After a stellar football campaign in 2016, Dr. Henry A. Wise Junior High School in Upper Marlboro, Md. sent three players to the Big 33 Football Classic on June 17. Since its inception in 1957, the Big 33 Football Classic is an all-star event that features the best high school players in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Rising college freshman Jabari Laws was a standout in the recent Big 33 Football Classic. (Photo by Daniel Kucin)
The game has notable alumni such as Joe Namath, Tony Dorsett, Joe Montana, and Dan Marino, and the Big 33 has had at least one alumni in each Super Bowl ever played.
Led by head coach DaLawn Parrish, Wise secured its second consecutive 4A Maryland State Championship, and the Pumas haven’t lost a game (24-0) since 2014 in a playoff match against DuVal High School. Led by senior quarterback Jabari Laws, the Pumas slashed through its competition effortlessly to an undefeated record as Wise dismantled Quince Orchard 42-7 in the 2016 4A Maryland State Championship game.
Nicknamed the G.O.A.T. by Parrish at the quarterback position, Laws had the best season of his high school career after he threw for 2,424 yards and 38 touchdowns. “It always feels good to have your players represent your state, school, and your community,” Parrish told the AFRO. “It is an honor for them, and it is an honor for me to watch.”
He also rushed for 669 yards, and he found the end zone 14 times on the ground in 2016. “It is a great honor,” Laws told the AFRO. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and not everybody gets to play in this game. I’m just glad and grateful that I’m down here. It is a great and humbling experience.”
The five-foot-nine dual-threat signal caller combined for 113 all-purpose yards in the Big 33 Football Classic as the Maryland football team fell to Pennsylvania 44-3. Laws provided leadership as the offensive captain for the Maryland squad, and he will be playing for Army next year. He said he always dreamed of representing his country at West Point, and he can’t wait until he gets to suit up in black and gold for the first time.
“I always thought that Army was a great fit for me,” said Laws. “They have a great coaching staff and support system. I knew that I made a great decision. I’m looking forward to it . . . it’s going to be eye-opening, and I’m getting excited about playing for them now.”
Another Big 33 all-star who stood out for the Pumas last year was Khyree Jackson. The athletic wide receiver was one of Laws’ favorite targets on Wise’s potent offense.
Jackson led the Pumas in receptions (39), and he accounted for 612 yards and 12 touchdowns. He will be attending Arizona Western Community College next year to play for the Matadors. “It is a blessing, and we are definitely repping Prince George’s County,” Jackson told the AFRO.
Finally, ironman tackle Savion Williams rounded out the Wise selections who dominated the Maryland roster. Standing at six-foot-five and weighing 304 lbs., Williams was made for the Big 33 Football Classic. He was nearly impenetrable as an anchor for Wise protecting Laws, and he was a menace on the defensive side of the ball.
Williams terrorized opposing backfields in 2016 by accumulating 52 tackles, six sacks, and he averaged nearly four tackles a game. He said he will be taking his talents to Lackawanna College in Scranton, Penn. next year. “He stuffs up the middle with his size, and he is a very versatile player,” said Jackson about Williams. “Everyone should be on the lookout for him as a player when he leaves Lackawanna.”
Six Prince George’s County players were honored to play in this year’s installment of the all-star game that included the Wise trio as well as linebacker DeLani Carter (Charles H. Flowers), lineman Stefan Touani (Oxon Hill), and lineman Chris Darrisaw of Riverdale Baptist.