It’s not as if Wise senior tailback Chase Powell had been having a poor season prior to his last two games. That’s the point Pumas Coach DaLawn Parrish keeps trying to make, to Powell and anyone else who will listen.
But through his first three games, Powell said he felt like he was short-changing himself and his teammates. He said he wasn’t accelerating quickly enough through the holes opened by his offensive line.
His approach to carrying the ball has drastically changed of late. On Saturday, Powell led the eleventh-ranked Pumas to a 47-8 thrashing of No. 17 Northwestern (4-1). He needed just 10 carries to produce 257 yards and four touchdowns to push Wise to 5-0.
“We just want Chase to get a little bit of room, because we know if Chase gets a little bit of room, Chase is going to make it happen,” Wise senior fullback Franklin Porter said. “Chase is one of the best running backs in [Prince George’s] County, and he proved it today.”
At the very least, Powell provided more evidence for such a claim. Saturday’s performance came on the heels of a 51-14 win at Bowie in which he tallied 211 yards and six touchdowns on 19 carries.
So to review: Through the first three weeks of the season, Powell recorded 253 yards and seven touchdowns combined on 33 carries. Not bad at all.
In Wise’s past two games, he has registered 468 yards and 10 touchdowns on 29 carries. After Saturday’s victory, Parrish seemed unfazed when reminded of the recent spike in his lead back’s production.
“I’ve always said, ‘If it’s not a running clock, you’re going to get to see what Chase do,’” Parrish said.
It came to that after Powell’s final touchdown run — a 57-yarder during which he broke several tackles near the line of scrimmage – against Northwestern. That score started a running clock with just more than four minutes remaining in the game.
Powell “is a lot more physical than he was last year, and he’s a lot stronger,” Northwestern Coach Bryan Pierre said. “He broke away from a few tackles and took off.”
Northwestern raised a few eyebrows when the Wildcats upset C.H. Flowers, 19-14, last week, but the Wise defense proved too stout for them to pull off a repeat performance. Northwestern’s top two ball-carriers – seniors Darius Victor and John Johnson – combined to produce 91 yards on 22 carries.
Powell credited having to face his own team’s defense in practice each week with his recent improvement. He said a little positive momentum hasn’t hurt, either.
“After last week [against Bowie], I had confidence coming into this game,” Powell said. “I knew what I had to do.”
Related: Suitland tops C.H. Flowers, 26-14