For most of Friday night’s Maryland 4A state title game, both Quince Orchard and Wise tried to rely on their running games. Quarterbacks Matt Choi (Quince Orchard) and Isaiah Black (Wise) each threw fewer than 15 passes the entire game, most of them coming in the fourth quarter. Wise was trailing by one point and time was quickly slipping away.
“We had been running the whole game, but we had no choice but to pass with five minutes left,” junior Micah Till said. “The play was supposed to go to a running back. I’m supposed to be the decoy.”
Till had been double-teamed the whole game, but the Quince Orchard defense didn’t bite. Black hunted for a target and found his best friend, the 6-foot-5 tight end, wide open. “He says I’m always his first option when he’s about to get tackled,” Till said.
The 24-yard pass was what Till had been waiting for all game. He was confident that he could make a big play, and had been asking his coaches all game. He had gotten lucky that the last catch was thrown his way. He wanted the call. “I knew if they gave me chance I would make a play for them and I would do my job. I was just hoping they would give me one chance towards the end zone.”
With 2 minutes 14 seconds left in the game, Till’s wish came true. Lined up in the shotgun, Black took a few quick steps and fired off the ball to Till running a fade route into the end zone. “The call upstairs was to just throw it up and give me a chance,” Till said. With two defenders on him, Till leaped and hauled in the pass for a touchdown that put the Pumas up 12-7.
The remaining few minutes were tense along the Wise sideline as Quince Orchard marched down the field, getting closer and closer to scoring position. A goal-line interception by the Pumas’ a defense sealed the deal. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Wise players and coaches began to celebrate. Everything Till and his teammates had worked for all season had come true. The elusive ring and title, one the team played for and lost in 2009 and 2010, was theirs. While the celebration continued on the field Till walked toward the benches, turned to face the cheering crowd, stretched his arms out wide, and fell backward to the turf.
“I just fell out,” Till said. “All the emotions running through me and my body was tired. I just laid on the ground with nothing else to do. The season was finally over and we won.”
Sidelined last year with an injury, this was Till’s first season to make a statement. He had worked hard for 14 weeks. From two-a-days in August until December, he would practice for hours and then run extra routes with a few of his teammates. He lay on the field soaking it all in and letting it all go at the same time. A few of his teammates gathered around him and lifted him up of the ground.
The first thing he said after getting up was “Oh, I’ve got a game on Wednesday.” Till is also the starting power forward on the Wise basketball team.