Bowie High School football coach Jae Jackson firmly believes he has a playoff-caliber team. He also realizes his team might not make the playoffs.
A forfeit to Charles H. Flowers, another contender for a postseason berth, due to a fight the previous week really set Bowie back. Blowing a fourth-quarter lead against Suitland the next week didn’t help matters.
But a 34-7 win over Henry A. Wise on Saturday finally has Bowie (1-3) back in the hunt.
“We dug ourself a hole, and no one was going to dig us out,” Jackson said. “We had to find our own way to get out. So, it started with the victory against Wise, and hopefully it can continue to build from there.”
Bowie’s road doesn’t get much easier. Its next two opponents: No. 8 Eleanor Roosevelt (3 p.m. Saturday) and No. 7 DuVal.
Once he saw how tough his team’s opening schedule was, Jackson thought it must go 3-3 in its first six games to make the playoffs. That will require Bowie winning its next two.
Jackson said beating Wise wasn’t quite as big as ending a lengthy losing streak last season against Flowers, but if the Wise win proves the catalyst to Bowie’s first playoff berth since 2006, he’d re-evaluate.
“It will be a turning point if we go on to win throughout the season,” Jackson said. “It won’t mean a damn thing if [we] turn around, and we end up 2-8, 3-7, something like that. It won’t mean anything. It will just be a victory over a team on our schedule. The meaning of it will have to come from us in the next seven games.”
DeMatha Catholic running back Taiwan Deal was impressed by how well his teammates competed with each other during practices leading up to Friday’s 21-0 win over Our Lady of Good Counsel.
That competition didn’t end once the game began, either.
Cameron Phillips returned an interception 96 yards for a touchdown and Deal, who’d mostly been held to short gains to that point, definitely took notice.
“Cam gave me momentum,” Deal said. “I said when I came out and got the ball that I needed to do something.”
Something turned out to be a 95-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive.
“Taiwan is always doing stuff like that,” Phillips said.
Not quite. Deal said that’s the longest run he’s ever had, one he hoped would win him the game’s most valuable player award with the Great American Rivalry Series on hand to present it.
But that honor went to Phillips, and finally, the intra-squad competition ended.
“At the end of the day, the better man won it,” Deal said.
Our Lady of Good Counsel at Bishop McNamara, 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Bishop McNamara has lost at least eight straight to Good Counsel, but in the last two weeks DeMatha has ended a four-game losing streak to Good Counsel and Gonzaga ended an even longer skid in the series. At 5-0 and led by offensive lineman Damian Prince, arguably the top recruit in the state, McNamara could follow suit.