Atkins’s 22-point performance leads the way as Mystics cruise past the Storm

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor
Courtesy Photo

BRADENTON, Fla. — An early-season faceoff between the 2018 and 2019 WNBA champions was a glimpse of what some expect to be a possible 2020 finals matchup.

Washington Mystics forward Ariel Atkins recorded 22 points, a game-high performance that included five 3-pointers, to lift her team to an 89-71 victory over the Seattle Storm on Thursday at IMG Academy.

The result was special for Atkins, who said she felt good leading the Mystics to the win on her 24th birthday.

“It feels good to be playing down here right now, especially what we’re playing for. Especially having Breonna Taylor’s name all over our season,” Atkins said. “It just feels good to put her spotlight on and for people to be watching us, and to be seeing her name all the time.”  

With the return of 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart and star point guard Sue Bird from injuries last season, the Storm will likely contend for another title run this season. Despite missing multiple stars, Washington’s strong start to the season has raised its expectations for postseason success.

Myisha Hines-Allen continued a strong start to the season, contributing with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists to help the Mystics remain undefeated at 3-0 this season. Guard Lelani Mitchell had team highs in assists (six) and steals (four) in addition to 12 points. 

The Mystics got off to a superb start offensively, connecting 10 of 16 field goals in the first half to take a 21-14 lead after the first that blossomed to a 50-32 advantage at halftime. 

The Mystics’ largest lead of the evening came when Mitchell found Hines-Allen for an easy layup, expanding their advantage to 25 points (69-44) with about three minutes to go in the third.

Washington remained efficient in transition and held its ground defensively to maintain the comfortable lead in the second half on its way to the 18-point victory. 

While the Storm outrebounded their opponent 38 to 36, they committed 18 turnovers to Washington’s nine.

Forward Emma Meesseman added 10 points, five boards and four assists while Aerial Powers poured in nine points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Mystics.

Bird was held to only five points on 2 of 7 shooting from the field, while Stewart registered 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Storm (2-1) picked up their first loss of the season. Sami Whitcomb had 11 points off the bench for Seattle.

“They’re (Storm) a really good basketball team, they have really high IQ – especially defensively, so I was really proud of our offense tonight,” Atkins said. “And defensively, I’m really proud of what we did. I think we can be a really good defensive team if we stay solid and don’t foul.”

Washington will aim to continue its early-season momentum as it returns to action Saturday at 6 p.m. against Kahleah Copper and the Chicago Storm.

Powers nets career-high 27 points as Mystics defeat Sun

Mystics get the best of Connecticut Sun in rematch from the WNBA finals 

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor
Courtesy Photo

BRADENTON, Fla. — Washington Mystics guard Aerial Powers scored a team-high 27 points, and Myisha Hines-Allen totaled 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the defending WNBA champions to a slim 94-89 win over the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night.

Emma Meesseman added 12 points, eight assists and six boards while forwards Ariel Atkins chipped in with 16 points to help the Mystics improve to 2-0 on the season.

Powers, a fifth-year player from Michigan State, and Hines-Allen got the Mystics off to a strong start as they took a 26-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.

However, DeWanna Bonner led the Sun’s comeback as they chipped away at Washington’s lead throughout the second. Bonner sank a deep 3-pointer with just under four minutes left in the first half to give Connecticut its first lead. 

In Washington’s next possession, Powers responded with a long-range 3-pointer from the left wing to help the Mystics reclaim the lead. However, Connecticut went on a 13-7 scoring run to take a 52-48 lead at the break.

To open the third, Washington got out in transition as Hines-Allen and Powers continued to produce on the offensive end, helping their team recapture the lead with three-and-a-half minutes remaining. Heading into the fourth, the Mystics held a 76-71 advantage.

Guard Essence Carson hit a corner 3-pointer off a feed from Hines-Allen, and Powers drilled another left-wing 3 to kick off the fourth quarter as Washington rebuilt a double-digit lead early on. The Mystics’ largest lead of the night, 88-73, came off of a breakaway lay-in by Hines-Allen with 5:52 left in the game.

The Sun didn’t surrender, though they were down 15 points with time ticking away. They forced multiple turnovers and went on a 7-0 run to close the gap to 88-80. Late 3-pointers by Jacki Gemelos and Bonner, along with a layup by Natisha Hiedeman, brought Connecticut within two points, 91-89, with about 1:40 remaining.

With a chance to tie the game, Bonner missed a fall-away jumper and a layup. Washington grabbed both rebounds and converted free throws to seal the win.

Bonner led Connecticut with a game-high 29 points with nine rebounds and five assists. Alyssa Thomas played a crucial role for the Sun, recording 28 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. With the loss, the Sun dropped to 0-2 to start the season. 

En route to the big win, Washington connected on 17 of 21 free throws (81%) and capitalized on 19 turnovers by the Sun. Powers was 10 of 14 shooting from the field, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. 

