Douglass-Prince George’s ends No. 17 Oakland Mills’ dream season in final seconds, advances to 2A state football final
by Trevor Colgan
Special to VSN
Sixteen seconds. That’s all that stood between Oakland Mills High and a trip to Annapolis next weekend.
The 17th-ranked Scorpions were that close to the Class 2A state football championship game, but when Douglass-Prince George’s receiver Jaxon Sutton hauled in a 16-yard pass from quarterback Trey Manley, those 16 seconds loomed a lot larger.
Sutton’s touchdown was the winner in the Eagles’ 22-15 win over Oakland Mills Friday night in Columbia. It was a bitter end to a successful season for the Scorpions, who won a share of the Howard County title for the first time in 21 years.
“Season’s not defined by one play,” Oakland Mills coach Thomas Browne said. “Great group of kids, couldn’t be more happy for them.”
Oakland Mills started the game off as strongly as it could. Quarterback Kanye Holland and the Scorpion offense engineered over a 10-minute drive, and John Tatum plunged into the endzone from two yards out for an early Oakland Mills’ lead.
The Eagles (12-1 overall) responded on the next drive, with Davin Brown scoring from eight yards out. Vincent Oliver added a two-point conversion, giving Frederick Douglass a lead it would not relinquish until the fourth quarter.
Manley added a score for the Eagles in the third quarter, sneaking in from a yard out.
Holland got back to work, however. The Scorpions (10-2) embarked on a 93-yard drive, capped by Holland scampering to the endzone on a 30-yard run with about 10 minutes to go in the game. Tatum took the ball around the edge on the two point conversion to give Oakland Mills the lead back.
Holland has led the Scorpion offensive attack all season, and Friday was no different.
“He’s the best athlete on the team,” Browne said. “We’re lucky to coach guys like that.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Browne made a bold play to keep the ball in his offense’s hands. The Scorpions attempted an onside kick that bounced off a Frederick Douglass’ player’s hands and Oakland Mills fell on it.
Browne was looking to keep the ball out of the Eagles’ hands, and move the clock closer to zero.
“If we have the ball, they don’t have the ball,” he said.
Oakland Mills burned minutes off the clock, but gave the ball back with 6:41 left. It was up to the defense to clinch a trip to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The defense looked as if it would stand tall. Every time the Eagles scrapped their way down the field, the Scorpions made a play.
In the end, Sutton made the biggest play of the night, getting his foot down in the corner of the end zone to put his team up.
Browne took a macro-view of the game.
“I wouldn’t say it came down to a few plays,” Browne said. “It’s a full game. We had opportunities.”
Despite big plays from Holland, Tatum and a long run by Shane King that helped set up the athletic Holland’s touchdown run, the Upper Marlboro school held Oakland Mills’ rushing attack in check, for the most part.
“That’s their bread and butter, that’s what they want to do,” Douglass coach Monty Sutton said. “We really tried to focus on minimizing big plays.”
Douglass was able to keep those big plays to minimum, giving itself a chance to play for a state title for the first time since winning the 2A in 2014. The Eagles will play No. 9 Milford Mill Academy for the crown, Friday at 4 p.m. in Annapolis.
For Oakland Mills, the proverbial clock struck midnight on an unforgettable campaign.
“These kids played their asses off all year,” Browne said. “I’m proud of them. We’ll just go back to work in January and restart the clock.”
CLASS 2A STATE SEMIFINAL
Frederick Douglass 22, No. 17 Oakland Mills 15
Oakland Mills 7 0 0 8 — 15
Frederick Douglass 0 8 6 8 — 22
Oakland Mills – John Tatum 2 run (Blake Nguyen kick)
Frederick Douglass – Davin Brown 8 run (Vincent Oliver run)
Frederick Douglass – Trey Manley 1 run (conversion failed)
Oakland Mills – Kanye Holland 30 run (Tatum run)
Frederick Douglass – Jaxon Sutton 16 pass from Manley (Oliver run)