Suitland High School, having just thrown an interception that gave Eleanor Roosevelt High School first-and-goal with the score tied in the second half, needed a goal-line stand.
So, of course, Suitland sent its massive, hulking, imposing defensive tackle onto the field:
Five-foot-7, 173-pound Brian Freeman.
“It’s all about the heart,” Freeman said.
No. 4 Suitland stuffed No. 9 Eleanor Roosevelt with three straight sacks, including Brandon Brown’s on third down and Freeman’s on fourth down, and scored the game-winning touchdown on its next possession en route to a 22-14 win Friday in Greenbelt.
“Long before I got here, they were tough,” Suitland coach Ed Shields said of his team. “I just think that their toughness showed up today. They’re not big guys, but they fight. As long as they fight, we have a shot.
“I’ll go in an alley with these guys any day. They’re tough little kids.”
After Suitland forced the turnover on downs, senior quarterback Wesley Wolfolk threw a 45-yard touchdown pass Robert Wigfall on the third quarter’s final snap. That drive lasted just three plays, including another 25-yard pass to Wigfall.
Shields said the touchdown play was also used in the first half, but Wolfolk missed the read. With momentum on its side, Suitland called the play again, and Wolfolk delivered.
After shutting out Potomac High School in its season opener, Suitland allowed Eleanor Roosevelt to move the ball pretty well in the first half. At halftime, Suitland defensive coordinator Ian Hale expressed his dissatisfaction, telling his players he was already down because his mother is in the hospital.
“We decided we had to play for him,” Brown said.
In the second half, Suitland shut out Eleanor Roosevelt, keeping a steady rush on the quarterback and fittingly ending the game on Anthony Ruffin’s sack.
Eleanor Roosevelt junior offensive lineman Isaiah Prince — who just added a Tennessee offer to a list that already includes Florida, Maryland, Penn State and Virginia — watched from the sideline after breaking his leg late in a season-opening loss to Gwynn Park. It seems Prince could have helped keep Eleanor Roosevelt quarterback Carlson Teke, who ran for two touchdowns, on his feet.
Prince might be out for the season, but if Eleanor Roosevelt makes the playoffs, there’s a chance he could return.
As a couple Suitland assistants left the field, one told Eleanor Roosevelt coach Tom Green there teams would meet in the playoffs and the other said Eleanor Roosevelt would go undefeated the rest of the season after its 0-2 start. With a remaining schedule that includes only one team ranked in The Gazette’s top 10 — Henry A. Wise, which lost to DuVal on Friday — that seems plausible.
“We’re not far away from being a good team,” Green said.
And if everything begins to come together, there’s the motivating factor of seeing Prince play again this season.
“If we have to make the playoffs to get him back, we’re going to fight,” Green said.
Suitland 22, Eleanor Roosevelt 14
Suitland (2-0) 0 14 8 0 — 22
Eleanor Roosevelt (0-2) 6 8 0 0 — 0
ER — Carlson Teke 2 run (run failed)
S — Wesley Wolfolk 1 run (kick failed)
S —Robert Wigfall 11 run (Joshua Burke run)
ER — Carlson Teke 15 run (Carlson Teke run)
S — Robert Wigfall 45 pass from Wesley Wolfolk (Joshua Burke run)
Suitland — Robert Wigfall 10-53, Joshua Burke 9-47, Avory Wood 1-4, Wesley Wolfolk 7-(-5).
Reginald Gardner 5-10, 4-10, Brandon Brown 1-(-3).
Eleanor Roosevelt — Jawuan Brown 7-69, Carlson Teke 25-62, Kharie Lawrence 4-37, Mike-Ryan Mofor 6-18, Elijah Liverette 3-9.
Suitland — Wesley Wolfolk 4-13-87-2
Eleanor Roosevelt —Carlson Teke 2-8-12-1.
Suitland — Robert Wigfall 3-86, Nicolas Nelson 1-1.
Eleanor Roosevelt — Mike-Ryan Mofor 2-12.