If the second-seeded Flowers Jaguars were slated to be Wises’ first true test of the season, the Pumas passed with flying colors.
Wise defeated Flowers 35-6 Friday night to advance to the Maryland 4A state semi-finals.
The Pumas pounced on the Jags out of the gate. On their opening possession, Wise quickly moved the ball down the field, capping the drive with a 34-yard touchdown run by Jalil Farooq.
The Jags responded with a long opening drive of their own, mixing in short completions by Amanni Stewart with physical runs from back Tristan Shannon. Flowers meticulously marched the ball down the field and on 4th and goal, Stewart inched the ball into the end zone on a quarterback sneak.
Following a failed conversion attempt, the Jags had cut the Pumas lead to 7-6. It was the last time Flowers would score.
Midway through the second, Jalil Farooq would electrify the crowd by finding the end zone again.
“I saw an opportunity and my quarterback put me in position to take advantage of it,” said Farooq.
Sophomore quarterback Jayden Sauray took a 3-step drop and delivered a dime down the left sideline, hitting Farooq in stride for a 56-yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead.
“I saw they were in cover 3 and they were pressing up and I know no one can press up on my wide receivers,” said Sauray, “I looked over at Jalil and knew he wanted the ball so I gave him a shot and you see the end result."
The Jags were held to a 3-and-out on their next possession and forced to punt. When the Flowers punter mishandled the snap, he was tackled in the backfield, resulting in a turnover on downs. The Pumas quickly turned the Jags mishap into points when running back Terron Kellman slivered into the end zone for 6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wise forced another Flowers special-teams turnover, again delivering the ball to the Pumas offense deep in the Jags territory. Sauray would convert the opportunity into his second touchdown of the evening, this time calling his own number as he ran it in from 22 yards out giving the Pumas a commanding 28-6 lead before the half.
“We had a mesh combo, and I saw their linebackers bail out. My line did a phenomenal job opening a hole for me and the rest was history,” said Sauray.
In the second half Flowers twice drove the ball inside the Pumas 10-yard line, but each time Wises’ defense was able to prevent the Jags from scoring.
“We were relentless [on defense],” said head coach Dalawn Parrish, “a portion of our game plan was to not let them just drive on us all night long. Eventually we were going to get a hold of them and swarm to the football and because of that, we were able to get a lot of big stops."
Led by Tracey White, the Wise defense has been excellent all season. The Jags became the 10th opponent in 12 games that the Pumas have held in single digits.
Wise will meet Old Mill next week in the Maryland 4A state semifinal.