The Suitland and Charles H. Flowers high schools football teams are both 7-0 and tied atop the Prince George's County 4A League. That will change when they meet 6 p.m. Saturday at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.
But one coach in the matchup doesn't see the teams as evenly matched, at least on paper right now.
Flowers coach Mike Mayo called Suitland the “class of the league this year.”
Why not his own team?
“The talk has been we haven't played anybody,” Mayo said. “They've had some tough games. ... If I was looking at them and looking at their schedule and how they played, I would say that they're probably the best team in the league so far this year. But we'll see.”
Flowers has yet to play a team that has received a vote in The Gazette's top 10 poll at any point this season. Suitland, on the other hand, has played five. Flowers' lone scheduled opponent that would have qualified, Bowie, forfeited its game against Flowers.
But Flowers will make up for lost time with its closing stretch of schedule with No. 3 Suitland, No. 5 DuVal and Henry A. Wise (tied for 11th in votes received).
In the meantime, Suitland quarterback Wesley Wolfolk believes his team's schedule better prepares it for Saturday's game.
“It helps us a lot,” Wolfolk said. “I think we're ready mentally for any game.”
At stake is the inside track for the 4A South Region's No. 1 seed, which grants home games for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs and a first-round matchup with the lowest seed. The latter advantage might not mean much, though.
“I wish somebody would tell me what's the worst team,” Suitland coach Ed Shields said. “There are none in P.G.”
He should know. His team has already played several of the county's best.
Flowers doesn't has that advantage, but Mayo isn't fazed.
“We're just going to play the teams that we've got in front of us right now, and that's what we've done all year,” Mayo said. “We know we're going to be challenged, and it's up to us to step up and do what we need to do.”
Suitland wide receiver/defensive back Nick Nelson has become just a defensive back.
Nelson slightly fractured his left hand two weeks ago, and he's wearing a cast that would make catching passes impractical. Shields hopes Nelson can remove the cast in a couple weeks, but until then, Nelson is focusing on defense.
“His cover ability is just phenomenal,” Shields said. “I'd like to say he's a better receiver, but that's really hard.”
Shields even compares Nelson, who holds a scholarship offer from Temple, to Taivon Jacobs, a 2013 Suitland graduate who now plays for Maryland.
“What helps him is he's big. He's physical. He's kind of different than Taivon, who was muscles but was really dzjoom, dzjoom, dzjoom, dzjoom,” Shields said zigging and zagging his hand through the air. “Nick has a little bit of zoom, but he's bigger. He's given us kind of that Taivon factor on both sides of the ball.”
Bishop McNamara lineman Damian Prince was presented with his Under Armour All-America High School Football Game jersey Oct. 17. The game is schedule for 4 p.m. Jan. 2 in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised by ESPN.
“To be selected to be in the Under Armour All-America game is a really big deal for me,” Prince said in a statement. “I'm really grateful to all my teammates, family and coaches that have helped me along the way to this, because they're the reason I'm here. Particularly, I'd like to thank my mom who has been with me since the beginning and will always support me with whatever I want to do.”
Prince is considering Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
No. 4 Charles H. Flowers vs. No. 3 Suitland, 6 p.m. Saturday at Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex
The last undefeated 4A teams in Prince George's County play for not only the inside track for the 4A South's No. 1 seed, but also a chance at the state's top overall seed.