GREENBELT – The Suitland High School football team had no problem with Friendly High School on Sept. 21, rushing for nearly 300 yards and cruising to a 42-0 victory in a game played at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.
The Rams did almost all of their damage in the first half, scoring two touchdowns early and then stretched the lead to 35-0 after two quarters. With the game in hand, several starters sat for the second half, including running back Armani Wooden and quarterback Damien Partee.
Wooden led a rushing attack that racked up 273 yards on the ground, carrying 11 times for 93 yards and a pair of scores. The senior took the second handoff of the game 44 yards for a touchdown, then reached the end zone again from nine yards out in the final minute of the second quarter.
“Whenever I have a game like that, I thank my offensive line and my receivers for blocking for me,” Wooden said.
Partee was not asked to do much through the air for Suitland (4-0), passing for 126 yards and a touchdown while connecting on five of nine his attempts.
He also added a rushing score midway through the second quarter. Partee was one of seven Ram ball carriers who finished with a run of over 10 yards, evidence of the solid work done by the Suitland offensive line and the commitment to the run game.
“It’s had its little lulls, but we’ve worked hard at it,” Suitland Head Coach Ed Shields said of the rushing attack. “The offensive line helped us, they’re little, but they fight. That’s all we ask them to do.”
Friendly (1-3) struggled to move the ball the entire game, managing just six first downs and crossing midfield only once in the first half then a single time in the second half. The Patriots finished with more than half as much penalty yardage as total yardage and routinely gave the ball back to Suitland in their own territory.
Wide receiver Daniel Raymond paced the Patriots with 24 rushing yards on six carries while quarterback Anthony Blackwell completed half of his throws for 63 yards.
The Friendly sideline was far less populated than that of Suitland, and Head Coach Eugene Dubose explained he started camp with just 12 players this season.
“There was about twice that listed on the Patriots’ roster at this point, though many of the players are involved on both offense and defense,” Dubose said. Dubose added he had seven returning players this year and many of his two dozen troops have not played much football.
“It is not an excuse, but we gonna be alright,” Dubose said. “We just gotta hang in there.”
The Suitland offense moved the ball with ease throughout the contest, but also received some help from its special teams unit. After a three-and-out on Friendly’s second drive, the Rams pressured punter Kalon Lewis and forced a quick kick that settled at the Patriots’ 44-yard line. Partee would immediately find Robert McMillian across the middle for a touchdown. Late in the second quarter, Suitland collapsed on Lewis again, this time deflected the punt for what ended up being a net gain of only a few yards. Two plays later, Partee would walk into the end zone untouched.
Penalties cost both teams dearly, negating multiple first downs and costing both teams touchdowns. Blackwell connected with wide receiver Samuel Taylor late in the second quarter for a would-be score, an acrobatic catch over the Suitland cornerback that was called back for holding. Partee also had a passing touchdown wiped away but scored himself on the next play.
Shields was pleased with his team after the win but frustrated by the penalties, several of which were unnecessary.
“We gotta get rid of those,” Shields said. “We just can’t have them.”
Friendly hung in there despite the large deficit, coming out to start the third quarter with a lengthy drive and forcing a fumble in the closing minutes of the game. Dubose praised both the Suitland players and coaching staff and was pleased with how his team battled for four quarters.
“They play until the end, that’s what I like about them,” Dubose said. “I know I gotta take my lumps, and we gonna take ’em, but we gonna try to give out the lumps the next game.”