Two Weeks of Quince Orchard Football Victories

Sherwood vs QO, and Gaithersburg at QO

A lot has happened over the last two weeks in the world of what has been one of Maryland’s most successful public school varsity football teams for more than a decade. Two weeks ago, Quince Orchard traveled to Sherwood and emerged victorious after what first year QO Head Coach John Kelley rightfully predicted would be a “dogfight.” The final score was 20-14, QO.

Darnell Leslie is #81 at Monmouth, where he has been having a predictably big impact as a defensive lineman during the past couple of seasons. His final game with Quince Orchard was in the 2011 Maryland 4A State Championship, when he wore #55. During a bye week for Monmouth, he came to support QO. He emerged from the visitors’ locker room at Sherwood to remark how being there in that locker room with his old team brought back many profound memories.It was heartening to hear how a successful college athlete could honestly miss the unique trials and triumphs, and even mundane things that marked his high school football years.

Sherwood vs Quince Orchard 2014 turned out to be one of those competitive games that everyone involved dreads, due to agonizing suspense, yet loves at the same time because the entire ugly fight is a noble effort that proves the worthiness of both sides. Sherwood scored the first touchdown, which always helps to boost morale in a highly anticipated match-up. Quince Orchard answered with a touchdown. The “dogfight” was on. Eventually, one Sherwood player was ejected from the game for trying to throw a punch. I turned to Darnell Leslie when Sherwood had possession with plenty of time to score and take the lead back from QO in the 4th Quarter, “Doesn’t this remind you of a lot of your QO games?”

“When the game was close and either team could win? You don’t know what will happen?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered, flooded with memories of turning away for various final seconds, quietly conjuring up irrational prayers for God to pick one side in a mere high school game, and losing my voice from screeching for joy upon finding out the seemingly miraculous outcome had gone QO’s way, or being stunned into silence for long hours after the stadium lights had gone out.

“I hate those games!” he declared.

I had to agree with Leslie. Those games are tremendously stress inducing. But the intense games that test us as players, coaches, and fans, are the ones worth remembering. Win or lose, we can’t wait to either get back out on the field again, or support the teams we love from whatever vantage point we have. The blowouts between mismatched teams are boring by comparison. Lop-sided match-ups cannot possibly prove much of anything for the victors, though they undeniably serve some important purposes.

The rare Thursday night October 16th game between Sherwood and Quince Orchard gave Coach Dave Mencarini (Coach Mac) the opportunity to be on the sidelines with QO, the team he headed for the past 10 years before starting his first season as head coach at Urbana. The following night, 3A powerhouse Urbana, Coach Mac’s new team, would go on to beat reigning Maryland 2A State Champions Middletown, 34-7. At some point during the final moments of the 2014 nail-biter between Sherwood and Quince Orchard, I asked Coach Mac if he thought Sherwood was QO’s greatest rival over the past decade. He agreed that Sherwood and QO have been engaged in a fierce rivalry for years, but that rivalry is just one of many for QO.

“Sherwood, yes, But we’ve often faced big challenges in important games with Damascus, Seneca Valley, Northwest… those are all great rivalries for QO. And there have been others.”

Coach Mac was right again. That is just a partial list. QO has had countless intense, memorable games with all of the aforementioned MoCo teams, and many more. For instance, most QO players and fans can recall games over the past decade with Clarksburg or Churchill that were full of suspense from kick-off until the clock ran out or one last play determined the fates of two powerful teams.

Something occurred at Sherwood that will impact all of QO’s remaining games this season. Senior defensive tackle, Adam McLean, a Quince Orchard team captain and a Penn State commit, just received his Under-Armour All American jersey at his high school on October 13th. In the second half of a competitive battle with Sherwood three nights later, McLean had to leave the game, walking off the muddy field with a knee injury. Upon hearing that he would have to stay out for the duration of that harrowing game, he seemed to slide seamlessly into a new vital role. While moving around on crutches, his voice could be heard urging his teammates to keep their heads up on and off the field. To never give up. Other QO teammates have been exhibiting fine character in their daily lives and showing strong leadership, taking action on the field, playing with a lot of heart every season. But not all great leaders in hard-hitting sports like football can also lead with their voices.

