Wise returns to the title game for the third time in four seasons, while Quince Orchard hopes to avenge last season’s loss in the state title game, 36-35 to Old Mill.
Wise head coach DaLawn Parrish took some time to share his thoughts with Upper Marlboro Patch on Friday’s game.
Upper Marlboro Patch: Entering with a 13-0 record, your team doesn't appear to have been challenged all season, allowing only 43 points (3.3 ppg) and never winning by less than 20 points. What do you view as your team's biggest strength and what adversity have they had to overcome in order to reach the state final?
Henry A. Wise Head Football Coach DaLawn Parrish: My team's biggest strengths would be the offensive line, the commitment of everyone to sacrifice personal goals for team goals, and our senior leadership. Injuries is the number one thing this team has had to overcome but the next man up motto has prevailed. They have had to overcome the loss of our best cornerback, Chaudlier Shepherd, to injury. He was the starter the past two years and broke a bone in his growth plate prior to the start of the season. Left tackle Jai Franklin was out four weeks due to injury. Running back Chase Powell has been sidelined for two weeks starting in the playoffs, along with several starters transferring out of the building prior to the start of the season.
UM Patch: Playing in your third title game in the last four years, many of your players have experience from long playoff runs in season's past. How has that contributed to the success of your team in 2012?
Parrish: It has helped because these players have experienced the highs and lows of deep and short playoff runs. They know what to expect and how things may not go your way but you have to fight to make it happen. They do not panic because they get a three-and-out on offense or give up a big play on defense. They stick to the game plan and fight harder to achieve their goals.
UM Patch: Like your own team, Quince Orchard features many returning players from its 2011 Maryland 4A state title runner up team and a coach, Dave Mencarini, with a championship pedigree. What parallels do you draw between your own team and Quince Orchard?
Parrish: QO and ourselves are very similar. It's like looking in a mirror. We know what it is like to get back to the championship a year after you felt like you should have won. We know how hard it is to accomplish that feat and people just doesn't seem to give teams the credit they deserve just to make it back. We both want to run the ball and we can pass if need be. I believe QO does a better job of throwing to keep you off balance while we throw when we must. We both play great defense and we have both scored in bunches. As for myself I am looking for my first state championship and if I should win it would be an honor to face a great coach such as Dave Mencarini. It should be a great game.
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part Q&A about the Henry A. Wise-Quince Orchard state championship game. Check back with Upper Marlboro Patch Thursday for Part II.