SPRINGDALE – The Charles H. Flowers football team added extra excitement to Homecoming as the Jaguars stomped out the previously undefeated Suitland Rams.
A match that was anticipated to be one of the best 4A showdowns did not turn out that way. With Flowers and their homecoming crowd behind them, the Jaguars continued their undefeated streak by taking down the Rams, 32-14.
“It feels good,” Flowers Head Coach Dameon Powell said about winning and maintaining the undefeated streak. “They really came to play. They were hungry and wanted to win.”
Flowers got off to a blazing start on the first play of the game when junior quarterback Julius Duvall found junior wide receiver Daniel Buchanan for a touchdown. After a missed extra point, the Jaguars led 6-0.
Buchanan was not satisfied with just catching a touchdown, so he later threw a touchdown to wide receiver Rashawn Gilbert for good measure. The trick play put the Jaguars up 13-0 in the first quarter.
“Well, the offense knew we had to come out strong,” said Gilbert, who had two receiving touchdowns on the day. “We had to come out positive. We didn’t step down, and we just played our football.
“The defense was checking me outside, so I gave them a move and I made a play. Big-time players make big-time plays, and I made a play. Our quarterback did a great job. He threw a couple of bad passes, but he bounced right back. He didn’t let it get to his head and he played well.”
Flowers started the second quarter off with a turnover, which left a window open for Suitland to turn the game around. With the Rams in scoring position, quarterback Marquice Perry fumbled the ball into his endzone, which caused a touchback and gave possession back to the Jaguars.
Following the turnover, both teams went scoreless for most of the quarter as both defenses were locked in. With the half coming to a close, Flowers made a statement on both sides of the ball.
Duvall led the team down the field and, with 57 seconds left before halftime, capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Jaguars did not stop there as sophomore cornerback LaTreil Wimberly hauled in an interception with 12 seconds left and returned it for a touchdown to give Flowers a convincing 26-0 lead going into the break.
Throughout the third quarter, both defenses made stops with ease. Neither offense could move the ball with any rhythm. That was until Duvall hooked up with Gilbert for a 16-yd touchdown to put Flowers up 32-0.
In the fourth quarter, Perry and wide receiver Donovan Henry connected for two touchdowns, but it was too little, too late as Suitland (7-1) lost its first game of the season as Flowers remained undefeated.
“We had slow starts, and as a team, we had to come out together,” said Jags running back Breaun Roderique, who rushed for more than 130 yards. “We can’t go downhill because we would have to pick it up. We did what we had to do. We talked in the locker room, got pumped up and were ready to go out and fight.”
The Jaguars move to 8-0 on the season and go on the road to face Frederick Douglass (6-2) next week. Suitland will look to bounce back next week at home against Bladensburg (2-6.)
“Offensively, we had too many turnovers,” Suitland Head Coach Ed Shields said. “You can’t play a good team like that with five turnovers in the first half.
“Defensively, we just missed on some things. We put the defense in some bad situations because we kept giving them the ball back. One of the touchdowns they got was on an interception return. We have to do better. We have to protect the ball better, and I think we will.”