Washington hopes to continue the win streak as it faces the Seattle Storm at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

DeMatha football standout Greg Penn III commits to LSU

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

Four-star linebacker will take his talents to SEC football powerhouse 

BALTIMORE — DeMatha linebacker Greg Penn III, a four-star recruit and highly touted prospect of prominent college football programs, announced his commitment to Louisiana State University (LSU) on Sunday afternoon.

The rising senior recently narrowed his school list down to six: LSU, Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. Of those six, he was expected to commit to either LSU or South Carolina. 

On July 6, Penn posted on Twitter that he would publicly decide on July 12, leaving hundreds in anticipation of the announcement.

In a three-and-a-half-minute video posted to Penn’s Instagram page, he announced his commitment to the 2020 NCAA football championship program.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for the gifts that he has provided both on and off the football field. I also want to thank the many coaches and universities for recognizing my talents,” said Penn, who helped the Stags to a 7-4 record in 2019.

“Through this journey, my family has been my biggest fan…they are my reason why. I would like to thank my dad for encouraging me to strive for greatness, academically and athletically. I am thankful for my current and former coaches, as well as my trainers for believing in me.

“A special thanks to my DeMatha brothers, the DeMatha administration, and teachers who helped me to be the best version of myself. To whom much is given, much is expected. Therefore, I will be taking my gifts to the Louisiana State University.”

Penn, a tenacious pass rusher with a 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame, is regarded as a good fit for LSU’s defensive scheme. Past conversations and encounters between LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and Penn likely played a large part in the prospect’s decision. 

“They have a great track record of getting linebackers to the league,” Penn said according to a rivals.com report. “Coach Pelini and I really have a great relationship. Over the last couple of months, our relationship has really gone to the next level and I just feel comfortable there. I could really just see myself playing in that stadium when I went to that Florida game. I really got chills and I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”

Penn is the latest addition in LSU’s prolific 2020 recruiting class, many of whom are nationally ranked defensive standouts at their respective high school programs. 

A 24/7 Sports report noted Penn’s characterization of LSU as LBU (‘linebacker university’), a reference to the school’s pipeline of linebackers into the NFL over recent years. Penn hopes to join the class of elite DeMatha athletes to make his mark on the collegiate level when he transitions to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2021.

Gonzaga star Caleb Williams announces college decision on Fourth of July

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./The Sports Pulse

WASHINGTON — Gonzaga College High School’s Caleb Williams, widely regarded as one of the nation’s top prospects in football, announced his commitment to the University of Oklahoma on Saturday evening.

The five-star quarterback, ranked No. 4 overall in the class of 2021 by 247Sports and No. 1 overall as a dual-threat quarterback by ESPN, had more than 20 offers, including Alabama, Maryland, Clemson, LSU and Florida State. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder made the announcement via Twitter and on a live broadcast of CBS Sports HQ.

“With the past three quarterbacks, I honestly felt like it was for me…with what Coach [Lincoln] Riley has been able to do, I kinda just want to learn and hopefully get to the next level,” Williams said in an interview with CBS Sports.

“I got a year [left] here [at Gonzaga], but I’m ready to go and gain the trust of my teammates, earn a starting spot and hopefully help them get to a national championship.”

Over the past few seasons, OU has emerged as a program that has produced high-caliber quarterbacks. Two of the last three Heisman Trophy winners – Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018 – played for the Sooners. Jalen Hurts, a recent second-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, was a Heisman runner-up in 2019.

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson had a few words of acknowledgment for Williams, the rising senior at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) football powerhouse in Northwest D.C.

“What’s up, Caleb? It’s all about making good choices. Welcome to the family, and I wish you nothing but the best. Boomer Sooner,” said Peterson, a former Oklahoma standout.

In addition to being named the MVP of the 2020 Elite 11 Finals for the nation’s top high school quarterbacks, Williams registered 1,770 passing yards for 19 passing touchdowns and 838 yards on the ground for 18 rushing touchdowns in the 2019 season. 

One of the unforgettable moments of Williams’ prolific career was a last-second heave into the end zone to win the 2018 WCAC title game over DeMatha as a sophomore.

Oklahoma has already landed 11 high-profile prospects, receiver Mario Williams, tight end Ethan Downs and cornerback Latrell McCutchin, as the Big 12 program prepares for the 2020 season.

The latest member of OU’s class of 2021 recruiting class, Williams has been esteemed as “the most talented quarterback prospect to come from the Mid-Atlantic region in a decade” and “projects as a multi-year impact starter at the Power Five level with the upside to first round if not top 10 pick in the NFL Draft” according to an assessment by 247Sports’ Charles Power.

Gonzaga head coach Randy Trivers weighed in on Williams making the jump to the next level.

“Caleb Williams is rare talent,” Trivers said. “His excellence is most prominent when a competitive challenge arises. Oklahoma is fortunate to get this Eagle to eventually wear the Sooner uniform.”

