OXON HILL – In an evenly contested game, the Suitland High School football team prevailed over Oxon Hill High School for a 27-25 win on Sept. 13.
Running back Latrell McCants scored two touchdowns and finished with 250 all-purpose yards for the Rams while quarterback Damien Partee added two rushing touchdowns of his own to help lead Suitland to its second win of the season.
“We’re the smallest 4A school right now in the state,” Suitland Head Coach Ed Shields said, “Those kids just fought and they died for each other today and it’s just a great reflection of what they put in and believe they have in each other.”
It did not take long for the Rams and Clippers to start battling for points. Oxon Hill (0-2) started the game off with a screen pass from quarterback Rob Montgomery to Malik Baker that turned into a 46-yard touchdown. Montgomery finished the game throwing four touchdowns.
Suitland responded by going on a 21-point unanswered run. Rams wide receiver Benjamin Atyam made a leaping 53-yard catch to set up Partee’s 8-yard rushing touchdown on the ensuing play to tie the game. After forcing a three-and-out on the Clippers’ following drive, a bad snap that flew over punter Anthony Urrutia Zelaya’s head and awarded Suitland a safety as the first quarter ended.
McCants took advantage of good blocking by the offensive line and walked untouched into the end zone for a 6-yard score, making the score 15-6 after converting the point after attempt. McCants scored again, reaching pay dirt from 9 yards out to score the Rams’ third touchdown of the game.
McCants said talking to former teammate and Rams running back Antwan Squire accounted for his strong start to the season.
“My teammates always tell me, ‘push Trell and keep doing what you are doing,’” McCants said, “I always push too strive for more and beat what Antwan Squire did last year.”
The Clippers roared back into the game in the second quarter. Junior running back Dallas Simmons set the tone for the comeback after a 5-yard catch-and-run while knocking over five defenders. When Simmons got back up, he got into a helmet-to-helmet dust-up with a Suitland defender as the home crowd cheered with approval.
“We’ve got some leaders,” Baker said, “Some guys that’s going to pick everyone up.”
Moments later, Montgomery found wide receiver Jaden Byrd open for a 25-yard touchdown to reduce their deficit to eight points. Oxon Hill’s defense forced a three-and-out on the Rams’ following possession, quickly returning the ball to their offense.
The Clippers proceeded to march down on a seven-play drive, ending with Byrd’s second touchdown catch of the day. They attempted to tie the game with a two-point conversion, but it failed when Montgomery’s pass missed the mark.
“We never thought we were out of the game,” Oxon Hill Head Coach Craig Jefferies said. “We know our offense is potent enough and we can make some plays.”
The majority of the third quarter went scoreless as both teams displayed strong defensive efforts. One of which came as Oxon Hill was poised to take the lead on a field goal. However, Suitland blocked the attempt to maintain their lead.
The Clippers tried to score again after marching down the field on their next offensive drive during the fourth quarter. However, cornerback Malachi Perry intercepted Montgomery in the end zone and ran form more than 100 yards for a touchdown. The score would be nullified after a blocking penalty, but Suitland regained possession and maintained its lead again. On the next play, Partee scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, this time from 12 yards out, to extend the lead back out to eight points.
Oxon Hill quickly responded with a 45-yard touchdown pass by Montgomery to Baker bringing the Clippers closer. However, the Rams once again stopped their two-point conversation to maintain their advantage.
“We felt that any minute we could strike and make some plays,” Jefferies said, “We just had some untimely mistakes, particularly penalties and us not being able to punch the ball in down in the red zone.”
With four minutes to go in the game, Suitland tried to run down the clock with an eight-play drive that included a 39-yard run by McCants.
However, on a third-and-short situation, Oxon Hill’s defense stopped the Rams from converting, forcing an important fourth-down call play. According to McCants, the players convinced Shields to go for it instead of punting the ball away.
The vouching worked as Partee took the ball downfield for 39 yards for a first down. The play kept the ball in Suitland’s possession until the clock ran out, shutting the door on the Clippers.
“Our quarterback is a great player,” McCants said. “If he’s with it, then I’m with it, so we’re together in this.”
Suitland will look to win its third consecutive game when the Rams take on Eleanor Roosevelt High School on Sept. 20, while Oxon Hill will look to bounce back against Parkdale High School on Sept. 21.