Calvert Hall needed a big defensive stand in the final 2:30 Saturday night to seal a 19-14 victory over Wise and end the Pumas’ 43-game winning streak.
The Pumas, three-time defending Class 4A state champions, came to Calvert Hall tied for the longest active winning streak in Maryland and the second longest in the country.
The No. 9 Cardinals’ defense set the tone, but was especially stingy in the fourth quarter. Although Calvert Hall (3-0) turned the ball over twice in the last quarter, the defense didn’t give up any points.
“I think their defensive line is an excellent defensive line,” Wise coach DaLawn Parrish said. “Their linebackers did some great jobs today. They play hard. They had some good one-on-one matchups they were able to exploit. We had to double people instead of getting people out in our routes and things of that nature, but they played tremendously.”
Junior running back Sean Tucker scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard run with 2:37 left that gave the Cardinals the lead for good.
While the Cardinals kept the Pumas’ explosive offense in check most of the game, Wise quarterback Quinton Williams, who has committed to Morgan State, was capable of an explosive big play at any time. With 40 seconds left, the 6-foot-4, 187-pound senior tossed the ball to Kiysean Clardy, who threw to Isaiah Hazel for a 37-yard gain.
That set up the Pumas (1-1) at first-and-goal from the 10-yard line with 30 seconds left.
Only a pass interference call against Calvert Hall moved the Pumas to the 5-yard line. The Cardinals stifled their final three plays. On his last attempt as the clock wound down, Williams made a desperation pass just before linebacker Mike Johnson tackled him, but the ball fell to the ground.
The Cardinals (3-0) began chanting, “43-1. 43-1,” after they went through the handshake line.
On the final drive, Calvert Hall linebacker Kahlil Glover made several tackles and lineman Nick Lenon had a sack.
“It all started with our D-line,” Glover said. “This was a confident win... We talked about it yesterday that this was going to be the day we shocked the world.”
A veteran defensive line gave the Pumas trouble. Lenon, Billy Wooden, Keenan Sumler and Anthony Anderson started with Keith Powers coming off the bench.
“It’s four starters but five seniors,” Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis said. “Those guys are just tremendous… They’re the best defensive line I’ve ever coached collectively.”
The game was scheduled for Friday night but never got started as thunderstorms lingered for a couple of hours. That clearly did not bother the Cardinals. They had plenty of motivation after falling to Wise, 15-13, last year.
That game had been the closest of any during Wise’s streak. The Cardinals were driving at the end, but cornerback Dennis Stokes picked off a Mike Campbell pass with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Davis said before the game he believed big plays would make the difference and while his defense made most of them, Tucker had a 30-yard scoring run late in the third quarter that gave the Cardinals their first lead, 13-7. He broke several tackles en route to the end zone.
“Before the game I had to say a little prayer for myself,” Tucker said, “and I just trusted in my line and my team. And once I got through the line, I just did what I could do to score. It felt really good [to break the streak].”
Although the Cardinals started with a a big play — Jaden Beckles blocking Wise’s first punt — they could not convert.
Two drives later, the Pumas made the most of their only explosive play of the half. Williams hit Jalil Farooq with a 53-yard pass to set up the only touchdown of the first half. Williams also had a 10-yard run before Brandon Bell punched through for a 1-yard touchdown with 5:23 left in the first quarter.
Bell also scored the rushing touchdown that put the Pumas up 14-13 with 7.6 second left in the third quarter.
The Cardinals stayed close on a couple of second-quarter field goals from Peter Moore, who hit from 21 yards and 23 yards.
Lamar (Missouri) has the longest active streak in the country at 52 straight after winning Friday night. Two teams with longer streaks — Kimberly (Wisconsin) at 70 and Soldotna (Alaska) with 59 — both lost their season openers.
Damascus now has the longest active streak in Maryland and the second in the country at 44.
W 7 0 7 0 14
CH 0 6 7 6 19
W—Bell 1 run (Chofong kick)
CH—Moore 21 FG
CH—Moore 23 FG
CH—Tucker 30 run (Moore kick)
W—Bell 3 run (Chofong kick)
CH—Tucker 2 run (kick failed)