For a brief moment in time, it seemed as though history was repeating itself. The Quince Orchard Cougars led 21-19 with an opportunity to secure the win and advance to the Maryland 4A state finals. But an incomplete pass by quarterback Matt Choi on fourth down at the Westminster Owl’s 3 yard line gave Maryland’s more prolific offense one more opportunity. With only 1:18 remaining, Owl’s quarterback Deryk Kern marched his team to the Quince Orchard 20 yard line. After spiking the ball with 1.8 seconds left, Westminster kicker Justin Cohen prepared to kick the Owls into the 4A state finals. For the Cougars, they may have thought back to last year’s 4A state finals, when they saw a 21 point lead evaporate and eventually the championship slip away when Old Mill record-setting running back, Rob Chesson, reached over the goal line for a successful 2 point conversion in overtime. This time, however, fate was with the Cougars. Cohen’s kick was narrowly pushed wide left by a blustery wind, leaving the Owl’s field goal unit collapsed on the ground as the Quince Orchard sidelines swarmed the field.
Coming into the game, the Owls averaged 43 points per game including a state record 61 passing touchdowns by Kern. The Cougar’s quick, hard-hitting, and athletic defense stifled the Owls, tallying four sacks, 2 interceptions, and a fumble, and defensive ends Andrew Ankrah and Kieran Gregory consistently forcing Kern to scramble. For much of the second half, Kern’s mobility appeared limited after a big hit by linebacker Marcus Newby. Newby tallied 8 tackles on the day including four tackles for a loss. The Cougars capitalized on two early turnovers. A fumble by the Owls on their 33 yard line gave the Cougars a short field that ended with a one yard run by Choi.
Choi, who ran 25 times for 126 yards, notched his second touchdown of the night on a 5 yard run following an interception by Kyle Gregory that gave the Cougars the ball at midfield. The Owls soon found their rhythm, with Kern (25 for 46 passing, 279 yards) hitting Garret Bean (8 catches, 107 yards) on a 41 yard post route. On the Owls next possession, Kern led the Owls on a 70 yard drive that was capped off by a 2 yard run by Dan Johnson with 3:34 left in the second half. However, a blocked extra point by D’andre Johnson kept the Cougars up 14-13. On the next possession, Choi’s (169 yards passing) pass down the middle was intercepted by Jesse Binder, who ran the ball to the Quince Orchard 2 yard line. Kern’s 4 yard touchdown pass to Bradley Metcalf (5 receptions, 78 yards) put the Owls up 19-14 at halftime, after a failed 2 point conversion. With 5:43 remaining in the third quarter, Choi hit Elliot Davis streaking down the right side of the field. Davis would cut across the field and out run the Owls secondary for an 83 yard touchdown. That would remain the only score of the second half. The Owls, who have scored at least one touchdown in every half this season, would be held scoreless the entire second half.
With the win, Quince Orchard advances to play the winner of Meade and Wise for the Maryland 4A state championship. The game will be held at M&T Bank Stadium at 7:30 on Friday, November 29th.
Final Score Quince Orchard HS 21 Westminster HS 19
Photos and story by Lisa Levenbach
Photos taken by Lisa Levenbach of the event can be viewed and purchased at