Sherwood beats rival Blake with a Hail Mary from a baseball star

With five seconds remaining in its game Friday night, the Sherwood football team scrapped its schemes and gave quarterback Amari Allen a simple task: Heave the ball to the end zone.

Allen, who throws a 90-plus-mph fastball as a baseball pitcher, chucked the ball 46 yards to his tallest wide receiver, Eyasu Palmore. Palmore tipped the ball, and wide receiver Markel King, standing behind Palmore, grabbed it near the 3-yard line and ran into the end zone, sending Sherwood players sprinting across the sideline in celebration of their 27-21 win over Blake in Sandy Spring .

“I’m waiting for a tip,” King said. “I was shocked myself. This is beyond a dream. This is special.”

The game-winning connection came between first-year high school players. Allen, the reigning All-Met baseball player of the year who led Sherwood to the Maryland 4A championship in May, played football growing up. While the senior had focused on baseball in high school, he wanted to experience the exhilaration of football before graduating and continuing his baseball career.

King plays basketball, but the senior spends every Sunday glued to his TV watching the NFL. Inspired by Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, King began training with the football team in the offseason.

When Sherwood (2-1) practiced a Hail Mary on Thursday, players failed to catch the ball. On Friday, after Blake (2-1) punted with 56 seconds remaining, Sherwood began its final drive near the 30-yard line. Allen’s 40-yard run placed the Warriors at the 41-yard line with 30 seconds remaining. After Blake sacked Allen on consecutive plays, he showcased his arm strength.

“We just wanted to throw it up and pray that somebody caught it,” Allen said. “I left it all up to God.”

Sherwood led 21-7 at halftime before Blake used a long run and pass to knot the score early in the fourth quarter. When the Warriors had a chance to take a lead with 2:33 remaining, the Bengals blocked their 30-yard field goal attempt.

Friday’s game held extra significance for players on both teams. Blake, four miles from Sherwood in Silver Spring, opened in August 1998 after Sherwood’s enrollment exceeded its capacity. Blake made the matchup a rivalry in September 2019, when it earned its first win over the Warriors, one of Montgomery County’s most accomplished programs, on a two-point conversion in overtime.

Friday’s game also appeared destined to enter overtime. Instead, it ended with Sherwood players raising King as they broke their postgame huddle.

“I don’t even know where to start,” Sherwood Coach Andrew Fields told his players after the game. “It was the ugliest win. But it was the most beautiful win.”

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