Parrish Pumps Up the Pumas
Wise High head football coach builds regional power, sends players to the college level and eyes his first state title at the school in Upper Marlboro.
The football team at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School did not face much defensive pressure in the second half of Saturday afternoon's game in Upper Marlboro.
Perhaps the most spirited rush faced by DaLawn Parrish, 34, the head coach of the Pumas, came several minutes after the game was over as his two young daughters raced across the field to give their father a hug.
Parrish spent a few minutes tossing the girls, ages three and six, into the air following a 41-6 win over Parkdale as Wise improved to 6-1 overall this season.
And this came a few minutes after Uriah Bethea, a standout running back for Wise, trumpeted Parrish's meaning to the team.
"He is definitely a father figure," said Bethea, who plans to play next year at James Madison University in Virginia. "He is like a hard worker, not just on the field but in school."
Bethea (95 yards rushing), bothered by a high ankle sprain earlier this month, said Parrish arrives early to school and is among the last to leave after practice. A standout defensive back at Division I Wake Forest in the late 1990s, Parrish is in his sixth season at Wise after two years as the coach at DuVal High in Lanham.
After a scoreless first half on Saturday, against a Parkdale team with just one win this year, Parrish had some choice words for his team as they listened intently on a bench in between the baseball and softball diamonds at the school on a beautiful, nearly cloudless day in Prince George's County.
But Parrish, who grew up in Columbia, said his speech was more of a challenge to individual players than to the team. He challenged the players to perform as if college scouts would be watching during the second half. "Why would I give you a scholarship? Beat the guy across from you," was the message from Parrish.
"I spoke from the heart. It was a challenge to them," said Parrish, a Howard High School graduate who was a former assistant coach at Howard and Wilde Lake High, both in Howard County.
Wise then scored two touchdowns in less than six minutes to start the second half and led, 21-0, with 3:05 left in the third quarter.
After Parkdale scored to make it 21-6, Wise scored two touchdowns in less than a minute to take a 35-6 lead with 4:24 left in the game. A long touchdown pass by Wise ended the scoring in the closing minutes.
Parrish has done pretty much everything at Wise. The Pumas have won three region titles in a row and Parrish has sent his players to college programs such as Maryland, James Madison (ranked in Division I-AA) and Shepherd, a nationally-ranked Division II program.
About the only thing missing is a state title.
"I think that is always realistic. But it takes some luck," Parrish said.
The only loss this season for Wise came on a last-second field at Eleanor Roosevelt in Greenbelt on Sept. 17. The Pumas, who play Saturday at Laurel, came back from a big deficit to beat Bowie on Sept. 24.
In other weekend games, Frederick Douglass beat Forestville, 42-8.
Wise grads aid college teams
Wise High grad Titus Till had nine tackles for host Maryland in a 56-45 loss to nationally-ranked Clemson on Saturday. He is a redshirt freshman defensive back.
DeAndre Smith, a freshman wide receiver from Wise, has played in seven games, with one start, and has six catches this season for James Madison. The Dukes won at home Saturday against Villanova.
Redshirt freshman defensive back Andre Mackell (Wise) has 13 tackles this season for Shepherd. Other Wise grads on the roster include redshirt freshman offensive lineman De'Ontre Johnson and redshirt freshman wideout Trevon Butler. Shepherd is coming off a 50-24 win against West Liberty.
Flowers part of Bowie State win
Largo High grad Ramono Flowers, a running back, had 63 yards on 14 carries as the Bulldogs won, 22-10, on Friday over Lincoln in West Grove, PA. Bowie State, which had lost three games in a row, is now 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the CIAA going into Saturday's game at Elizabeth City State in North Carolina.
Esho now with UMass basketball
Former Wise High basketball player Maxie Esho is a redshirt freshman this season for the UMass men's basketball team. Esho played at Lee Academy in Maine after attending Wise. He sat out last year as a freshman at UMass. He is a 6-foot-8 forward.
"We are thrilled to have Maxie joining the UMass basketball family," said head coach Derek Kellogg. Esho averaged 14 points and seven rebounds per game in his last season at Wise.
UMass was picked 12th out of 14 teams on Thursday during the Atlantic 10 media day in Brooklyn. George Washington, also in the Atlantic 10, was picked to finish eighth.
The new head coach for GW is Mike Lonergan, who grew up in Bowie and is a former Maryland assistant. One of the top players for the Colonials is Lasan Kromah, who played at Eleanor Roosevelt in Greenbelt and missed last season at GW due to an injury.