Local teen helps organize iRacing event honoring George Floyd while garnering support for BLM movement

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

WASHINGTON — Two young gentlemen, one of whom is a local teen, joined forces to organize an event honoring the memory of George Floyd and countless other Black Americans who have lost their lives due to police brutality and racial injustice.

Rajah Caruth, a Washington, D.C. native, is an aspiring race car driver who collaborated with his friend, Monon Rahman, to coordinate the #GeorgeFloyd100 – an iRacing event designed to raise awareness of some of the social issues that have sparked worldwide protests over the past few weeks.

Caruth’s interest in NASCAR dates back to his adolescent days. Today, the 17-year-old is using his lifelong passion for not only enlightening the motorsports community but also gather support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Rahman, a motorsports engineer, recently approached Caruth with the initial idea of coordinating the iRacing event after noticing the motorsports community had been relatively silent following the death of George Floyd.

“Approached @rajahcaruth_ with this a few days ago – we want to shed more light on George’s death from the motorsports/iracing community since not much has been done for him in the industry,” Rahman wrote in a June 1 Twitter post.

“I had actually been wondering how something can be done really in the motorsports community just because nobody had really said anything yet,” Caruth said, adding that the outcome of the event exceeded expectations.

Rajah Caruth puts on his racing gloves as he gets ready to compete. Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./The Sports Pulse

The two were able to get more than 100 entries for the race and wound up raising more than $1,200 for the George Floyd Memorial Fund along with additional funds for related causes such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

“It wasn’t only to raise money, but to bring awareness and to hopefully have people from the motorsports community speak up and not ignore everything, you know,” said Caruth, who competed in the race as well.

“It was overall very fun to compete in, and it was cool to organize as well.”

Deemed an “ultimate global racing portal,” iRacing is an online racing simulation game that consists of a growing global community of global racers. Contestants in the race donated to the Floyd Memorial Fund and had paint schemes on their cars that paid tribute to victims of racial injustice, such as Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

“I feel like the people that competed in it felt like they were a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Caruth, an incoming freshman at Winston-Salem State University (N.C.) who will major in motorsports management. “That was very cool just to see them not so pressed about the result of the race, but why the race was happening.”

Caruth, a recent graduate of the School Without Walls in Northwest Washington, is a second-year member of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. He has finished top 10 in the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout race and will participate in the Summer Shootout again fairly soon along with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

The race, broadcasted live by STN Racing on the evening of June 5, was action-packed and won by eSports driver Jake Nichols. Shortly after the event, Caruth extended his gratitude to participants and acknowledgments to his partners with a heartfelt tweet.

“HUGE congrats to @JakeNichols73 on the win! My race was one to forget, but the event is one to be remembered forever. Thank you to everyone that registered, donated, competed, and supported this event,” expressed Caruth, also a development driver for Richmond Raceway eSports with aspirations of entering the professional NASCAR ranks one day.

“It means a lot to people of color not only in the sim racing community but in the motorsports community as well, to see such love and support in these hurtful times. I want to give @MononInc (Monon Rahman) the biggest thank you of all. Thank you for calling me last weekend with this idea and allowing me to pitch in and spread it around. 

“In addition, thank you to the broadcast team @STNRacing for broadcasting this event, and giving people a chance to watch it. Thank you to @steveluvender, @SimSeats, @RReSports, and every single person that aided this event’s completion. Thank you all. #BlackLivesMatter.”

Washington, D.C. Protests (Photos)

MoCo and PG County athletes win MPSSAA scholarship awards

By Harry Lichtman and Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse

GREENBELT — The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) has announced the winners of the 2020 Minds in Motion Scholar-Athlete scholarships, with a male and female recipient being selected from each of MPSSAA’s nine districts.

Back in March, the MPSSAA state semifinals had to be postponed and eventually canceled, along with the spring sports season, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic student-athletes were awarded nonetheless.

Two Montgomery County Class of 2020 winning athletes were Reece Petrolle of Damascus High School and Joanne Liu of Thomas S. Wootton High School.

Petrolle was a member of the boys’ lacrosse team at Damascus, as his senior season was unfortunately taken away from him due to the pandemic.

“It’s such a great honor for Reece to win the award,” said Swarmin’ Hornets Athletic Director Cliff Elgin. “He is a true student-leader and a great voice for our student body and supporter of all our athletic teams.”

While Petrolle mainly played boys lacrosse for Damascus, he was also on the football team until injuries prevented him from playing football any further.

Liu is also a multi-skilled athlete, competing as a swimmer and running track and field for Wootton, as she became the school’s first recipient of the award.

“We are all very excited,” said Patriots athletic director Alton Lightsey. “I was also able to teach her last year in Advanced Placement Language and Composition, where she impressed me with her analytical thinking and writing.”

