High School

4 must-see DMV high school football games

Chad Ricardo

4 must-see DMV high school football games

This weekend is full of great high school football in the DMV. Here's four to watch: 

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 14 Georgetown Prep
When: 2:00 p.m. Saturday
Where: Gonzaga College High School, Washington D.C. 

In 2018, Coach Randy Trivers’ Gonzaga Eagles snuck up on a couple of teams en route to winning the WCAC crown in what was arguably the greatest high school football game of all time. 

In 2019, the Eagles aren’t sneaking up on anybody. Gonzaga is off to a 2-0 start with impressive victories over big-time programs American Heritage (FLA) at home and Don Bosco Prep (NJ) on the road. 

Georgetown Prep, the defending IAC, followed up a victory at Woodberry Forrest by falling at Loyola Blakefield 37-27 last week. On Friday they meet in the 16th annual Jesuit Gridiron Classic. Last year, Gonzaga handed the Little Hoyas their only loss of the season; a 30-0 win at home.

No. 2 Quince Orchard vs. No. 19 Damascus
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Quince Orchard High School, Gaithersburg MD

A backyard brawl of epic proportions, No. 19 Damascus travels to Quince Orchard to do battle with the Cougars. Quince Orchard, the defending 4a champs look to be in midseason form following a week one shellacking of Wootton. 

The last time we saw Damascus, their 53-game win streak was snapped by Oakdale. They look to make a statement with all the eyes of Montgomery County watching. The Cougars haven’t defeated the Stormin’ Hornets since 2013.

Look for nationally top-ranked recruit DT Bryan Bresee and Damascus to control the defensive line of scrimmage early. With C Ryan Linthicum leading a stout offensive line, Damascus should have success running the ball.  The Cougars though have an advantage at the skilled positions. Kent State commit Marquez Cooper is the high school version of the human-highlight reel and dual-threat QB Brian Plummer and will look to expose the Swarmin’ Hornets with his arm and legs. 

No. 13 Friendship Collegiate Academy vs. No. 24 H.D. Woodson 
When: 5:00 p.m. Saturday
Where: RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.

The Kickoff Classic allows student-athletes of the District to play football on the highest of stages; the hallowed grounds of historic RFK stadium. 

The primetime match up of the event pairs bitter rivals H.D. Woodson and Friendship Collegiate Academy. Also known as the Ward 7 “Clash of the Titans”, this is the game all of Washington D.C. looks forward to annually. 

Friendship, defending DCSAA Class AA champion, lost their opener on the road to North Allegheny (Pa.) but have since made quick work out of consecutive DCSAA foes, including a 41-14 victory last week against Ballou.

H.D. dropped their first two, but their win/loss record doesn’t tell the complete story. In week one they fell to perennial powerhouse Martinsburg (WV) and in week two, they mounted a feverish comeback, only to lose in the closing moments to Steubenville (OH). Both games were played on the road. 

Starting slow is nothing new to the Warriors. Last season they began 0-3 before reeling off 10 consecutive victories, including the “Turkey Bowl”, their conference championship. Unfortunately for H.D., two of their losses came at the hands of the Knights. Friendship seems to have the Warriors number, winning their last 5 head-to-head bouts.

Dunbar vs. No. 16 Landon
When: 6:00 p.m. Friday
Where: Dunbar High School, Washington D.C.

Had you inquired three weeks ago, the general consensus would have been to mark this one in the win column for Landon before they even stepped on the field. An annual IAC contender taking on a D.C. public school predicted to finish in the middle of the pack, this one looked like a no-brainer.

Three weeks later and much has changed. Landon fell in their road opener to Delbarton 34-27, and Dunbar has looked electric through two weeks, including last Friday’s 46-6 drubbing of defending DCSAA Class-A champion, Bell. 

Landon will have the physical advantages up front and should be able to run the ball at will. Dunbar looks to spread them out and use their multi-receiver sets to find mismatches all over the field. 

Other Games of Note:

No. 6 Woodgrove vs. Tuscarora, 7 p.m. Friday 
No. 17 Northwest vs. No. 21 Paint Branch, 6:30 p.m. Friday
Bullis vs. Archbishop Spalding, 7 p.m. Friday
St. Mary’s Ryken at Bishop McNamara, 2 p.m. Saturday 


DaLawn Parrish and Wise football reclaim Maryland state title

Photo by Chad Ricardo

DaLawn Parrish and Wise football reclaim Maryland state title

It’s been 379 days since Wise lost to Quince Orchard in their 2018 state semifinal matchup. It’s been 9,096 hours since the Pumas' 48-game win streak was snapped and 545,760 minutes since the then-four-time champion became nothing more than a contender.

That time has passed. Wise is Wise, again.

The Pumas defeated Northwest 35-21 to reclaim the Maryland 4A state championship Friday night. The victory ended a nightmare for head coach DaLawn Parrish that he’d been living in for over a year. Asked how often he’d thought about getting back to this moment, he replied, “just about every day."

