Howard's homecoming game yesterday couldn't have been much more successful.
Howard's defense recorded the first shutout by a county team over Wilde Lake in many years. Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVal couldn't remember the last one.
And Howard quarterback DaLawn Parrish, voted the homecoming king, threw three touchdown passes in the 20-0 victory.
"The defense gave me what I asked it for -- a goose egg," Howard coach John Quinn said. "It's been a long time since we've had a shutout and never against Wilde Lake."
Quinn was concerned that the Wildecats might be able to play ball control like they did last week against Hammond. Howard's defense has shown some susceptibility to the run.
"But the defense stepped up today and played well. It was a big improvement," Quinn said.
Wilde Lake was held to 95 yards rushing and 55 yards passing.
Its defense also played fairly well, holding Howard to 100 yards rushing and 116 yards passing.
Parrish, a model of efficiency, completed only four passes in 13 attempts, but three went for touchdowns of 23, 39 and 27 yards.
Parrish responds when the pressure is on. The touchdown tosses were on plays of third-and-nine, fourth-and-seven and second-and-nine.
Wilde Lake's defense started the game with a seven-man front and Howard had some success running the ball.
"But then they went to an eight-man front to stop the run so we decided to throw," Quinn said. "With a quarterback like DaLawn he'll make something happen."
Wilde Lake's defensive backs played man-for-man and got burned on Howard's second possession, a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.
Howard running back Corey Curtis (17 carries, 72 yards) came out of the backfield on third-and-seven at the 23-yard line and made a sensational diving catch in the end zone.
"The defensive guy [Antonio Lewis] had position but took the wrong angle," Curtis said. "He went straight to the sideline instead of going with me so I got a step on him."
Quinn said, "Corey showed his versatility. He ran a fly pattern and was the secondary receiver. We don't complete that pass in practice very often."
No. 7 Howard (5-1 overall, 3-0 county) scored again in the second quarter on its next possession. A six-play, 66-yard drive ended with Rusty Miller catching a short pass all alone in the right flat and running 39 yards for a touchdown.
After Wilde Lake failed to get a first down on its next possession, Parrish returned a punt 43 yards to Wilde Lake's 12. But the Lions ended up missing a field goal from 26 yards.
Wilde Lake had only 29 yards of offense in the first half and trailed 12-0.
Howard's final touchdown was a fourth-and-seven pass caught by Matt Anderson down the right side for 27 yards in the third quarter.
Wilde Lake (2-4, 1-2) drove 61 yards on nine plays immediately after that touchdown, but on fourth-and-two at the 5-yard line, quarterback Tony Jackson's scramble came up a yard short.
"They made the big plays and we made mistakes that you can't afford against Howard," DuVal said. "Our team battled as hard
as it could and is getting better every week."