On Friday night after Northwest (7-2) upset previously undefeated Quince Orchard (8-1), you may hear some fans say the usual such as “Down goes Frazier!” or David has slain Goliath! Referring to the fact that no one would have thought Northwest would defeat the Cougars. The Jaguars coming off a close upset loss to Clarksburg the previous week 14-13, were probably the only ones that knew they could beat Quince Orchard but if you look a little closer, this isn’t the first time this year that Northwest went to another undefeated team’s packed stadium and came away with a win in reference to beating Paint Branch on there homecoming night in an overtime thriller.
With the crowd and critics against them, the Jaguars came in and went to work on the Cougars defense early and often which was another surprise seeing that Quince Orchard had only given up 26 total points to their previous opponents this season. Northwest sophomore stud quarterback Mark Pierce carved up the Cougars defense to the tune of four touchdowns passes while eclipsing the 300 yard passing mark throwing for 331 yards while completing 19 of 29 passes. Northwest senior wide receiver Matthew Watson and all everything senior star Josh Gills caught two touchdowns a piece from Pierce while Cougars senior star receiver Elliot Davis matched them with two touchdown receptions of his own.
The game first started off like a true heavyweight bout as both teams felt each other out leading to a scoreless first quarter. Once the second quarter came, that’s when the punches finally started to land as Northwest scored first with Pierce finding Gills from 2 yards out to go up 7-0. Northwest then came back with another blow as senior running back Rasheed Gillis banged his way into the end zone from one yard out to give the Jaguars a 14-0 lead. Cougars star running back senior Kevin Joppy ( 16 carries 95 yards) answered with a 10 yard touchdown run of his own to bring the Cougars within 14-7 only to be countered by another Pierce to Gills score that put Northwest up 21-7 by halftime.
As expected, Quince Orchard came out of halftime swinging as they drew closer to Northwest as Cougars senior quarterback Mike Murtaugh hooked up with Davis from 13 yards out to change the score to 21-13. Then just as the Quince Orchard players and fans thought the battle would swing in their direction, Pierce dropped a knockout blow by hitting Watson with a 86 yard bomb for a touchdown that would put Northwest up 28-13 silencing the Cougar crowd. Watson would add a 20 yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter for the Jaguars while Murtaugh and Davis would hook up for another score from 6 yards out to round out the scoring,
When asked how they went about beating Quince Orchard, Mark Pierce replied” We outplayed them on all three aspects of the game all night. We played more physical and with more intensity. It was a huge win for our team and program looking forward to Springbrook and the playoffs.”
Northwest head coach Mike Neubeiser was a little more specific saying” Our offensive line was the biggest difference in our performance on offense. They played with a lot of heart and did a good job of communicating throughout the game.” “On defense Rasheed Gillis was in the backfield all night! He played fast & physical on defense.” Neubeiser added.
“Overall the win was important for our program because it validates that we moving in right direction. We are improving. We still have a lot to improve on but we’re getting better as a team.” Neubeiser explained. Northwest will look to closeout the regular season on a high note as they travel to Springbrook while Quince Orchard looks to start another winning streak before the playoffs start as they go away from home to take on Wotton on their season finale. Both Quince Orchard and Northwest have clinched their playoff spots.
Story by Dominique Butler