Gwynn Park High School senior quarterback Jay Adams had been giving instructions all night — telling teammates when to enter and exit the game and where to line up.
So with his team facing a fourth-and-1 near midfield in the fourth quarter, Adams didn't hold back.
“We can get it,” Adams said. “Coach, we can get it.”
Gwynn Park called timeout, and Adams said he lobbied for a running back to take a handoff.
His coaches listened, and two plays after Gwynn Park got a first down on a run up the middle, Adams threw his third touchdown pass.
By Gwynn Park's next possession, Adams was on the sideline bobbing his head and singing to himself as No. 6 Gwynn Park completed its 29-14 win over No. 4 Eleanor Roosevelt on Friday.
“I was in my zone,” Adams said. “I was just in a rhythm. I just tried to stay in a rhythm tonight.”
The game was the opening act of the PG Pigskin Classic, a set of three games at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex pitting 4A teams against 2A teams. Saturday, Potomac (vs. Suitland, 4:30 p.m.) and Frederick Douglass (vs. Henry A. Wise, 7:30 p.m.) will try to match 2A Gwynn Park's upset of a larger, 4A team.
“That wasn't an upset at all,” Gwynn Park coach Danny Hayes said. “The bottom line is just that we're waiting for games like this. We want to play the 4A.”
Said Adams: “We wanted to send a message. They always say 4A is the powerhouse of PG, and we just felt like it was different. In my opinion, 2A is the hardest division. So, we wanted to come out and show 2A football is what it's about.”
To best its larger opponent, Gwynn Park changed its typical play-calling.
“Gwynn Park has been known to be a run-first team,” said Adams, a third-year starter. “So, when my coaches told me the game plan, that we was going to throw, all I thought to myself was, 'I've been waiting three years for this opportunity.'”
Adams delivered. He completed 10-of-15 passes for 255 yards to six different receivers, including throwing two touchdowns to Quinton Harris.
Between his passes, Adams managed substitutions, even overruling coaches on the sideline when they sent an extra player in by error.
“I kind of tried to take the pressure off the players and put it all on me, Adams said. “Whether it's my fault or not, on offense, I'm going to tell the players, 'It's not you. It's me. I should have had you in line.'
“I just try to be the general for the team.”
After the game, Adams ran to hug Eleanor Roosevelt coach Tom Green.
Adams' great, great grandfather had 32 children, and Adams and Green are related. Adams doesn't know exactly how, but his philosophy is if you want to be part of the Adams family, it will take you — even if you coach the opposing team.
“I just told him, 'Good game, Unc,” Adams said.
Green praised Adams' play, and though his team made several costly mistakes, Green didn't use it being opening night as an excuse.
“It's Week 1 for them, too,” Green said. “They played a better game than us, and they beat us. It's embarrassing, but the blessing is it's Week 1 and not Week 10.”
Adams said he wouldn't bring up his victory at the next family reunion, but Green shook his head at that notion, too.
“He earned it. He can,” Green said. “... It goes with the territory, because had it been the other way around, I would have brought it up.”
Gwynn Park 29, Eleanor Roosevelt 14
Eleanor Roosevelt (0-1) 0 0 8 6 — 14
Gwynn Park (1-0) 8 7 8 6 — 29
GP — Quinton Harris 11 pass from Jay Adams (Omar Branch run)
GP — Quinton Harris 47 pass from Jay Adams (Ryan Shymoniak kick)
GP — Omar Branch 2 run (Marcus Porter run)
ER — Mike-Ryan Mofor 7 run (Mike-Ryan Mofor run)
GP — Davonte Young 47 pass from Jay Adams (kick failed)
ER — Teke Carlson 9 run (run failed)
Eleanor Roosevelt — Mike-Ryan Mofor 17-77, Carlson Teke 170-40, Jaharr Johnson 1-3, Elijah Liverette 3-(-8).
Gwynn Park — Omar Branch 8-24, Terrell Hawkins 1-6, Daylon Travers 3-5, Darius Spragley 1-3, Stephen Isreal 2-2, Marquis Moody 1-(-3), Eddie Gross 5-(-8), Jay Adams 5-(-8).
Eleanor Roosevelt —Teke Carlson 10-21-123-0
Gwynn Park — Jay Adams 10-15-255-0.
Eleanor Roosevelt — Elijah Liverette 4-52, Mike-Ryan Mofor 4-41, Jawuan Brown 1-19, Casey Saton 1-11.
Gwynn Park — Quinton Harris 4-74, Davonte Young 2-66, Duan Woods 1-48, Omar Branch 1-42, Kimothy Bynum 1-25, Eddie Gross 1-0.