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If the matchup between Springdale, Maryland’s Charles H. Flowers Jaguars and Greenbelt’s Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders on Oct. 30 was a possible Prince George’s County 4A playoff preview, then fans should already be anticipating an encore.

The Flowers homecoming crowd was treated to a 27-26 thriller, with the home team edging out a talented and explosive Roosevelt squad. Flowers nearly self-destructed on the final drive before Charles Rivers stripped a ball carrier and recovered a fumble from Roosevelt quarterback Jairus Cook with nine seconds left at the Flowers 18-yard line to preserve the victory and help the team move into a tie for second place in the division.

Flowers led 19-7 late in the third quarter before Roosevelt marched down the field, utilizing a Flowers pass interference penalty on fourth down to keep alive a six-play, 51-yard scoring drive. The drive was capped with a nine-yard touchdown run by Cook. Roosevelt then used another six-play drive to go 74 yards before running back Rahn Fisher’s seven-yard run put them up 20-19 at the start of the fourth quarter.

Roosevelt went for the jugular, blocking an ensuing Flowers punt and recovering the ball deep in Flowers’ territory at the 12-yard line. Cook then found receiver Nigel Christian on third and 12 to put Roosevelt up 26-19 with 7:47 left in the quarter.

With their momentum drained and sideline reeling from 19 straight unanswered points, Flowers began their final drive of the game at their own 35-yard line searching for a score. Consecutive running plays allowed Flowers to cross midfield before they faced fourth-and-11 with just over five minutes left.

Flowers quarterback Thomas Lawrence only completed two passes on the afternoon, but his last connected with tight end Monte Taylor and the 245-pounder hustled downfield for 22 yards to the Roosevelt 20-yard line. Running back Dakari Chisholm added a three-yard touchdown run a few plays later and Flowers connected on its two-point conversion to go up for good 27-26 with 2:06 left before four penalty calls against the Flowers helped usher Roosevelt up the field until Rivers sealed it.

“Just hanging in there and getting it done,” Flowers coach Mike Mayo said about his team’s resiliency. “We were making a lot of mistakes and let them come back and kept them in the game. But it’s all about how you finish and in the end we got the drive that counted and then had to hold on in the end. got to go back to what we do and get ready for the next one. This time of the year they’re all like that. You’re going to get games like this; they’re all going to be close.”

The Jaguars (8-1) will host Upper Marlboro’s Wise (8-1) on Nov. 6 in a game that will decide second place in the P.G. County 4A division. Roosevelt (7-2) will travel to Forestville’s Suitland (9-0) to try to hand the Rams their first loss of the year.

With the top four teams already slated for postseason appearances, Roosevelt coach Tom Green didn’t sweat the loss, knowing he’s scheduled to get back starting quarterback Shawn Petty from injury next weekend.

“We’re already in the playoffs,” Green said. “We just have to correct our mistakes. Next week, we get a couple of guys back so we’ll be alright.”

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO