With a 47-0 win over Oxon Hill Saturday, DuVal reminded Prince George’s County — and perhaps even itself — that the Tigers were a blocked field goal away from the state semifinals last year for a reason.
A tumultuous start to the season had blurred the memory: the Tigers opened with two straight losses — one a penalty-riddled loss to Wilson in their opener at the University of Maryland and the other a close loss to rival Wise. A few weeks later, their 48-0 win over Parkdale was deemed a forfeit by Prince George’s County athletic officials for an offseason violation. Therefore,DuVal began the season 0-3.
The Tigers (4-3, 4-2 Prince George’s 4A) sat at 3-3 entering last week’s game against the Clippers, perched in playoff position for the moment, if somewhat unconvincingly. A dominating shutout and a typical 100-yard rushing, 100-yard passing performance from quarterback Antoine Brooks later, DuVal was back, and convincingly.
“There were some tough times, but they fought through the adversity, and they’re just now starting to click,” DuVal Coach Dameon Powell said. “They’re really starting to have fun, not worrying about someone else doubting their season. So the best we can do is control our destiny, and they’re really starting to play really well.”
Brooks never stopped playing well. As the Tigers shuffled the do-it-all junior’s role and even used him for a few plays at wide receiver , he continued to carry the DuVal offense as he did throughout last year’s playoff run.
But punishing defense is the Tigers’ trademark, and Brooks has contributed to that, too. With eight interceptions through seven games, he’s nearly as much of a threat to earn points defensively as with the ball in his hands. He’s the big-play force on a defense built around big-hit forces, too: linebackers Tommar Phillips and Tolu Adeboyeku have been stifling presences in the middle, particularly against Oxon Hill.
“Oh man, they played well,” Powell said of the defense. “They had a zero, a doughnut. That’s what we strive for. They played together and they sparked the offense to keep going.”
If the playoffs started this week, DuVal would have one of the four playoff spots in Prince George’s 4A. They start in three weeks, of course, and in the meantime the Tigers play two teams with losing records and Flowers -- who they beat 40-19 last season.
No one’s surprised when Eleanor Roosevelt runs the ball. Through seven straight wins so far this season, that’s been the plan again and again for the Raiders (7-0, 6-0 Prince George’s 4A).
No one’s surprised when the Raiders run the ball effectively, either. With one of the area’s most sizable offensive lines and the explosive Mofor brothers pinballing through defenders from the backfield, Roosevelt’s ground game has been consistently strong from the season’s first drive.
But somehow on Saturday, in a 47-6 win over Parkdale, Roosevelt’s running game surpassed the expected: senior Mike Mofor, whose younger brother Karl has been a staple in the backfield too, this season, charged over the Panthers for 320 yards on 15 carries and scored four touchdowns. The performance was by far the best of his season, though he had a 260-yard showing against Oxon Hill in Week 4 and has rushed for 100 yards or more in five of seven games for the Prince George’s 4A leaders this season.