A week had passed since Sherwood and McLean was out on the QO field with his team before their match-up with Gaithersburg, wearing his jersey without pads. He was alongside the Cougars during warm-ups, holding a football like one of the coaches, engaged in every way he could possibly be. He led them all in pre-game prayers, and gave rousing motivational talks whenever they were assembled in their huddles and Coach Kelley was through speaking.McLean had been speaking as a team captain in huddles all season, but his words carried more weight by week eight. He walked out to the coin-toss with the other three team captains, seniors who have helped to make QO football strong; Jason Heyn, Kyle Green, and Griffin Miller. At halftime, Gaithersburg was still shut-out and there was a running clock that led to a final score of QO 52 – Gaithersburg 8, so McLean wasn’t needed on the field that Friday night. But he encouraged those who stepped up to take his place, as well as those he’d happily played alongside for two seasons at Quince Orchard. Then he made sure to cheer on some teammates who got the rare chance to come off the sidelines to make varsity plays.

McLean found out that his knee injury will require surgery and that he will be confined to the sidelines for the rest of his senior season. This is a hard blow to him and his family, his team, his Coaches, and to QO fans everywhere. Watching an All-American like Adam McLean play is inspirational, even to rivals who can say they got the chance to go up against him before he went on to play D1 college football. On Saturday, November 1st, Quince Orchard will travel to meet up with the only team that beat them in the regular season last year. Two weeks after Northwest beat Quince Orchard in the play-offs, Northwest won the 2013 Maryland 4A State Championship. Quince Orchard has something to prove this year after returning only a few starters. McLean is one of them. QO’s roster is filled with a lot of determined, talented young men who are gearing up for their next formidable contest. QO doesn’t have home-field advantage this season, but it is only a short bus ride down the street to Northwest.

Final Score Quince Orchard HS 20 Sherwood HS 14
Final Score Quince Orchard HS 52 Gaithersburg HS 8

Story and Photos by Lisa Levenbach

All photos from the game can be viewed and purchased at http://mocodaily.smugmug.com/High-School-Sports/20142015-High-School-Sports/Football/10-16-2014-Sherwood-HS-vs/

All photos from the game can be viewed and purchased at http://mocodaily.smugmug.com/High-School-Sports/20142015-High-School-Sports/Football/10-24-2014-Quince-Orchard-HS/

Northwest 8-0 with win over Clarksburg

The Clarksburg Coyotes won the toss and Northwest is set to receive the kick off on this cool night in Coyotes Canyons. On the opening play of the Jaguars #23 EJ Lee scored on a 68 yard run with the extra point being good, setting the score at 7-0 with only 19 second into the game. The Coyotes #18 Joe Nacci does a quarter back keeper and runs 56 yds putting the ball on the Jaguars 5 yard line, and then scores on another 3 yd keeper, the extra point was good setting the score at 7-7 with 9:46 left in the 1st. Jaguars end up punting on a 4th and 9, the Coyotes end up going 3 and out setting up a 4th and 5 to punt at the 50 yard line. Jaguars #1 Jamar Wilson take the ball and scores on a 55 yd run with the extra point being good, 14-7 with 5:04 left in the 1st.

In the beginning of the 2nd quarter, Coyotes come to a 4th and 10 and decide to kick a field goal, Jaguars end up getting a roughing the kicker penalty giving the Coyotes a 1st and goal. #88 Larry Edwards scores on a 2 yard run with the extra point being good, 14-14 with 10:13 left in the 2nd. Jaguars #1 Jamal Wilson scores his 2nd touchdown of the game on a 20+ yard pass, extra point good score 21-14 Jaguars, 8:19 left in the 2nd quarter. The Coyotes are on the Jaguars 12 yard line with a 4th and 2 and draw a Jaguar Penalty for being offside, giving the Coyotes a 1st goal, they can’t get the ball in and turn over on downs. With 46 seconds left in the first half, #23 EJ Lee scores his second touchdown of the game on a 35 yard pass, extra point good, Score Jaguars 28-14.

Starting the 3rd quarter, Coyotes #42 William Kraus intercepts a Mark Pierce pass and returns it 40 yards putting the ball on the Jaguars goal line, #2 Tyler Fenslau scores on a short run and the extra point being good, sets the score at Jaguars 28-21 Coyotes with 9:27 left in the 3rd quarter. The Jaguars move the ball down field and get to the goal line and cant get it in, so they decide to kick a field goal, with 5:14 left in the 3rd, score 31-21. Coyotes #22 Tavis Holland catches a pass and runs 79 yards to score a touchdown, the extra point was blocked by Jaguars #7 Troy Lefeged, score 31-27 with 5 minute left in the 3rd. Jaguars #23 EJ Lee scores his 3rd touchdown on a 20 yard run, the extra point was no good, score 37-27 4:10 left in the 3rd. Coyotes #2 Tyler Fenslau respond with a 57 yard run for his 2nd touchdown, extra point good, Jaguars 37-34 with 1:34 left in the 3rd.

