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Southern Maryland All-Stars unable to over come PG County foes

  • Charles County,St Mary's County,Calvert County,Prince George's County
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Upper Marlboro, MD- The eleventh installment of the SMAC vs. PG Chick-Fil-A Challenge took place Saturday, Dec. 8 at Wise High School in Upper Marlboro. Prince George’s County’s all-star team had the upper hand in the contest heading into the game, up 6-4. Last season SMAC walked away victorious, winning the game 23-6, chipping away at the PG County lead. However, this season snapped back to what has been the narrative the past 8 seasons where PG County dominated their Southern Maryland foes, winning 35-6.

The teams are comprised of the best seniors from each conference. Prince George’s County had 21 teams to pick from this year, and SMAC (Southern Maryland Athletic Conference) had 14 across Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.

Turnovers were SMAC’s greatest weakness, with four in the first half, three of which resulted in scores. Robert Middleton (Lackey) threw the game’s first interception that was returned inside of SMAC’s 30-yard-line. PG scored on a 27-yard touchdown on their first play after the pick, giving them a 7-0 lead with 5:09 left in the first-quarter. SMAC’s ensuing drive ended when the exchange between Jalon Spencer (Westlake) and Trent Gaskins (Thomas Stone) was fumbled and recovered by PG at the 14-yard-line. What should have been an easy touchdown for PG was halted by a stout SMAC defense, with LaQuay Washington (Westlake) tackling PG’s running back for a huge loss that was extended by a holding call the following play.

The team got some momentum back after forcing the turnover on downs but quickly lost it after another interception by Middleton. With the ball on SMAC’s 14-yard-line for a second time in two drives, the Southern Maryland defense was unable to hold off Prince George’s passing attack. With 12:25 left in the second-quarter, PG extended their lead to 0-14 after a four-yard touchdown pass. Capping off SMAC’s four straight turnovers was a pick-six, thrown by Spencer. The 54-yard interception return touchdown deflated SMAC’s sideline, visibly affecting the team’s play on the field. The offense went three and out, and the defense that was playing well began to give. PG would drive down the field and throw two more touchdown passes before the half was over.

To the Southern Maryland All-Star Team’s credit, the team came out in the second-half re-energized. Defensively the team wouldn’t give up another point. Offensively the team still struggled but put together a successful drive when Jayson Wilmer (Lackey), who had only played defense to this point in the game, came in at running back and had several long runs. The fourth-quarter drive was capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Middleton to Malik Lawrence (North Point).

Because of the game’s special mercy rule, SMAC was able to receive the kickoff following their score in a make-it-take of sorts. With Spencer’s big arm back at the helm, Southern Maryland’s first play was a 40-yard bomb to Lawrence. The big play that brought SMAC deep into PG territory was followed up by the team’s fifth turnover of the game when Washington, who had a big stop defensively earlier in the game, fumbled the ball on his first carry. Following the turnover, Prince George’s ran out the clock, adding their seventh win to the series.

At halftime a scholarship was awarded to a player from each team---Martel Mason (Great Mills) from SMAC and Issac Asaimmah (Suitland) from PG. Coach of the Prince George’s team was Ed Shields from Suitland High School and Tony Zaccarelli from Westlake High School for Southern Maryland.

PG’s win makes the all-time series for the challenge 7-4 in favor of Prince George’s.

Contact Jerold at staffwriter@thebaynet.com.

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