From 2015-17, the Pumas experienced so much success that at times Parrish felt his adversaries, as well as some of his supposed supporters, were anxiously waiting to witness Wise’s downfall.

“A lot of times we talk about ‘us against the world,'” Parrish said. “I think back to that QO game and I did feel like everybody wanted us to lose. Even though we had all these people behind us, I felt like half of them was cheering for QO—it was like we weren’t being supported. When I was coming up, everybody wanted to see a dynasty, now it feels like everybody wants to see the underdog win."

Parrish and the Pumas set out to use that loss as a teaching tool for the student athletes, both on and off the field.

“We used it as motivation. It drove me, it drove these young men, it drove my coaches.

"This is bigger than X’s and O’s, it’s about surrounding [these student athletes] with good people. We help them to understand what failure looks like, what it is to continue to try and we teach them that although somedays things don’t go their way, they have to keep pushing forward."

The life lesson was on full display in the state championship game. Friday night was a tale of two halves. During the first, the Jags looked like the better team at times. Northwest quarterback Jordan Morse connected with wide receiver Kaden Prather down the right sideline for a 79-yard score in the first quarter and Ryan Beach zig-zagged 69 yards on a screen pass to even the match seconds before intermission.

The vaunted Wise defense that had only allowed two opponents to score in double figures all season had given up two touchdowns in just two quarters. Asked if anything the Jags did in the first half surprised him and his staff, a jovial Parrish responded, “It surprised me that one of my people blew a coverage,” with a smile. “And I will be honest, [Beach] was quicker than I thought he was. The film doesn’t do him justice."

The Pumas' defense entered the third frame with a renewed energy. It stymied the Jags rushing attack and applied relentless pressure to Morse, registering six sacks on the night.

“I knew that if we got them in 10-personnel, they’d be in trouble because they haven’t seen speed like ours," Parrish said. "A lot of what they do is screens and short passes, so if we could get pressure [on their quarterback], I thought we could blow the game open sooner or later."

After yielding a long completion in the first quarter, Jalil Farooq proved to be a difference maker for Wise. He blanketed Prather in the second half, getting his hands on multiple passes. His third-quarter interception swung the momentum in the Puma’s favor.

“Jalil played a helluva game," teammate Dorian Strong said. “His endless pass break-ups and the pick was key for us."

Farooq would capitalize on his forced turnover moments later, when he ran a reverse in from eight yards out and gave Wise a 28-14 lead.

The Pumas' main source of consistency throughout the evening was sophomore quarterback Jayden Sauray. When the game was in the balance, Sauray delivered. He threw second-half touchdowns to Strong and Keith Boddie Jr. to match his two first-half touchdown runs. The young QB showed skill and leadership beyond his years.

“The way he played with poise was outstanding,” Parrish said. “He doesn’t get rattled much. To be a 15-year old young man and have that kind of poise and confidence is unheard of. To stay the course and remain steady the way he does, just shows who he is and what’s to come [from him] will be outstanding."

The title is the Puma’s fourth in five years and the program’s fifth this decade. However, there is little reason to expect Parrish to celebrate for too long; he’s already planning his next steps,

“We just won this championship and my mind is working on next year," Parrish said. "Who do we have to replace? Who’s coming up from junior varsity? I’m thinking about my seniors and trying to get them in college. My mind is looking outward and I haven’t had a chance to take this all in. It’s like it never stops."

Such is life when you’ve built a dynasty. Wise is Wise, again.


Top 20 DMV boys basketball: PVI, DeMatha lead rankings

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Top 20 DMV boys basketball: PVI, DeMatha lead rankings

Week 2 began with a Virginia rivalry matchup between PVI and Bishop J. O'Connell. Behind Duke commit Jeremy Roach, PVI defeated O'Connell, in a sold-out playoff environment gym.

In other notable matchups, Good Counsel upsetting Gonzaga 59-56 - Bez Mbeng led Good Counsel with 14 points.  Antoine Jacks and Dylan Williamson both contributed 12 points. And Eleanor Roosevelt defeated South River 73-61, and in an out-of-county matchup. In an IAC vs MAC non-conference game between St. Andrews and Georgetown Prep, St. Andrew's took the 89-52 victory. Dylan Edwards led St. Andrews with 15 points. Here's this week's top 25:

1. PVI 

2. DeMatha 

3. Gonzaga 

4. Saint Stephen's Saint Agnes 

5. St. John's 

6. Rock Creek

7. Bullis  

8. Archbishop Carroll

9.  Coolidge

10. Good Counsel

11. Riverdale Baptist 

12.  Bishop McNamara 

13. Thurgood Marshall

14. St. Andrew’s

15. Bishop O’Connell 

16. Georgetown Prep

17. St. Mary's Ryken

18. Wise

19. Wilson 

20. Eleanor Roosevelt 


Click here for the Top 20 girls' rankings.