Turnovers plague Maret in DCSAA Division A State semifinal

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Kingsman quarterback Dizhaun Hancock takes the snap in the Knights' 30-16 win over the Maret Frogs. Photo courtesy of Tadi Abedje.
Kingsman quarterback Dizhaun Hancock takes the snap in the Knights' 30-16 win over the Maret Frogs. Photo courtesy of Tadi Abedje.

By: Tadi Abedje

The Maret Frogs fell to the Kingsman Academy Knights, 30-16, in the DCSAA Division A State semifinal. The two DC schools took their battle on a neutral turf at Sidwell Friends School.

In the first quarter on the Frog’s opening drive, quarterback Satchel Parker had a 28-yard run on third down for a first down. Unfortunately for the Frogs, Knights defensive end Damien Gant forced a turnover and returned it inside Maret territory. There, the Knights struck first on an 11-yard touchdown run by running back Ahmad McKeithan. He also punched the ball in on a two-point conversion to increase the lead to 8-0.

Then, Maret running back quickly scored a touchdown and two-point conversion of his own to tie the score at eight apiece. Kingsman tried to to answer again on its next possession, but it went three-and-out and punted the ball to the Frogs’ five-yard line. Maret couldn’t move the ball on its next possession. But the Frogs stole an extra possession from the Knights by executing a punt fake to convert a first down. Jack Greenberg took the direct snap and powered his way to the first down marker.  

In the second quarter, Maret tried its luck again by attempting another fake punt but wasn’t successful. Kingsman regained possession and capitalized off the miscue with touchdown run by quarterback Dizhaun Hancock. Hancock also converted on a two-point conversion to increase the Knights’ lead to 16-8.

Maret’s turnover issues continued in the second quarter. Maret turned the ball over, which led to a touchdown run by running back Latrell McCants to increase the lead to 22-8. The Frogs were marching down the field to score point before the half, but they coughed the ball up again.

At the beginning of the second half, McKeithan had a 57-yard kickoff return to the Maret’s 43-yard line, but the offense quickly went three-and-out. The Frogs couldn’t take advantage of great field position and turned the ball over on downs. Both squads exchanged multiple three-and-outs. Then, Kingsman scored a touchdown on a 38-yard run by running back SaQuan Bird. Bird also scored the two-point conversion to extend their lead the Knights’ lead to 30-8.

In the final quarter, Maret quarterback Satchel Parker scored a rushing touchdown to cut the Frogs’ deficit to 14 points. But on their next drive, Knights defensive back DeAndre Washington caught an interception to ruin Maret’s potential comeback.

The Knights dominated throughout the game. And head coach Kevin Nesbitt raved about their composure.  

“Our guys showed their composure when we had a couple of questionable calls. They stayed together and just started playing football the best way we know how, using our athletic ability and our aggressiveness,” head coach Kevin Nesbitt said.

However, Maret head coach Mike Engelberg said they just turned over the ball too many times.

“You can’t turn the ball over that many times and win in any level of football,” he said. “You turn the ball over, you’re gonna lose the game. So we didn’t get any turnovers on our end, and we just turned the ball over to them. So you add all that up, we just giving them short fields and easy possessions. If we get rid of the turnovers, we win the game. That’s all it boiled down to.”