Parkdale, Eleanor Roosevelt student-athletes honored with ‘Minds In Motion’ scholarships

David Onwonga of Parkdale High School and Jourdan Page of Eleanor Roosevelt High School have demonstrated outstanding initiative in the classroom and in their respective sports, prompting the MPSSAA to award them the ‘Minds in Motion’ student-athlete scholarships.

Of the 650 applicants throughout the state, only 18 were recognized, which speaks volumes as to how distinguished the honorees were. 

Each winner was awarded $1,000 apiece. According to the MPSSAA, applicants had to be seniors with a minimum 3.25 weighted GPA and “have participated in interscholastic athletic activities sponsored by MPSSAA.”

The Allstate Foundation has sponsored this thirteenth annual program since its inception in 2008. A total of $152,000 in scholarship funds has contributed towards empowering and supporting the education of tomorrow’s future leaders. 

Onwonga was beyond qualified for the Minds in Motion scholarship with a 4.1 weighted GPA and having excelled in outdoor and indoor track & field, basketball, and cross country between his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

Parkdale Athletic Director Brian Moore said he encouraged Onwonga to apply for the scholarship in early spring. Onwonga took a stab at it, and a few months later, MPSSAA sent an email notifying him that he was a scholarship winner.

“I knew he was certainly qualified for it,” Moore said.

“This goes to show, once again, whatever stereotype you have about Parkdale or Prince George’s County athletics, he (Onwonga) comes to dispel any of those myths…What he’s done with this particular award is put Parkdale High School on the map and in the conversation with other schools around the state that we produce stellar student-athletes.”

Of the 18 award winners, Onwonga may have one of the unique stories. He went from battling asthma to becoming one of the best long-distance runners in PG County. 

He endured a good deal of injuries and setbacks, but let none of the adversity hinder his success as a student-athlete.

As a sophomore, Onwonga tried out for the basketball team and was cut initially due to lack of stamina, he said, which of course, was a result of having asthma. However, the coach allowed him to participate on the team anyway and gave him a piece of sound advice at the end of the season that would change his high school athletic career.

“When the (basketball) season ended, he directed me toward track conditioning to get my endurance levels up,” Onwonga said.

“I trained for like two months… and I ended up winning county’s at the novice level.”

His sophomore season, Onwonga competed in the 800-meter run for Parkdale’s track & field program and won the county championships at the novice level. 

David Onwonga pictured above. Courtesy Photo.

As a junior, Onwonga ran cross country but unfortunately suffered a hip flexor tendonitis injury halfway the indoor track season, sidelining him for about four months, which means he missed the county championships, regionals, states and majority of the outdoor track season.

After recovering from the injury, Onwonga returned for the final three weeks of the outdoor season and set a personal record in the 800 with a time of 2:07.

“What drives me is not winning, but seeing my time improve,” Onwonga said. “When I see that I improve from a certain time, it makes me want to work harder.”

The summer before his senior year, Onwonga got hurt again: this time, a hamstring injury took a month to heal. Nonetheless, he was able to bounce back in the fall and place third in the county championship and at regionals. 

Onwonga went on to win the county title in the 800-meter run (time of 2:02) as a senior. 

Then arose another obstacle that unfortunately sidelined Onwonga for the regional and state meets: a plantar fasciitis injury.

Jourdan Page, an outside hitter for Roosevelt’s volleyball team, was a starter for three seasons after being bumped up from junior varsity as a freshman. Throughout her career with the Raiders, she has led her team to a regional championship, a county championship, and a 4A state semifinal appearance.

“It’s awesome to see someone recognize her for not only her athletic accomplishments but also the other parts of her Roosevelt achievements,” said Head Coach Scott Fifield.

As a junior and a senior, Page led Roosevelt in kills (170 this past season) and was second in digs.

Page, also a captain on the team, also recorded 52 aces, 34 blocks and 44 digs as part of a stellar senior campaign. Additionally, Page boasts a 3.8 weighted GPA. She applied for the scholarship in April, she said.

“I was honestly just looking for scholarships that I would qualify for, so I just saw this one, and I was like ‘Why not?’ It’s better that I apply for it and just see what happens than not go for it at all,” Page said.

“I was just very honored to receive (the award). Not just for the money, but the recognition is nice because it shows how much – being an athlete – you have to work on the court as well as off the court to be balanced.”

Page will head several miles north to compete for one of the better volleyball programs in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) at Morgan State University.

Page added to her athletic and academic accolades as a board member with the Student Government Association, the Black Student Union, and a volunteer with the Emerging Youth Leaders program and All America’s Youth Growth & Development program. 

According to Page, the fact that two PG County athletes were selected for the scholarship disproves any negative stigma attached to local athletics and academics. 

“I feel like people tend to look down on PG County sometimes, so it shows, you know, we have talent that needs recognition too,” she said.

