BALTIMORE — Revenge could not have been any sweeter than what it was on Sept. 8 for the Calvert Hall High School’s football team.
In a highly anticipated matchup, Calvert Hall made a series of crucial, timely plays in the second half to top Wise, 19-14, snapping a 43-game win streak set by the four-time state champion Pumas.
The intense clash between the two football powerhouses was a rematch of a close contest from precisely one year ago which ended in favor of the Pumas, 15-13, at home in Upper Marlboro.
Calvert Hall Head Coach Donald Davis said it felt “overwhelming” to snap Wise’s dominant win streak and commended the Pumas’ past achievements.
“My hat goes off to Coach (DaLawn) Parrish and his staff,” Davis said. “To win 43 straight games, that’s amazing. I’ve never even approached something like that, so for their kids, their staff, their school community to do what they did, my hat goes off to them.”
The 12th-year head coach was remarkably pleased with the Cardinals’ effort, adding “I’m just proud of our kids for their effort today. They were to the task every time we needed them to be today, so I just couldn’t be more proud of my staff and couldn’t be more proud of my kids.”
Sean Tucker was the game’s premier performer and a significant contributing factor to the Cardinals’ monumental win.
The junior running back had 21 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score on a two-yard run into the end zone with 2:37 left in the game.
“Before the play, I just told my team to make sure they get the block for me. I got their backs, I know they got mine, and I did what I do best,” said Tucker of his game-winning score.
One of the main tasks and successes of the Cardinal defense was slowing down Wise standout quarterback Quinton Williams, who was sacked nine times in his first loss since joining the program last season.
Despite being banged up by Calvert Hall’s defensive unit, the six-foot-four senior still managed to throw for 178 yards on 15-of-24 attempts. He also accounted for 33 yards on the ground.
“They had a pretty good defensive scheme. They kind of honed in on our running game and put more pressure on me. If I was passing the ball, they brought a lot of heat on passing situations to and they kinda like loaded the box for us. They made it kind of hard for us to run. But they had a great game tonight,” he said.
“I think we played well. Obviously we didn’t play well enough to come out with the victory, so you could always get better… We have to put Saturday’s game behind us. That was the weekend. It’s over now so we can’t change it or do anything about it. You know we gotta take it one game at a time, one practice at a time. We got a full season ahead of us so we gotta keep our eyes on the prize and that’s winning another state title.”
As Williams scrambled to make a heroic play with a few seconds left in regulation, Calvert Hall middle linebacker Mike Johnson made the game-clinching sack to seal the upset.
Calvert Hall quarterback Mike Campbell found the right targets at the right times and showed quick decision-making ability in the game’s most crucial moments to keep his team alive for the upset.
Also, kicker Peter Moore missed his first field goal attempt from 36 yards out early in the first quarter but responded by drilling 20-yarder and a 16-yarder to keep the Cardinals in the game heading into the locker room.
Although the game started rainy and unseasonably cold, the sidelines and stands remained exuberant throughout the evening, particularly in the final moments of the game.
Mixed emotions and reactions emanated from the crowd, coaches, and players as the officials made some controversial calls, some of which seemed to decide the fate of the game.
Wise running back Brandon Bell rushed 11 times and had a 30-yard reception to finish with 51 yards of offense. The five-foot-eight senior rushed for both of the Pumas’ touchdowns – the first coming on a one-yard run with 5:23 left in the first quarter and the other on a three-yard scramble with seven seconds remaining in the third.
Wise Head Coach DaLwan Parrish accepted the disheartening loss and encouraged his team to remain motivated going forward. He also acknowledged the valiant defensive effort by the Cardinals.
“I think their defensive line is an excellent defensive line,” Parrish said. “They played hard (and) I think they had some good one-on-one matchups that they were able to exploit…They played tremendously.”
A long-lasting win streak appears to be something a coach would pride himself in, but Parrish said he’s taking the season game-by-game and added that he sees the long-term value in coming away with the loss.
“I think that’s what a lot of other people prided themselves in.
I’m still one game at a time. To me, it’s like this, the sign of a real man is how you deal with adversity…At some point, you must lose, and you have to move on from that. It’s about teaching kinds about life, and about getting better. And sometimes people forget life lessons involved in this football game.”