" /> Photos from Saturday's game
" /> Photos from Saturday's game
Henry A. Wise High School quarterback Isaiah Black stepped back and lofted a high pass.
“C'mon,” a Wise player murmured on the sideline as the ball floated through the air. “We've been practicing this.”
Wise had given the play, a jump ball to 6-foot-5 tight end Micah Till out of a tight formation, extra attention the last few weeks. Black, who admittedly struggled throwing the route earlier in the season, and Till even frequently stayed after practice for additional reps.
Although he thought the play would work, Wise coach DaLawn Parrish hadn't called it previously, because he didn't believe it was necessary in other weeks. But on the fifth play of Saturday's 4A South Region championship game, Parrish decided it was time.
Till pulled in a well-thrown pass, the first score in Wise's 41-6 win over Suitland. Wise (12-0) has won four of the last five 4A South Region titles and will play Meade (10-2) next week in a state semifinal.
“These kids are hungry,” Parrish said. “They want to get to the state championship and they want to win it. They're doing everything it takes.”
More than just one pass play, the Pumas practiced for all of it.
They developed depth in case of injury. They worked on jumping slant routes. They talked about starting the second half with intensity.
And, Saturday, it all paid off.
With top running back Chase Powell splitting carries due to a previous injury, five Wise players ran for at least 30 yards: Franklin Porter (84 yards and a touchdown), Black (39 yards), Powell (37 yards), Antwan Benjamin (34 yards and a touchdown) and Kenneth Scott-Kelow (31 yards and a touchdown).
Porter read a slant route early in the third quarter and returned the interception 62 yards for a touchdown.
Just one offensive play into the second half, Wise had scored three times. Porter returned his interception for a touchdown, Scott-Kelow took a direct snap 25 yards for a touchdown, and Wise sacked Suitland in the end zone for a safety. That started a running clock with more than 19 minutes remaining.
“After this one, everything should be coming together,” Porter said. “These last couple of weeks, I feel like we've been struggling because we haven't been putting up no points, no nothing.”
Keep in mind, in the last three weeks, Wise scored 22, 32 and 28 points and won by 22, 24 and 21 points. But those outputs and margins were Wise's smallest since its opener.
For all its preparation, one element out of Wise's control was its opponent in the region title game. Suitland — which had won two straight over Wise, including a 21-20 playoff victory last season that is Wise's only region playoff loss — played DuVal in the other semifinal.
“I was praying that Suitland would beat them, honestly,” said Porter, whose senior class had never beaten Suitland. “Because I just wanted my chance at Suitland. As a team, we all wanted this. And as a team, we all made this work.”
Asked whether this was a successful season, Suitland coach Ed Shields shook his head in every direction while he considered his answer.
“Probably bad time to ask me,” Shields said. “For what they've been up against all season, I'm so proud of them. So, from that perspective, has it been successful? Absolutely.”
The same question remains in the air for Wise, even after claiming a region title.
“It means a lot, but we know that we've got a bigger goal,” Black said. “There's more fish to fry.
“We've still got a lot of work to do, a lot of work to do.”
Wise 41, Suitland 6
Suitland (10-2) 0 0 0 6 — 6
Wise (12-0) 13 14 14 0 — 41
W — Micah Till 27 pass from Isaiah Black (Delontae Yancey kick)
W — Franklin Porter 17 run (run failed)
W — Benjamin Robinson 8 pass from Isaiah Black (Franklin Porter run)
W — Franklin Porter 62 interception return (kick failed)
W — Kenneth Scott-Kelow 25 run (run failed)
W — Sack for safety
W — Antwan Benjamin 3 run (kick failed)
S — Taivon Jacobs 25 pass from Wesley Wolfork
Suitland — Anthony Squire 11-43; Wesley Wolfork 7-15; Taivon Jacobs 1-0.
Wise — Franklin Porter 8-84; Isaiah Black 2-39; Chase Powell 13-37; Antwan Benjamin 11-34; Kenneth Scott-Kelow 2-31; Juwaun Hatton 2-11; Mel Young 1-10; Benjamin Robinson 1-6.
Suitland — Wesley Wolfork 9-18-111-2.
Wise — Isaiah Black 2-2-35-0.
Suitland — Taivon Jacobs 7-88; Akil Washington 2-16; Anthony Squire1-7.
Wise — Micah Till 1-27; Benjamin Robinson 1-8.