Former Redskins cornerback among those accused of alleged Florida armed robbery, Breeland arrest met with opposition

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

MIRAMAR, Fla. — The latest developments in a case involving former Washington Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar and New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker have revealed that the two are innocent of armed robbery charges based on multiple affidavits from witnesses.

Numerous reports have confirmed that Dunbar’s lawyer, Michael Grieco, said he has allegedly five sworn affidavits from witnesses saying his client was not armed and had no involvement in an alleged armed robbery at a Miramar, Florida, cookout on May 13 following a fight that erupted.

“I’m confident that he was there but confident he didn’t commit a crime,” Grieco said about Dunbar, according to an ESPN report. “He got targeted because of who he was.”

On May 14, the Miramar Police Department (MPD) issued arrest warrants for Dunbar and Baker, outlining the alleged criminal acts on a 14-page affidavit, including armed robbery by forcibly taking money and watches from unidentified victims. 

Dunbar was accused of pointing a firearm at an individual as part of the purported incident, which led to multiple charges.

“A warrant to arrest has been issued for Deandre Baker, of the @Giants (four counts of Armed Robbery with a Firearm and four counts of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm.) Quinton Dunbar of the @Seahawks also has a warrant to arrest for four counts of Armed Robbery with a Firearm. Charges stem from an incident that occurred on May 13, 2020 in Miramar,” said the MPD on May 14 in a Twitter post.

Witnesses at the scene told investigators that two other men were involved in the alleged incident.

However, because Grieco and Bradford Cohen, Baker’s attorney, were able to obtain written statements from several witnesses refuting the abovementioned allegations, the scope of this case has taken an interesting turn.

Cohen, a criminal defense lawyer, based in the Fort Lauderdale area, issued a statement on Instagram on May 15 thanking MPD while pointing out Baker’s innocence.

“I want to thank @miramarpd for being professional in regards to surrendering and issues with the case. We understand that the officers can only base warrants on what was told to them at the time. We have had affidavits from several witnesses that also dispute the allegations and exculpate our client,” Cohen wrote.

“Our investigator has had them for some time. We would have rather presented them to the court at the proper time, rather than in the media, but in this day and age, people rush to judgement. Where some seek publicity, we seek justice. I look forward to moving this case forward to proper conclusion, as we believe our client is innocent of any charges.”

Dunbar, a former Washington Redskin standout, joined the club as an undrafted free agent in 2015 after leaving the University of Florida. The 27-year-old recorded 150 tackles and nine interceptions in 58 games over his five-year stint in Washington.

In March, the Seahawks acquired the 6-foot-2 Miami native in a trade with the Redskins.

The Seahawks’ public relations department has made it known that it will refrain from commenting on the situation. 

The team’s public relations division released a statement from a Seahawks spokesperson in a May 14 tweet: “We are aware of the situation involving Quinton Dunbar and still gathering information. We will defer all further comment to league investigators and local authorities.”

Whether the investigation and allegations will affect Dunbar’s future in Seattle and Baker’s future in New York is yet to be determined.

Former Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland’s arrest met with glaring opposition

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland was arrested on April 28 on multiple charges after an encounter with law enforcement officials outside of a Fort Mill, S.C. gas station. 

The former Redskins cornerback and punt returner was charged with driving without a license, having alcohol in a vehicle “with a broken seal,” having an open container of beer or wine in a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.

A police incident report noted that Breeland pushed a deputy as he resisted arrest. The officer reportedly drew his taser and gun, but didn’t fire either weapon.

NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo released a statement from Strom Law Firm – a group of attorneys representing Breeland – defending the 28-year-old’s innocence.

“We look forward to reviewing all available evidence in this matter, including the arresting officer’s body worn camera footage, dash camera footage, and surveillance footage from the gas station where the incident is alleged to have occurred,” says the statement.

“Mr. Breeland is facing only misdemeanor charges in connection with this incident. None of the crimes charged allege that Mr. Breeland was consuming alcohol at the time of arrest.”

The firm went on to say that Breeland’s encounter with police was prefaced by a lawful purchase at the convenience store.

“Moments after returning to his vehicle, a 2020 Range Rover with valid temporary paper tags, law enforcement officers approached Mr. Breeland and drew their weapons,” the statement says.

“We look forward to investigating why this level of force was necessary. Bashaud Breeland is innocent unless proven guilty. We look forward to the truth coming forward.”

Breeland helped the Chiefs become Super Bowl champions after a stellar 2019 campaign. During the 2019 regular season, he recorded 44 tackles, two interceptions on eight passes defensed. 

In his four seasons with the Redskins (2014-17), Breeland registered 255 tackles, 60 passes defended and eight interceptions in 60 regular-season games. 

Former Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland in action. Photo by Michael Smith/The Sports Pulse

After leaving Washington, Breeland joined the Packers for a season before coming to Kansas City in 2019. He re-signed with Kansas City on a one-year deal worth $4.5 million last month.

