SUITLAND – Suitland celebrated senior day before the game’s coin toss and seemed poised to bring home a warming win against Charles H. Flowers. The Rams (6-1) delivered in the end with a 20-7 victory. However, it just wasn’t warm, easy or good. Flowers won the toss and elected to receive, but in what would […]
SUITLAND – Suitland celebrated senior day before the game’s coin toss and seemed poised to bring home a warming win against Charles H. Flowers.
The Rams (6-1) delivered in the end with a 20-7 victory. However, it just wasn’t warm, easy or good.
Flowers won the toss and elected to receive, but in what would become the case for the entire first half, Suitland’s defense, led by linebacker Khalil Beasley, stifled the Jaguars’ passing game. That quickly put the load on Flowers’ senior back Jose Holloway. Flowers’ offense, aside from Holloway, was stale the entire first half.
On the opposite side of the ball, Suitland wasted no time and fed its beast in Rakeem Darden. The 5-11, 211-pound running back ran as if he were a man amongst boys. Darden exploited every opening that was available to him and made sure to shake, run over, or stiff-arm a defender every time he touched the ball. He would end the day with 169 rushing yards and two scores.
“I know that my offensive line has put in a lot of work over the summer. I trust them,” Darden said. “I feel as if it is on me to reward them by getting yards. If they do their job, I’ll do my job and the whole offense will prosper.”
Darden’s stellar rushing attack opened up the passing game for sophomore quarterback Donta Anthony, Jr. Despite struggles against the wind, he finished the game completing 7-of-12 passes.
The same couldn’t be said for the Jaguars. The wind, coupled with the Rams’ front seven, proved to be a problem for Flowers quarterback Russell Gantt, Jr. The sophomore struggled with making proper decisions and getting the ball out of his hands as if he wasn’t in rhythm with any of his receivers. He threw an early interception on a jump ball and was sacked often – sometimes consecutively. Beasley had three sacks and contributed to the ugly performance of the young quarterback.
With or without the wind, both teams couldn’t seem to keep a steady hand on the ball. Flowers often ended possessions by turning the ball over on downs, while Suitland turned it over on aborted snaps. Both teams were tagged with a plethora of penalties as well.
Both starting running backs, Suitland’s Darden and Flowers’ Holloway, fought hard all day long. Darden got the win, but Holloway played just as well despite having two long touchdown runs called back for holding. His coach, Cato June, said he had empathy for his senior stud.
“It’s tough because he’s a senior in his fourth year in the program,” June said. “His senior year is not going like he envisioned.
“I am proud of him. He keeps sticking through. He’s playing with a lot of guys who have never played varsity before. When things are not going well you tend to slack, but he’s kept fighting and has kept being positive. It’s tough for him, but it’ll be a good lesson for the future.”
The message June preached to his team after the game was one of comfort and endearment, as the fact had settled in – this Flowers team (2-5) has missed its chance at the playoffs.
“The message is sometimes in life, when you give everything you have and lay it all on the line, you still come up short,” June said. “You still have to overcome adversity and move on.”
In contrast, Suitland Head Coach Ed Shields wasn’t too pleased with his team’s performance despite the win.
“Lackluster. Unfocused. Too much about senior day and not much about the game,” Shields said. “We just weren’t focused at all.”
For the Rams’ next game against DuVal, Shields’ message to the team was to “get better. And if they don’t get better, they’re going to be in trouble.”
Flowers 0 0 0 7
Suitland 7 7 0 6
S- Rakeem Darden 5-yard TD run, 0-7
S- Darden 2-yard TD run, 0-14
F- Malcolm Johnson 10-yard TD run, 7-14
S- Singleton 2-yard TD run, 7-20 (XP missed)