Wise capped the first undefeated regular season in school history Saturday when the Pumas beat Bladensburg, 32-8. Bladensburg was just the third opponent this season to score on Wise, and none of those opponents tallied more than 14 points against the Pumas defense.
Yes, it’s been a banner year for Coach DaLawn Parrish and his squad. They had come close to posting an undefeated regular season in each of the past three years, but settled for one-loss campaigns each time. But Parrish said Monday he’s not relieved in the slightest to scratch that achievement of his coaching to-do list.
“For me, I want to win that championship; that’s what I want,” Parrish said in a telephone interview. “I mean, being undefeated is just a curse to me. A lot of teams that go undefeated in the regular season don’t make it out of their own region.”
On Saturday, Wise (10-0) will host Eleanor Roosevelt (7-3) in the first round of the Maryland 4A South Region playoffs. Even though the Pumas pummeled the Raiders at home, 39-0, on Sept. 15 – and even though the Raiders are coming off a 49-7 thrashing at the hands of Suitland – Parrish said his players know better than to overlook Roosevelt this time around.
“If you look at Roosevelt’s record, they have lost the games where they’ve turned the ball over,” Parrish said. “When they haven’t turned the ball over, they’ve won. So if they can not turn the ball over, they’ve proven that they can stay in the game.”
Roosevelt lost five turnovers during its loss to Suitland on Saturday, and the Raiders tallied five turnovers against Wise in September. Led by senior linebacker D’Angelo Niler, the Pumas defense is more than capable of forcing opposing offenses into making bad decisions, but again, Parrish cautions against too much optimism.
Last season, Wise went 9-1 in the regular season and then fell to Suitland, 21-20, in the first round of the playoffs.
“We got a taste last year of losing in the first round, so we definitely know what that feels like,” Parrish said. “A lot of these seniors, they were there. They was on that team that lost in the first round. They know it can be done. It has happened to us. And that’s our motivation — not to let it happen again.”
Forestville punched its return ticket to the postseason with a 24-6 win over Fairmont Heights on Saturday, securing the fourth seed in the Maryland 1A South. The Knights — who had made the playoffs five straight seasons before missing out last fall — will travel to two-time defending state champion Dunbar on Friday night.
Forestville (6-4, 4-4) struggled with turnovers on Saturday but pulled away from the Hornets (1-9, 1-7) in the second half behind senior Jourdan Ginyard and junior Marcel Joly. The pair combined for 270 rushing yards and all four touchdowns on 20 carries. Ginyard, a wide receiver who has seen increased time at quarterback in recent weeks, also completed two passes for 34 yards and recorded 12 tackles with two forced fumbles on defense.
The Knights turned the ball over three times in the first half and led just 6-0 at intermission. After fumbling it away again on their first drive of the second half, Coach Charles Harley made a more conscious effort to get the ball in his two most explosive players’ hands.
Joly scored on a 42-yard run on the ensuing drive and later added a one-yard touchdown run. Ginyard closed the scoring with a 26-yard touchdown scamper in the final quarter.
“It wasn’t anything fancy,” Harley said. “After [the fourth turnover], we said, ‘Okay, it’s going to be the J and J show — the Jourdan and Joly show.’ ”
Elsewhere in the region, Surrattsville (5-5, 3-4) needed a victory over Gwynn Park (9-1, 7-1) to earn its second straight postseason berth but fell 36-0. Junior quarterback Jay Adams rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another score in the victory. Despite eight straight victories, the Yellow Jackets settled for the fourth seed in the perennially tough Maryland 2A South and will begin the playoffs at McDonough. The Hornets lost four of five games to close the season. . . .
No. 18 Douglass rolls into the playoffs after beating Friendly, 8-0, for its seventh straight victory — and sixth shutout in that streak. The Eagles (9-1, 8-1) didn’t score after freshman Devin Butler reached the end zone on a one-yard quarterback sneak in the first quarter, but the Patriots — who had scored at least 40 points in four straight games — came up on the short end of the defensive battle. Douglass will kick off the playoffs by hosting Patuxent on Saturday, while Friendly (6-4, 5-3) earned the No. 4 seed in the Maryland 3A South and travels to No. 20 Huntingtown on Friday night. . . .