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All of the meetings between the Prince George's County 4A League's “Big Four” this season have been wild affairs to say the least, and Saturday's regular season finale between the Suitland and Eleanor Roosevelt high school football teams followed the pattern.
The Raiders (10-0) capped a perfect regular season with a 27-20 road victory against the Rams (9-1). Roosevelt, Suitland and the other half of the Big Four -- Henry A. Wise and Charles H. Flowers -- clinched the four playoff spots in the 4A South Region for the fourth consecutive season. Top-seeded Roosevelt will play host to No. 4 Flowers, and second-seeded Wise will host No. 3 Suitland in the regional semifinals next weekend.
“Suitland is an exceptional team, and our kids kept playing hard and it could have gone either way,” said Roosevelt coach Tom Green. “Usually within the top four teams in the league, it's a one-possession game. We're 10-0 but we could easily be 7-3.”
Earlier this season, Roosevelt kicked a last-second field goal to beat Wise, 23-22, and the Raiders held off a comeback by Flowers to earn a 20-12 victory. Suitland was a 19-18 winner against Flowers, and Wise beat the Jaguars, 21-20.
Saturday's game between Roosevelt and Suitland nearly broke the mold. The Raiders seemingly were on their way to a two-touchdown victory after senior Tyrone Temoney ran six yards for a touchdown that gave Roosevelt a 27-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. But Suitland responded.
Rams' quarterback Nyema Washington (17 for 28, 244 yards, two touchdowns) connected on a 53-yard touchdown pass with senior wide receiver Taivon Jacobs (seven catches, 124 yards) to cut the Raiders' lead to 27-20 with 2:44 remaining in the game.
Following that play came a nearly inexplicable mistake by Roosevelt. Suitland attempted an onside kick, but the ball traveled only 2 yards before coming to a stop. All the Raiders needed to do was avoid touching the ball and wait for the referees to blow the play dead, since onside kicks must travel at least 10 yards before the kicking team can recover. But Raiders linebacker Matt Jacobs made contact with the ball, and after players from both teams piled on, Suitland emerged with the recovery and had one last chance to tie the game.
The Rams picked up two first downs, but eventually turned the ball over on downs, and Roosevelt quarterback Shawn Petty took a knee to end the game.
“You make mistakes against a quality opponent, you're going to struggle,” said Suitland coach Ed Shields. “Give Roosevelt credit, they did a good job, but some of the things were on us.”
Shawn Petty was effective in the passing game, completing 7 of 15 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. B.J. Antoine made an acrobatic one-handed catch for a 30-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Petty rolled out of the pocket, signaled for receiver James Warren to break his route and go deep and then lofted a ball that Warren snagged and took to the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown.
Suitland running back Anthony Squire, the county's leading rusher, had 23 carries for 92 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown run.
Roosevelt 27, Suitland 20
Roosevelt (10-0) 8 12 0 7 -- 27
Suitland (9-1) 7 0 7 6 -- 20
S: Squire 15 run (Thomas kick)
R: Temoney 30 pass from Petty (Petty run)
R: Antoine 30 pass from Petty (run failed)
R: Warren 58 pass from Petty (pass failed)
S: Evens 14 pass from Washington (Thomas kick)
R: Temoney 6 run (Ambe kick)
S: Jacobs 53 pass from Washington (kick failed)
Passing: R - Shawn Petty 7-15-222; Tamlin Antoine 1-1-32. S - Nyema Washington 17-28-244-1
Rushing: Shawn Petty 14-40; Tyrone Temoney 2-13; Jermaine Boykins 4-16; Joe Ukwu 5-15; Isaac Ajanklekoko 1-3. S - Anthony Squire 23-92; Nyema Washington 5-11; Jamie Wigfall 1-3
Receiving: R - Tyrone Temoney 5-83; Tamlin Antoine 2-67; James Warren 3-124. S - Taivon Jacobs 7-124; Akil Washington 4-50; Shaneil Jenkins 1-16; Anthony Jackson 1-14; Greg Evens 2-23; Anthony Squire 1-8; Robert Burke 1- -1