This story was corrected on Sept. 16. An explanation of the correction follows the story.
The people and the hats.
Henry A. Wise High School linebacker D'Angelo Niler couldn't stop thinking about the people and the hats.
After the Wise football team lost to Eleanor Roosevelt on a last-second field goal last season — snapping a five-game Wise winning streak in the series — Roosevelt fans rushed the field and the winners received hats from the Great American Rivalry Series.
Niler kept that celebration in mind Saturday, leading No. 2 Wise (3-0) to a 39-0 victory against No. 7 Roosevelt (2-1). Delontae Yancey and Franklin Porter returned interceptions for touchdowns, and Niler kept Roosevelt's run offense in check for a Wise team that has shut out all three of its opponents this season.
Best of all to Niler, he avenged the people and the hats from the Great American Rivalry Series, which promoted the Wise-Roosevelt matchup again this year.
“Every play, I'm thinking about that,” Niler said. “I didn't want them to score. I didn't want them to get a yard.”
Wise and Eleanor Roosevelt — along with Charles H. Flowers and Suitland — have taken the 4A South Region's four playoff spots each of the previous four seasons. In that span, those four teams played each other 35 times and none of the games were decided by more than 28 points.
Niler said Wise's 39-point victory sends a message.
“We come out 100 percent like this, we'll win every game,” Niler said.
Niler certainly came out 100 percent. On the game's first play, he hit an Eleanor Roosevelt ball carrier, Michael Akinlosotu, knocking the ball loose. Wise's Robert Howard recovered the fumble, and Porter ran for a touchdown on the next play. Once Roosevelt go the ball back, Niler kept delivering punishing hits.
“When he hits, he has a bad passion,” Wise coach DaLawn Parrish said.
Asked why his hits seemed especially punishing Saturday, Niler started to answer a few different ways before cocking his head to the side, pausing then resuming his response.
“I really don't like Roosevelt,” Niler said. “That's the team I've always disliked.”
Saturday's game was Roosevelt's worst loss since in at least nine years. The Raiders have been a perennial power for more than a decade, and coach Tom Green challenged his team, which narrowly beat Bowie last week, 22-21.
“If they want to turn it around and try to keep somewhat of the Roosevelt tradition going, we're going to have to make changes,” Green said. “We're going to have to get better.”
Wise 39, Eleanor Roosevelt 0
Eleanor Roosevelt (2-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Wise (3-0) 14 8 10 7 — 39
W — Franklin Porter 5 run (run failed)
W — Chase Powell 1 run (Isaiah Black run)
W — Benjamin Robinson Jr. 27 interception return (Chase Powell run)
W — Chase Powell 56 run (Chase Powell run)
W — Safety: High punt snap kicked out of end zone
W — Marcus Allen 9 interception return (Delontae Yancey kick)
Eleanor Roosevelt — Mike Mofor 13-38; James Warren 10-27; Trenton Lewis 4-9; Miles Robinson 3-7; Darius Major 4-3.
Wise — Chase Powell 7-60; Benjamin Robinson 8-50; Franklin Porter 8-28; Kenneth Scott-Kelow 3-9, Isaiah Black 6-(-8).
Eleanor Roosevelt — James Warren 4-9-32-2.
Wise — Isaiah Black 6-11-52-1.
Eleanor Roosevelt — Trenton Lewis 1-17; Darius Major 3-15.
Wise — Anfernee Perry 1-18; D'Angelo Niler 1-10; Franklin Porter 1-9; Kenneth Scott-Kelow 1-9; Mel Young 1-3; Chase Powell 1-(-7).
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Wise players who returned interceptions for touchdowns.