Douglass unleashes its secret weapon: A kicker
Star wide receiver ends Panthers football team’s season with field goal at buzzer
By COLIN STEVENS
Frederick Douglass High School’s football team did not attempt an extra point after any of its four touchdowns Saturday.
Still, trailing by one point with 3.5 seconds remaining in its Class 2A South Region semifinal game against Patuxent in Upper Marlboro, the Eagles put their hopes of advancing on the foot of wide receiver Paul Harris.
From the left hash and 26 yards away, Harris booted the kick through the uprights, sending Panthers players to their knees as the Douglass players ran onto the field to celebrate the Eagles’ come-from-behind 29-27 victory.
“When he called, ‘Paul field goal,’ I was ready,” said Harris, who led all receivers with 172 yards on eight catches. “In practice, we always kick field goals. It’s just we don’t kick them during the game. I guess that’s our secret weapon or something.”
The victory means Douglass (10-1 overall) plays host to rival Gwynn Park next week for the region championship in a battle of Prince George’s County teams. The winner will advance to the state semifinals.
Gwynn Park knocked out top-seeded McDonough 18-7 in the other region semifinal.
Patuxent was very nearly the team celebrating the comeback victory.
Led by quarterback Tyler Crounse — who was starting his first game in place of Trey Lee, who moved to running back because of injuries — the Panthers made an improbable march down the field to take a 27-26 lead with 1 minute 12 seconds to play.
During the 15-play, 75-yard drive that spanned 7 minutes 30 seconds, Patuxent converted two fourth down-and-long plays, first on a 16-yard pass from Crounse to Lee, then a 16-yard pass from Crounse to Joey Parsons. Crounse (11 of 15 passing, 138 yards), a sophomore, was 4 for 4 passing on the drive for 36 yards and ran for 29 yards.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my boys,” Patuxent coach Steve Crounse said. “Our kids came up here and played with everything they had. I couldn’t really ask for anything more.”
Douglass got the ball back on its 5-yard line after the Eagles returner fell on the ball near the sideline when it appeared destined to go out of bounds.
Patuxent’s defense, playing off the line of scrimmage to prevent the deep ball, allowed two long gains on Douglass’s first two plays.
Harris caught the first pass from freshman quarterback Devin Butler near the line of scrimmage and ran to gain 29 yards. Butler followed with a pass to Demory Monroe for 25 yards.
Five plays later, facing fourth and nine, Butler scrambled right for a 13-yard gain. Two plays later, Harris kicked the game-winning field goal.
“It was amazing. It was a special feeling when Paul made it,” Butler said. “We put our hearts in it for 10 weeks straight and now we’re advancing to the next playoff game.”
Rafiq Douglas scored three of the Panthers’ four touchdowns in the contest. His 16-yard touchdown run put the visitors on the board in the first quarter and added two more scores in the fourth. Douglas finished with 21 carries for 104 yards.
Lee had the other touchdown for Patuxent, a nine-yard run. He finished with 13 carries for 117 yards and caught six ball for 51 yards. Parsons finished with three catches for 46 yards.
Patuxent finishes 8-3 overall, losing its final two contests of the season.