To start the 4th quarter, the Jaguars fail to convert on a 4th and 6 and turn the ball over to the Coyotes on the 7 yard line, the Coyotes fail to move the ball and are forced to punt on a 4th and 9, Jaguars get the ball on the Coyotes 41 yard line. On 4th and 10, Jaguars #1 Jamar Wilson takes it 18 yards for a touchdown, extra point being good sets the score at 44-34. Coyotes drive down field and get to the goal line, and on 4th and 1/2 a foot the Jaguars hold them back and take over on their goal line with 1 minute left.

Final Score Northwest 44 Clarksburg 34

Story and Photos by Jeffrey Vogt

All photos from the game can be viewed and purchased at http://mocodaily.smugmug.com/High-School-Sports/20142015-High-School-Sports/Football/10-24-2014-Clarksburg-HS-vs/

MCPS 11th & 12th Grade Girls Cross Country Championship Coverage

Today the Montgomery County Public Schools Cross Country Championship was held at Gaithersburg’s Bohrer Park, we provided coverage for the 11th and 12th grade girls event. The top 5 athletes in order are, 1st place Lucy Knapp a 11th grade student from Walter Johnson HS with a time of 21.55, 2nd place Megan Gaines 11th grade student from Walt Whitman HS with a time of 21.57, 3rd place Sophia Glazer a 12th grade Student from Walt Whitman HS with a time of 22.15, 4th place Annie Sharkey a 11th grade student from BCC HS with a time of 22.23, 5th place Victoria Gregoria a 11th grade student from Walter Johnson HS with a time of 22.36. To see a complete list of finishers visit www.mocorunning.com

Story and Photos by Jeffrey Vogt

All photos from the game can be viewed and purchased at http://mocodaily.smugmug.com/High-School-Sports/20142015-High-School-Sports/Cross-Country/0-18-2014-MCPS-Cross-Country/

MCPS 11th & 12th Grade Boys Cross Country Championship Coverage

Today the Montgomery County Public Schools Cross Country Championship was held at Gaithersburg’s Bohrer Park, we provided coverage for the 11th and 12th grade boys event. The top 5 athletes in order are, 1st place Donnie Gaines a 12th grade student from Northwest HS with a time of 17.55, 2nd place Clayton Cole a 12 grade student from Richard Montgomery HS with a time of 18.14, 3rd place Mark Donohue a 12th grade Student from Churchill HS with a time of 18.17, 4th place Jonathan Zisk a 12th grade student from Walter Johnson HS with a time of 18.20, 5th place Armaan Kohli a 11th grade student from Walter Johnson HS with a time of 18.22. To see a complete list of finishers visit www.mocorunning.com

Story and Photos by Jeffrey Vogt

All photos from the game can be viewed and purchased at http://mocodaily.smugmug.com/High-School-Sports/20142015-High-School-Sports/Cross-Country/18-2014-MCPS-Cross-Country/

MCPS Varsity Girls Cross Country Championship Coverage

Today the Montgomery County Public Schools Cross Country Championship was held at Gaithersburg’s Bohrer Park, we provided coverage for the Varsity girls event #2. The top 5 athletes in order are, 1st place Nora McUmber a 12th grade student from BCC HS with a time of 18.12.45, 2nd place Lucy Srour, 12 grade student from Churchill HS with a time of 18.41.92, 3rd place Lucie Noall a 12th grade Student from Clarksburg HS with a time of 18.49.88, 4th place Kiernan Keller a 12th grade student from Walter Johnson HS with a time of 18.54.97, 5th place Abbey Green a 9th grade student from Walter Johnson HS with a time of 18.55.70. To see the top 25 students and the schools total point and placement go to the MCPS Scores & Standings page located at http://www.mocodaily.com/wp/wp-data/MCPS-CrossCountry.html

Story and Photos by Jeffrey Vogt

All photos from the game can be viewed and purchased at http://mocodaily.smugmug.com/High-School-Sports/20142015-High-School-Sports/Cross-Country/10-18-2014-MCPS-Cross-Country/