There has been a clear divide between the Class 1A football teams in Prince George's County.
Surrattsville High School and Forestville are a combined 32-6, winning 14 straight, against Central and Fairmont Heights since 2004. Surrattsville and Forestville have each made the playoffs multiple times in that span, and Central and Fairmont Heights have not qualified at all.
Yet, when it comes to playing the top teams among the larger schools in the 3A/2A/1A League, the distinction matters little.
In the same span, Surrattsville and Forestville are a combined 6-54 on the field against Frederick Douglass, Gwynn Park, Potomac and Friendly. (Gwynn Park forfeited wins against Surrattsville and Forestville in 2007.) In fact, Surrattsville and Forestville have lost a combined 12 straight against those currently 2A teams.
Off to their best starts in years and coming off a tightly contested matchup between the two (Surrattsville won, 22-20), Surrattsville and Forestville have a chance to reverse the trend in the next four weeks.
Surrattsville still plays Gwynn Park, Friendly and Douglass. Douglass, Friendly and Potomac remain on Forestville's schedule.
“If you don't play the best, if you don't show up and line up against the best, you can't never be the best,” Surrattsville coach Robert Harris said. “So, the challenges are welcome because we know where we're trying to go.”
The biggest challenges might come this Saturday when Surrattsville (6-0) plays Gwynn Park (6-0) and Forestville (5-1) plays Frederick Douglass (4-2). Surrattsville has lost at least nine straight on the field and five straight overall to Gwynn Park.
“Several of our players went to school with them from middle school to elementary, and they live in our community, and they go to barbershops,” Surrattsville senior defensive lineman Daevon Johnson said. “So, we really want this win so we can brag. Every year they brag about blowing us out or just beating us. So, we really want to beat them to show the county that we deserve more respect than what we're getting.”
Harris said not enough people realize how good 1A teams can be, but he believes his squad — which already beat Woodrow Wilson, a Washington, D.C. school with an enrollment equivalent to a Maryland 4A school — could change perception.
“I definitely think this is a team that can challenge some people,” Harris said. “This is a team people have to stand up and take notice of.”
In their inaugural meeting in 2007, Suitland beat Henry A. Wise 29-0.
In the next four years, the games between the two 4A powers — three Suitland wins and one Wise win — featured margins that combined to 29 points.
The series took another turn last season, when Wise beat Suitland 41-6 in the 4A South Region title game.
Wise coach DaLawn Parrish called such a big win in the rivalry an aberration, and he's expecting a competitive contest when the teams meet at 2 p.m. Saturday.
With Penn State recruit and safety Marcus Allen sideline for the season due to injury, Wise has shut out its last two opponents.
“Some of the things we might lack intellectually right now within our system, we're making up for it with sheer athletic ability and determination,” Parrish said.
Sitting fourth in the 4A South Region playoff-point standings, Wise (4-2) holds a 15-point advantage over fifth-place Oxon Hill and could move as high as second in the region, but cannot pass first-place Suitland (6-0) this weekend.
Gonzaga at DeMatha, 7 p.m. Friday
DeMatha and Gonzaga are the only undefeated teams in Washington Catholic Athletic Conference play. DeMatha, which lost four straight to Gonzaga before a win in last season's WCAC semifinals, would guarantee itself the No. 1 seed in the playoffs with a win.