No elephants made their way into Fort Washington on Friday afternoon. Gymnasts weren’t leaping through blazing hoola-hoops at the 50-yard-line. There were no monkeys riding in on miniature motorcycles to catch the matinee matchup either. So, the circus wasn’t technically in town, but some of the acts put on during Surrattsville High School’s 38-28 victory against Friendly would have a bona fide shot at getting a tryout for one.
The Hornets’ first play from scrimmage was an untouched, 85-yard touchdown from Amaru Major. That was about as normal as their scoring would get. That half also included two blocked punts, another 85-yard touchdown, this one from Friendly’s Ronald Bell, and a double-spinning pirouette of a touchdown, also from Bell. And that was just the warmup act.
On the Hornets’ first drive of the second half, quarterback Robert Harris III dropped back on fourth-and-15 on the Friendly 25. Getting pressured quick off the snap, he launched it towards the right pylon, a Hail Mary at the least. As Gary Brown worked to get under it, his feet slipped and he dropped flat on his back in the end zone. And, lo and behold, there came the ball, floating directly on top of his chest as the safety flew past. Touchdown.
“Only on TV,” Surrattsville coach Robert Harris Jr. said if he had ever seen anything quite like the slew of eyebrow-raising touchdowns. “Only on made-for-TV movies. Little Giants or something orchestrated.”
“I had no clue. I was on the ground,” said Harris III, who went 3-for-3 for 47 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. “I actually didn’t know [Brown] caught the ball, but when the ref put his hands up I knew my receiver made a play.”
On Surrattsville’s next possession — which the Hornets attained by means of a Brown interception in the end zone — Harris III worked some of that Little Giants magic again. On fourth-and-goal from the Friendly 8-yard line, the junior quarterback tossed a fade to Ryan Wilcox, who grabbed it, had it punched out, then lurched for it again. As he was falling backwards out of bounds, he somehow corralled the tumbling ball with his right arm before hitting the turf all the while keeping two feet in the end zone. Touchdown.
“Not in real life,” Harris III said if he had ever had receivers make better catches than the pair on Friday. “That was a big play by both of my receivers.”
But then it was Friendly’s turn. As Harris III was on his first touchdown, Friendly quarterback Tarik Smith was under an immense amount of pressure. And, as Harris III did, he hauled up a wobbly duck of a prayer in the general direction of Ravon Davis. Brown underestimated the carry it would have and the ball veered over his head. The safety giving help did just the opposite, and a receiver (roster was incomplete) got under it with nothing but green ahead of him. Touchdown.
With the exception of one, the rest of the scores would be somewhat normal, only because they were in comparison to the outrageous few that preceded them. Major — who finished with a surreal line of: career-high 302 yards and two touchdowns on just 24 carries — chipped in another 37-yard score. Harris III found Wilcox again on a leaping grab in double-coverage. And then, wrapping things up in fitting fashion, Davis took back the ensuing kick-off 75 yards, jetting from one end of the field, breaking a few tackles, flitting backwards for a few yards, switching fields, then making it into the end zone.
In the end, however, not even a pair of blocked punts, a kick return, and a fortunate 63-yard touchdown could keep Surrattsville, which clinched the first No. 1 playoff seed in school history, from spoiling the Patriots’ senior night.
“We’re going to rest up but we’re going to continue grinding,” Major said. “We’re going to watch more film, be in the weight room more, getting our bodies to give more hits and take more hits. But we got [Frederick] Douglass next week.”
Note: Ronald Bell was banged up on a 4-yard reception midway through the fourth quarter. Trainers dressed his injury in a makeshift sling on his right shoulder. He was taken off in an ambulance “as a precaution,” according to Friendly coach Peter Quaweay. Bell finished with 134 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries and added eight yards receiving on two receptions.
Surrattsville 38, Friendly 28
Surrattsville (8-1) 8 0 14 16 — 38
Friendly (4-5) 0 14 0 14 — 28
S — Amaru Major 85 run (Amaru Major run)
F — Ronald Bell 4 run (Isiah Ryans pass from Tarik Smith)
F — Ronald Bell 85 run (Tarik Smith run failed)
S — Gary Brown 25 pass from Robert Harris III (Isiah Butler kick failed)
S — Ryan Wilcox 8 pass from Robert Harris III (Amaru Major run)
F — 63 pass from Tarik Smith (Ronald Bell run failed)
S — Amaru Major 37 run (Amaru Major run)
S — Ryan Wilcox 14 pass from Robert Harris III (Amaru Major run)
F — Ravon Davis 75 kick return (Ja’quan Jackson run)
Surrattsville — Amaru Major 24-302; Alonzo Anderson 10-26; Daquan West 5-17; Robert Harris III 3-1. Friendly — Ronald Bell 13-134; Kendrick Smith 2-9; Ja’quan Jackson 2-3; Ravon Davis 6- (-) 5; Tarik Smith 6- (-) 25.
Surrattsville — Robert Harris III 5-9-67-0.
Friendly — Tarik Smith 9-20-154-1; Ravon Davis 1-5-4-1.
Surrattsville — Gary Brown 2-45; Ryan Wilcox 2-22; Joel Dixon Jr. 1-0.
Friendly — Ravon Davis 2-64; Ja’quan Jackson 2-33; Isiah Ryan 2-24; Alameen Murphy 1-17; William Rosier 1-12; Ronald Bell 2-8.