At times this season, DuVal had gotten away from the Wildcat package that had become a staple of its football program in recent years. The Tigers instead relied more on an I-formation package designed to put standout tailback Shamik Perry in the most opportune positions.

But entering Saturday’s matchup at Prince George’s County 4A power Suitland, DuVal Coach Dameon Powell knew Perry would draw a significant amount of attention from the Rams’ defense. So he turned back to the Wildcat and asked senior tailback Karee Mines to run it.

A day after DuVal pulled off the 26-6 upset over the then-No. 3 Rams, Powell reflected on Mines’s performance: 13 carries for 51 yards and four touchdowns. And that was just his offensive production. Mines also matched up against Suitland’s All-Met wide receiver Taivon Jacobs, who has orally committed to Ohio State, and held Jacobs to three catches for 42 yards.

Mines “is an explosive player, and Saturday he just came to life,” Powell said Sunday. “He was up for the challenge. He knew this was the week he had to come and shine. He wanted to check Taivon, and he wanted the ball. He knew it was that time.”

Perry – who entered the game with 806 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the season – gained 37 yards on 15 carries Saturday. But with Mines operating in high gear, the DuVal ground game didn’t miss a beat. Powell called the backfield duo of Perry and Mines “a double threat.”

Armed with such weapons – and a stingy defense that held Suitland (5-1, 4-1) to zero net rushing yards Saturday – DuVal (5-1, 4-1) is poised to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The Tigers’ lone remaining regular season contest against an opponent with more than one win is Oct. 20 at Eleanor Roosevelt (5-1, 4-1).

“It’s shaping up pretty well,” Powell said. “I’m just trying to keep the kids down to earth and not get too big-headed. We only have five returning varsity players from last year, so it’s a very inexperienced team. This is all about believing what we’re teaching them and coming out and playing hard every game.”

Friendly gets back on track

Friendly burst out of a three-game losing streak with a 40-18 win over Forestville on Saturday. The Patriots rushed for 339 yards and four touchdowns as a team, with five players gaining at least 30 yards on the ground.

Friendly (3-3, 2-2 PG 3A/2A/1A) had struggled since three players, including senior quarterback Thomas Corbett, were suspended for a game for their roles in an onfield fight in a win over rival Gwynn Park on Sept. 7.

Coach Peter Quaweay said his team “lost continuity” after that game and was particularly troubled by Corbett’s absence. Corbett — a first-year starter — was not ejected against the Yellow Jackets but was punished when tape of the fight was reviewed by administrators. Quaweay said Corbett never threw a punch but faced discipline — including a five-day suspension from school — as an instigator because he pushed a Gwynn Park player after the play before the fight broke out.

The Patriots lost 20-8 at Potomac (Md.) in the game Corbett missed, and Quaweay said the quarterback had not played well in either contest since returning from suspension, including a 36-26 loss to Largo last week when he had two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Corbett completed 7 of 13 passes for 162 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against Forestville (4-2, 2-2) and added a rushing score.

“Hopefully, this can catapult us back to playing good football because we haven’t played good football,” Quaweay said. "We have the talent, but we just haven’t played good football.” ...

Since being blown out by Gwynn Park on Sept. 15, Douglass has won its past three games by a combined score of 126-0. The Eagles (5-1, 4-1) beat Crossland (3-3, 1-3), 54-0, on Friday behind two rushing touchdowns apiece from sophomore Aaron Johnson, junior D’Ondre Mackey and sophomore Mikale Makle. ...

Largo (4-2, 4-1) posted its fourth straight win on Saturday, downing Fairmont Heights, 30-6. The Lions will now face two straight opponents near the top of the league standings on the road, traveling to Potomac (Md.) and then Gwynn Park.

Howard silences Long Reach

There was a lot of trash talk before Howard’s game Friday night at nearby Long Reach. Players traded barbs online during the week and boos rained down on the visiting Lions before kickoff. Howard running back Michael Anderson was sick of it.

“All that did was make me mad,” the senior said. “I was ready for the game to start and I was ready to go off on them.”

Anderson spent the next 48 minutes silencing the Long Reach crowd, rushing for 286 yards on 18 carries and scoring five touchdowns in Howard’s 62-29 win. He scored his first two touchdowns on runs of 50 and 30 yards, respectively, before reeling in his third score of the night just before halftime on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Austin Blair. The senior finished the game averaging just under 16 yards per carry.

“As the night went on, I just kept saying that my goal was to score on every play, because like I said, the hole was always there,” he said. “Even the wide receivers were making big blocks. Everything was just working out well for me playing.”

Anderson’s big night was a high point in what has already been a dominant season. His five touchdowns against Long Reach raised his season touchdown total through six games to 18. No opponent has held him to fewer than 100 yards, and he has scored at least twice in every game while averaging nearly nine yards per carry on the season.

Both Anderson and his coach, Bruce Strunk, credited Howard’s offensive line for much of the running back’s success. With a group of linemen that average 250 pounds paving the way, Anderson continually had big holes to run through.

“I think Michael, he ran exceptionally hard. He’s got good vision, so he can cut on a dime and get to the opening,” Strunk said. “Number two, our offensive line was dominating. There were some times when every play, their line was being pushed back five yards. Our line did a great job, and Long reach is a very good defense.”