The Henry A. Wise High School and Meade High School football teams — opponents in Saturday’s 4A 1 p.m. state semifinal game at Wise — scrimmaged each other before the season. As part of a five-team event, Wise and Meade each ran 10 plays on against the other.
“I remember, basically, we moved the ball,” Wise quarterback and strong safety Isaiah Black said. “They didn’t. ...
“They had a whole season to go through. Everybody gets better, but we’ve gotten better.”
“Scrimmages mean nothing,” Wise linebacker Franklin Porter said. “We can’t take nothing from a scrimmage. In a scrimmage, they probably didn’t show nothing. We didn’t show nothing.”
It’s fairly clear that Meade (10-2) has gotten better. Meade lost 40-8 to Arundel and 28-18 to Old Mill during the regular season before playoff wins over those teams — 36-28 against Arundel and 28-21 against Old Mill — to win the 4A East Region.
Wise (12-0) took a more direct approach to its 4A South title, winning its games by an average score of 41-4 and every contest by at least 20 points.
It’s difficult to evaluate Meade because no team in its league, the Anne Arundel conference, has played a non-league game.
Since the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association adopted its current playoff format in 2003, teams currently in the Anne Arundel conference have gone 4-8 at the state level. In the same span, teams currently in the Prince George’s 4A league have gone 6-6.
Wise has faced two Anne Arundel conference teams in the playoffs. Wise beat Broadneck 14-7 in a 2010 semifinal and lost to Old Mill 17-16 in the 2009 final.
Meade has never advanced past a state semifinal and hadn’t reached this level since 2001.
This year’s Meade team, according Wise coach DaLawn Parrish, is a spread team most similar to Bowie High School among teams Wise has already faced. Meade is led by Marcus Smith (830 passing yards, 810 rushing yards), Tyree Turner (888 passing yards, 151 passing yards), Kyle Evans (1,062 rushing yards) and Anthony Watkins (770 receiving yards).
But the Wise defense — which narrowly missed its eighth shutout of the season when it allowed Suitland’s Taivon Jacobs to catch a long touchdown pass on the final play of a 41-6 region championship game victory — will be a tough test.
On the other side of the ball, Wise has relied on several different running backs in recent weeks as Chase Powell has dealt with an ankle injury. After missing Wise’s first round win over Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Powell rotated snaps against Suitland and finished that game with 37 yards on 13 carries.
To Porter, who led Wise with 84 yards against Suitland, it’s clear what Parrish should do against Meade if Powell is healthy.
“Chase is our best back,” Porter said. “When I seen Chase practicing, if he says he’s going to go this week, honestly, we want Chase to get the ball. He gives us the best threat.”
After his team beat Suitland, Parrish reminded his players of the Meade fans who cheered after Meade’s region final victory that Wise was next.
“If we’re next, Porter said, “we’re going to find out next week who’s really next.”