his team entered the intermission up, 6-0, Saturday.
Bowie, after all, had not defeated Flowers since 2001, and Jackson reminded his senior leaders in the locker room how significant an accomplishment ending that losing streak would be.
“These guys wanted to leave their mark,” Jackson said. “I told them, ‘You’ll make history by beating these guys. There will be legions of Bowie alumni football players who will be proud of you. . . . We still have to finish out the game, and you still have to lead this team, because you guys will be the ones who are remembered as the class that beat Flowers.’ ”
Indeed they will. Bowie upset Flowers, 32-6, and threw a considerable wrench into the Jaguars’ playoff plans. At 5-3, Flowers has an extra, unexpected loss on its record entering this weekend’s matchup against No. 3 Wise (8-0).
And after Eleanor Roosevelt (6-2) knocked off then-No. 15 DuVal, 39-0, on Saturday, the Jaguars suddenly have ground to make up in the chase for the fourth and final Prince George’s County 4A South region playoff spot.
At 4-4, Bowie is out of the playoff picture, which may have made Saturday’s triumph even more special for Jackson, his players and his assistants. Three Bowie assistants were on Flowers’s staff last season, Jackson said, “so it was a big game for them, too.”
The Bulldogs overcame two early turnovers with a stout defensive effort predicated on showing multiple fronts. Bowie frequently alternated between using three to five defensive linemen, which helped the Bulldogs negate Flowers’s rushing attack.
“With the different fronts jumping around, I don’t know if that may have confused their offensive line or anything like that,” Jackson said. “But it helped us on defense and gave our guys confidence that we could stop them three times in our red zone.”
Gwynn Park Coach Danny Hayes said his team hasn’t done much different during its six-game winning streak, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
Since falling to Friendly, 8-6, on Sept. 7, the Yellow Jackets have been dominant, outscoring their opponents, 245-24. They continued the impressive run on Saturday against Largo, scoring three touchdowns in the first nine minutes of a 39-8 home victory.
“Sometimes as a father figure you can’t give the kids a choice,” Hayes said. “Basically, they know they don’t have a choice right now but to do what they’re doing. They have to limit their mistakes if they want their season to go farther” than the end of the regular season.
Gwynn Park (7-1, 6-1 Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A) has built its success on the ground, averaging nearly 240 rushing yards per game as a team. Seniors Marc Bronson and Joseph Hayman have carried the load, combining for 1,317 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns. Junior Eddie Gross — a McNamara transfer — rushed for a season-high 135 yards on 10 carries this week against the Lions (4-4, 4-3).
The Yellow Jackets — who entered the week fourth in the Maryland 2A South standings — also forced four turnovers in Saturday’s win, which moved the team closer to its 11th state playoff berth in 13 years. Hayes said this group reminds him a bit of the Gwynn Park team that won the Maryland 3A title in 2005, led by former University of Maryland standout Adrian Moten.
“The players and coaches are all on the same page right now,” Hayes said. “There are no individuals with this group. That’s how it needs to be. . . . That’s the difference between sitting at Ravens Stadium watching the [state championship] game and being there to play.” . . .
Potomac (Md.) senior Antonio Washington turned in his second 300-yard passing performance of the season in the Wolverines’ 44-6 win over Crossland. The second-year starting quarterback completed 16 of 26 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns and also added a rushing score. Washington leads the county with 1,517 passing yards in eight games. Potomac (Md.) improved to 6-2, while Crossland lost its fifth straight to fall to 3-5.