When DuVal beat Wise by one point in the second week of the season, the Tigers turned some heads, not only because they beat the defending Maryland 4A state champs, but because they did it in the kind of low-scoring, hard-hitting game that would normally play into the hands of the Pumas’ always daunting defense.
When the Tigers beat Wise again in the 4A South semifinals Saturday, this time 14-12, it was the closest, lowest-scoring game they’d played since their 14-13 win against the Pumas in September. Undeterred by Wise’s cooling of its normally explosive offense and a sloppy field that slowed both teams’ ground games, DuVal turned to its defense again. The Tigers forced four turnovers and held Wise to 207 total yards to prolong a season in which they believe they’ve been underdogs the whole way.
“We needed to win that game because we were doubted from the jump. That motivated us, we were underdogs yet again,” senior running back Terrence Davenport said. “We were underdogs yet again.”
Davenport and the Tigers (10-1) won’t be favorites next week, either. They'll travel to No. 5 Suitland (11-0) in a rematch of a 21-6 Rams win in September in which DuVal looked discombobulated offensively by Suitland’s speedy, relentless defense.
While Wise’s season came to an earlier end than the Pumas (7-4) have come to expect in recent years, the reigning champs managed a strong season despite unexpected losses and injuries to key players (see Penn-State bound senior defensive back Marcus Allen), which combined to necessitate near-constant lineup shuffling. While Allen, bruising back Adam Gillis Jr., big tight end Micah Till, and quarterback Isaiah Black will all depart, the Pumas still return several starters and a corps of underclassmen with significant game experience borne of in-season lineup adjustments. . . .
In the other 4A South semifinal, No. 5 Suitland did what Suitland does: shut up and shut down opponents. In the Rams’ second game against C.H. Flowers (7-4) in four weeks, Suitland frustrated the Jaguars so completely that Coach Mike Mayo was ejected and his sideline called for multiple fouls.
Suitland held Flowers, which was playing without injured starting quarterback Malik White, to 169 yards of total offense, and kept the Jaguars out of the red zone after the second quarter.
“The defensive line did a great job of pressuring their quarterback and stopping their run game in the backfield,” said Suitland senior quarterback Wesley Wolfolk, who threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns on 13-of-18 passing. The guy who stood out “is the same guy that stands out every week, [senior linebacker] Anthony Jackson. He’s just a great linebacker, our leader on defense. He helps the defensive line out. He’s always getting to the ball every play, keeping everyone tight, keeping everybody’s heads up.”
Jackson recorded 171 tackles, 37 for losses, five sacks, six forced fumbles, and three interceptions during the regular season....
Top-seeded Surrattsville (9-2) advanced to the Maryland 1A North final against Sparrows Point (8-3) with a 35-0 win over Friendship Academy of Engineering and Technology (7-3) on Saturday. Amaru Major rushed for 197 yards on 11 carries and Alonzo Anderson rushed for two touchdowns to spark the Hornets.
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