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With a dominant defense, Wise quiets C.H. Flowers and qualifies for another state title game

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 11/27/2021 Tramel Raggs
Flowers QB Sean Johnson fumbles the ball on a hit from Wise DB Jeremiah Williams. © John McDonnell/The Washington Post Flowers QB Sean Johnson fumbles the ball on a hit from Wise DB Jeremiah Williams.

As Dadrian Carter-Williams and the rest of the offense celebrated on the way back to the sideline following the senior’s five-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Wise fans belted out what has become the soundtrack of many Puma playoff victories throughout the years: “Na na na na. Na na na na. Hey hey hey. Goodbye!”

With its stranglehold of Prince George’s County — and a spot in the state championship — on the line, Wise delivered a master class on defense and eventually found its offense in a 28-6 win over C.H. Flowers on Saturday in the Maryland 4A semifinals in Upper Marlboro.

The Pumas will play Quince Orchard for the state championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.

Quince Orchard’s defense delivers as Cougars top Northwest, 14-13, in Maryland 4A semifinal

Despite multiple game cancellations because of covid protocols and an otherwise stiff regular season schedule, Wise (12-0) has stayed unbeaten en route to a sixth consecutive state championship appearance and the eighth in the school’s brief history.

“It was really special to have the crowd just be in tune like that with the game and be able to kind of kill any hope that they had of getting back in it,” Carter-Williams said. “Obviously, we have one more game to play, but to have that type of moment in my last game in front of our amazing fans — it was just special, man.”

Entering Saturday, the Pumas had allowed just 6.3 points per game and held five of their opponents to two points or fewer. That defensive dominance continued with four sacks and four forced turnovers, beginning with senior Nik McMillan’s interception and return into Flowers territory following a turnover by Wise on the game’s opening possession.

McMillan later scored on an 11-yard end-around, which gave the Pumas a 7-0 lead at the half after a pair of crucial stops on long Jaguars drives.

“I think that because they showed all of the offensive cards that were in their hand the first time we played them, it was pretty easy to adjust here,” Wise Coach DaLawn Parrish said, referencing a 20-19 Pumas win Oct. 9 in which the Jaguars were a two-point conversion away from pulling off an upset. “Our staff has been around the block quite a bit, so it’s going to be tough to challenge us the same way twice when we have the ability to look back on the film and adjust to things.”

Wise fullback Traevon Mitchell makes long run for a first down in the fourth quarter. © John McDonnell/The Washington Post Wise fullback Traevon Mitchell makes long run for a first down in the fourth quarter.

Wise’s offense found its rhythm in the fourth quarter behind senior Traevon Mitchell, a battering ram of a running back. Mitchell rumbled through the defense for 20 yards on the first play of the period and then took the following handoff 21 yards into the end zone to give the Pumas a 14-point advantage. Wise then recovered a fumble at the Flowers 7-yard line on the ensuing kickoff. On the next play, quarterback Jayden Sauray found Amare Wimbush for a touchdown. Carter-Williams’s touchdown run put away any doubt.

“To be honest, early on the offense was really struggling because I was turning it over and probably trying to do a little bit too much, knowing what was at stake,” Sauray said. “But once I stepped back and just realized that I couldn’t get us in the state championship on my own, I feel like I started to play better, and the offense started clicking.”

Wise's Elijah Taft sacks C.H. Flowers QB Sean Johnson in the fourth quarter. © John McDonnell/The Washington Post Wise's Elijah Taft sacks C.H. Flowers QB Sean Johnson in the fourth quarter.

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