GREENBELT – After providing his usual postgame speech, Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School Head Coach DaLawn Parrish handed off the rest of the proceedings to quarterback Quinton Williams, with the applause of approval coming from the rest of the team.
After embracing more of a leadership role and control of the offense, Williams has excelled while earning the trust of his teammates, according to Parrish.
“I think he has been doing great,” Parrish said. “He continues to get better. Our goal is to try our best to win a state title and get better week-by-week, and he is doing that.”
Williams had his most complete performance to-date, throwing for 190 yards, rushing for 88 and scoring a combined five touchdowns for the Pumas. His offensive display was the catalyst for Wise’s 43-0 shutout road win against rival Eleanor Roosevelt on Oct. 19.
The Morgan State University commit’s standout play has been crucial for the Pumas since their stunning loss to Calvert Hall College High School on Sept. 7, which ended the team’s 43-win streak.
Since the loss, the senior has thrown five touchdowns, rushed for six more and improved his passer rating to 103.7.
“(The loss to Calvert Hall) It is always going to be in the back of our minds,” Williams said. “We never wanted that to happen, but that made us stronger as a team and made us a better team.”
The Pumas (6-1) were quick to strike first, finishing off an 11-play opening drive on a 12-yard touchdown pass by West Virginia University commit Isaiah Hazel.
On Wise’s first offensive play in the second quarter, Williams threw a deep 32-yard throw downfield to an open David Gilchrist to extend the lead by two touchdowns.
The connection between Williams and teammate Jalil Farooq would dominate the majority of Wise’s passing game for the remainder of the contest. The pair connected three times for 101 yards and back-to-back touchdowns.
On their first score, a 32-yard completion, the sophomore caught the pass in the middle of the field and dodged a would-be tackler before running untouched into the end zone.
“I just knew I had the opportunity; as soon as they called the play, my favorite play, I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity,” Farooq said. “I feel like (when) I see green, and there is one man, I feel like I can beat that man.”
The duo connected again on the Pumas’ opening second half drive, with the sophomore outrunning two Raider defenders to make the jumping catch in the end zone for six more points.
Meanwhile, Roosevelt (5-2) could not establish a rhythm offensively. In their first five drives, the Raiders punted four times and did not pass the 50-yard line until the final seconds of the first half.
Despite a 71-yard rushing performance by sophomore Antwain Littleton, offside penalties and the inability to move the ball on offense killed the Raiders, Head Coach Thomas Green said.
However, Wise’s defense terrorized Roosevelt, sacking quarterback Jalen Walters six times and limited him to only 34 passing yards. With seconds remaining and the Raiders looking to add any kind of points onto the scoreboard, senior strong safety Marquette Harris intercepted Walters and ran 75 yards for Wise’s sixth and final touchdown.
“We take pride in our execution (on defense),” Parrish said. “We talk a lot about alignment, assignment and technique and we are just relentless to the football. I think some people forget that it is tackle football and that is what we do.”
“For us seniors trying to make a run, this was a big statement game for us,” Williams said. “So, we came out, played hard tonight and we just wanted it more than them.”
While the rivalry has had its tense moments, it has been a one-sided affair for three years. The result gives Wise seven straight wins over Roosevelt, with their last loss against the Raiders dating back to Oct. 11, 2014.
Hard feelings from previous games against their Greenbelt foes still exist, but the Pumas will take the win as another task completed on their way to compete for their fourth consecutive state championship.
“I feel like we had to show no mercy, period,” Farooq said. “We had to show no mercy after they disrespected us last year on the field, so we had to come out now and embarrass them.”