The South Carolina native took to social media to share his thoughts on the incident and the speculation that followed.

“Lot of people wanna speculate On my situation and don’t know the facts,” Breeland said in a Twitter post that has since been taken down.

“I really was at a gas pump got approach by two guys police pulled up they throw something my car as police pulled up which the cop saw and I was the one detained wit charges that really shouldn’t be charged.

“I’m not fighting to clear a name I don’t care wat people think I know the truth innocent until proven guilty.”

Washington Redskins unveil 2020 regular season schedule

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

WASHINGTON — The Washington Redskins have released their 2020 regular season schedule, which will feature several quality matchups as the organization prepares for what it hopes will be its first winning season since 2016.

Likewise, the NFL announced the 2020 schedule on May 7. The Redskins will begin their quest for a turnaround year when they host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. for the season opener. 

Washington faced Philadelphia last season on the first game of the season, dropping a close one 32-27. This time around, the Redskins aim to avenge that setback.

As it stands, all but two Redskins games will be broadcasted on FOX: A Week 4 home matchup against the Baltimore Ravens and a Week 11 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, both of which air on CBS. In that matchup, No. 2 overall pick Chase Young will try to take down No. 1 pick Joe Burrow. 

“Now that the schedule is out, you kind of see who you’re playing, and I’m pretty excited about it,” said veteran running back Adrian Peterson following the announcement of the schedule.

Landover, MD,: Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (26) in action during an NFL game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field in Landover, MD. (Michael R. Smith).

“We have a tough task in front of us, but I feel like we’re going to be ready for it.”

On Sept. 20 at 4:05 p.m., Washington will take on 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. 

After departing from Glendale, Arizona, the Redskins will play in Cleveland for a matchup against Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., and the Browns on Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. The Redskins will seek their fourth straight win over Cleveland dating back to 2008.

The football version of the ‘Battle of the Beltway’ will occur on Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. when Washington hosts 2019 MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. It will be the first time the two met since 2016 when Washington bested Baltimore 16-10. Then, Washington will host the Los Angeles Rams at FedExField on Oct. 11 at 1 p.m.

The Redskins’ first away divisional match will be at the New York Giants on Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. Last season, the Giants sailed to a 24-3 win over Washington on Sept. 29, 2019. Next will be the high-profile rivalry faceoff against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on Oct. 25.

The Redskins suffered two losses to Dallas 2019 – a Week 2 loss, 31-21, and a Week 17 loss, 47-16. This season the Redskins will have two chances to redeem themselves in arguably the biggest NFL rivalry matchup in recent history.

Following a Week 8 bye, the Redskins return to action against the Giants again. The rematch will be at FedExField on Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. After hosting Burrow and the Bengals on Week 11, Washington will again square off against Dallas for a Thanksgiving matchup with kickoff slated for Nov. 26 at 4:30 p.m.

“When you play Dallas, it’s such a big traditional game. You know you’ve got a captive audience because you’re the only game on that day at that time slot,” first-year Head Coach Ron Rivera said of the matchup.

“It’s pretty cool for our guys to know they’ll have the national stage, so I’m excited to play that game, especially in Dallas.”

On Weeks 13 and 14, Washington will be on the road versus the Pittsburgh Steelers (Dec. 6, 1 p.m.) and Super Bowl runners up San Francisco 49ers (Dec. 13, 4:25 p.m.). The Redskins last beat the Steelers in 1991.

After the Week 15 NFC matchup between the host Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks will be quite interesting, as the team will host the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 27 at 1 p.m.

Rivera will be taking on the team he formerly coached for nine seasons as Washington will look for its third consecutive win over Carolina.

“It will be so late in the season, the only people that will be making a big deal about it, in my opinion, will be the media,” Rivera said. 

“If it had been one of the first two or three games, I could have appreciated that, but being where they put it – right around Christmas time – I’m not sure if it’s going to have that much of an impact or meaning to me personally at that point.”

To conclude the regular season, the Redskins will play the same team they opened the year against: at Lincoln Financial Field against NFC East opponent Philadelphia Eagles, on Jan. 3, 2021, at 1 p.m.

Preseason 

  • Aug. 13-17, time TBD, vs. Tennessee Titans (NBC4/NBC Sports Washington) 
  • Monday, Aug. 24, 8 p.m., @ Indianapolis Colts (ESPN)
  • Aug. 27-30, time TBD, @ Jacksonville Jaguars (NBC4/NBC Sports Washington)
  • Thursday, Sept. 3, time TBD, vs. Baltimore Ravens (NBC4/NBC Sports Washington)

