For all that went wrong for his team Saturday, Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Tom Green could take solace following the Raiders’ 49-7 loss to No. 13 Suitland that the postseason remained a strong possibility.
Roosevelt could have made the math simple; a win would have secured the Raiders a playoff berth. But after Roosevelt committed five turnovers during a first half in which Suitland scored 42 points, it was clear the Raiders would be dependent on the performance of others to sew up the fourth and final playoff spot in the Maryland 4A South region. They needed Wise to complete an undefeated regular season by beating Bladensburg, and one-loss DuVal to put away winless Parkdale, and both of those scenarios came to fruition.
So yes, there was some solace for Green and his players. But only a little.
“I should have better prepared our guys today,” Green said.
Typically, the coach noted, when his team competes against regional powers such as C.H. Flowers or Wise or Suitland, his players enter the locker room on game day with a steely focus. That wasn’t the case Saturday, a day on which the contest was a half hour later than usual due to an SAT exam that morning. Green said many of his players were lackadaisical during the team’s walk-through.
“I should have got into ’em then and try to do something to turn that around,” Green said, “but I didn’t.”
Suitland began the game with a five-play, 66-yard drive on which the play-calling was simple: Hand the ball to senior tailback Anthony Squire. He gained all the Rams’ yards on that drive, including four on a touchdown run.
“We knew that we couldn’t take them lightly because they needed to go to the playoffs,” said Squire, who finished with 15 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns. “So we had to come out strong.”
Suitland scored 35 points in a second quarter that proved disastrous for Roosevelt. The Raiders fumbled on the final play of the first quarter, then three more times in the second. One fumble occurred in their own end zone; another was returned 22 yards for a score. Roosevelt threw an interception during the second quarter as well.
“They’re bigger up front than us, so we had to kind of work and work and work to try to slow them down,” Suitland Coach Ed Shields said. “And the guys just did a good job of doing that today.”
Roosevelt (7-3) will play at top-seeded Wise (10-0) in the first round of the playoffs next weekend, while Suitland (9-1), the No. 3 seed, will play at DuVal (9-1). The Tigers defeated Suitland, 26-6, on Oct. 6. When asked if he was looking forward to the rematch, Squire grinned.
“Of course,” he said.