Regular Season

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, 1 p.m. (FOX) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, 4:05 p.m. (FOX) @ Arizona Cardinals
  • Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m. (FOX) @ Cleveland Browns
  • Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, 1 p.m. (CBS) vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, 1 p.m. (FOX) vs. Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18, 1 p.m. (FOX) @ New York Giants
  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. (FOX) vs. Dallas Cowboys
  • Week 8: BYE
  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, 1 p.m. (FOX) vs. New York Giants
  • Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15, 1 p.m. (FOX) at Detroit Lions
  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, 1 p.m. (CBS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
  • Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 26, 4:30 p.m. (FOX) @ Dallas Cowboys(Thanksgiving)
  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. (FOX) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, 4:25 p.m. (FOX) @ San Francisco 49ers
  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20, 1 p.m. (FOX) vs. Seattle Seahawks
  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, 1 p.m. (CBS) vs. Carolina Panthers
  • Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, 1 p.m. (FOX) @ Philadelphia Eagles

PGCPS celebrates student-athletes on College Signing Day

By Demetrius Dillard and José Umaña/The Sports Pulse Contributors

BALTIMORE – Student-athletes across Maryland comprised of the class of 2020 have experienced a year unlike any other graduating classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, as part of Prince George’s County Public Schools’ (PGCPS) celebration of College Signing Day, this year’s seniors made it a point to celebrate and announce where they plan to begin the next phase of their lives. Here are some of the key commitments announced:

4A schools announce historic signings

Kaniyah Harris (1) puts up a shot during a MPSSAA Girls Basketball 4A State Quarterfinal game at Charles H. Flowers High School in Springdale, MD. Photo by Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse.

Charles H. Flowers guard Kaniyah Harris reaffirmed her commitment to Howard University at the school’s virtual signing day while also announcing that she received more than $2 million in scholarship money. She led Flowers to its second consecutive county championship and a state semifinal berth while also being named the 2020 Prince George’s County 4A Player of the Year. 

“What more can I say about Kaniyah Harris,” Head Coach Roderick Hairston said after her 25-point performance in the state quarterfinals on March 26. “This was her senior year and she plays like the best senior in state.”

In Upper Marlboro, signing day attention at Dr. Henry Wise Jr. High School, generally reserved for its football team in February, was shifted over to its basketball programs. First, boys basketball senior Kejuan Frager announced his decision to head to Texas, where he would attend Paris Junior College. The 5-foot-8 senior help lead the Pumas to its first state semifinal appearance since 2017.

Meanwhile, Lady Pumas point guard Mesa Floyd announced her commitment to Caldwell University after leading the team in points per game (17.3). Floyd’s 11-point performance on March 2 allowed Wise to earn its first state playoff win over rivals Eleanor Roosevelt.

Following a 19-win season, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School boys basketball team will say goodbye to multiple players, including All-County First Team star Quinton Mincey, who will attend Mount St. Mary’s in the fall. Raiders officials also confirmed that guard Olumide Lewis would head to St. Mary’s College of Maryland after graduation.

Meanwhile, at Laurel High School, girls lacrosse star Clara Larios-Soto became the first Lady Spartan to commit to playing the sport at the collegiate level, signing with Mount Aloysius College. The senior recalled meeting with the coaching staff last season and visiting their campus in Cresson, Pennsylvania.

While she was unable to play during her senior year, Larios-Soto said she plans to continue training at home and continue working on her stick work, to ease in the transition to the college game. Together with her announcement, Laurel confirmed that free safety Markus Smith would play football for Chowan University this fall.

“I never thought I would be making history as the first lacrosse player to be recruited from Laurel; it makes me happy that I did,” Larios-Soto said. “I would like to thank everybody who supported me throughout my journey, including my parents, coaches, teachers and teammates.”

After capturing a 4A/3A regional title, Bowie High School’s 126-pound wrestler Dainon Kappes announced on his Instagram account that he would be attending the University of Maryland as part Head Coach Alex Clemsen’s first recruiting class. Kappes finished his senior year with a 31-2 record and a 3.8 GPA. He joins cornerback Devan Parrish (Frostburg State University) as Bulldogs athletes announcing their college designations.

Several student-athletes elected to stay close to home and continue their athletic endeavors with Prince George’s Community College (PGCC). Joining the Owls’ men’s basketball team are Central High School’s 6-foot-5 center Michael Calloway, Northwestern High School guard Marquise Delahaye and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Jahari Simon.

Bladensburg High School boys soccer captain José Argueta will take his talents to PGCC as well, becoming the Owls first signing for the 2020 season. The midfielder scored seven goals and completed five assists as the Mustangs won their second consecutive regional title.

3A/2A/1A student-athletes stay local

After leading the Oxon Hill High School boys basketball to a 21-4 season, senior Ronald Polite decided to sign with George Mason. The 6-foot-2 guard emerged as one of the premier athletes in the area as he averaged 22.5 points and 5.5 assists per game. George Mason Head Coach Dave Paulsen spoke highly of Polite’s leadership qualities and sees a bright future for the youngster.

Oxon Hill’s Ronald Polite (1) drives to the basket during a Prince George’s County boy’s basketball game at Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, MD. Photo by Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse.

“He has excellent vision, is very unselfish and knows where the ball should go. He has a knack for finishing in the lane and is becoming an excellent long-range shooter,” Paulsen said. “He competes on both ends of the floor and improves every time I see him. He’s going to be a big college guard with outstanding versatility.” 

Largo High School’s Vanessa Schwarzmann capped off a remarkable career as a 2019 All-County 3A/2A/1A First Team selection after averaging 19 points per game. Next season, she will play collegiate ball with the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex (CCBC-Essex). Fellow teammate Taylor Lewis, who earned All-County Honorable Mention recognition, announced her commitment to Coffeyville Community College.

Schwarzmann blossomed into a marksman from long range and discovered her role as a team captain by her junior year. While CCBC-Essex showed interest multiple times throughout the season, only one other school, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, attempted to recruit her during the season.

Because CCBC’s style of play welcomes 3-point shooting, signing with the program was virtually a no-brainer, the Lady Lions guard said.

“Really I feel like they were my only option and they were the most interested in me at the time,” Schwarzmann said. “I feel like they play the style that I play. I like to shoot 3s and that’s like what they do, so I feel like I can fit in.”

Largo’s track and field team, featuring members from last year’s state championship squad, announced their school commitments as well. They include Sade Panton (LIU-Brooklyn), Sanaya Ross and Alysha Pullium-Robinson (Chicago State University), Jaylen Jackson (NCCU) and Renaldi Falwell (Johnson and Wales).

Another local track athlete, Frederick Douglass High School’s Miles Gray, announced that he accepted a full athletic scholarship at Indiana Tech. On Feb. 1, Grey captured the 2A West Region Championship in the 300-meter race and finished second in the same event at the Indoor State Championships.

Gwynn Park High School Principal Melissa McGuire highlighted several scholar-athletes on their way to careers in collegiate sports, including girls basketball player Jenae Dublin. The 6-foot-2 guard will be playing for Iona College (N.Y.) after capping off her Yellow Jackets career by being named the 2020 PG County 3A/2A/1A Co-Player of the Year.

Potomac High School had several football players announce their college commitments early, including wide receiver Corey Dyches to Maryland and quarterback Dominique Anthony signing with Old Dominion.

However, several players from its 2A state runners-up squad made their commitments known on the special signing day, according to Coach Ronnie Crump. They include linebacker Anthony James (Marshall University); safety Xavier Dozier (Virginia Union University); defensive tackle Zion Pitman (West Virginia State); defensive tackle Donnell Watson (Chowan University); receiver Marquise Richardson (West Liberty University); tackle Maurice Hicks (Cisco Community College-Texas); receiver/safety Ortez Marshman (Bridgewater University); fullback Kwamai Phifer (Salisbury University); running back Dmarcus Holmes (Bluefield College); receiver Amir Anderson (Monterey Peninsula Community College); guard Kwane Booker (Anna Maria College) and guard David Moore (Bowie State).

Two-time conference champion Bulldogs release 2020 football schedule

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

Bulldogs are on a quest for a three-peat

BOWIE — The Bowie State University football program has recently released its 2020 football schedule.

BSU’s schedule, consisting of 10 games, will feature a few new opponents before conference matchups begin. Over the past two seasons, the Bulldogs have emerged as one of the top Division II football teams in the nation, repeating as CIAA champions in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Head Coach Damon Wilson anticipates the competitive matchups as he and the Bulldogs look to put together another strong campaign this year.

“We’re glad to have finalized our 2020 schedule and feel we’ve been able to schedule a very competitive non-conference schedule to go along with our conference schedule,” Wilson said.

Wilson is entering his 12th year as head of the program.

“The non-conference portion of our schedule will allow us to play three teams that represent three different [D-II] conferences and are excited about the opportunities to compete against some very good programs.”

Last season, Bowie State posted an 11-1 overall record and was 7-0 in conference play. The club’s only loss last season came in the first round of the playoffs to Carson-Newman.

BSU will head up to New England for its season opener at New Haven University (Connecticut) on Sept. 5 at 1 p.m.

The following weekend, Bowie will host Saginaw Valley State in their season opener at Bulldogs Stadium. The Bulldogs, who were led by former quarterback Amir Hall in 2018 and upcoming senior quarterback Ja’rome Johnson in 2019, will conclude their non-conference schedule at Texas A&M University-Commerce on Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. CT.

The conference opener for BSU will be at Livingstone in Salisbury, N.C., on Sept. 26, which will be followed by a Homecoming showdown against Johnson C. Smith on Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.

Bowie State’s only other two home games will be against divisional opponents Virginia State on Oct. 17 and Elizabeth City State on Nov. 7 – the regular-season finale.

A Week 6 faceoff will feature BSU at Chowan on Oct. 10; On Oct. 24, the Bulldogs will play at Virginia Union before squaring off against Lincoln on Oct. 31.