The Red Army appeared up in the bleachers behind their bold banner long before the game started and there they remained until every Cougar had quietly walked off of the field. Once all the stadium lights were extinguished at the Quince Orchard Cougar Dome, the Red Army gathered by red doors that led to the locker room. They waited for a long time to heartily applaud the downcast Cougars, contending with the sudden end to their 2013 season at the hands of Northwest in the 4A West Region final.
Several seasons have passed since Northwest felt so at home in the Cougar Dome, beating Quince Orchard twice in three weeks. Sophomore quarterback Mark Piece, along with Josh Gills, Matt Watson, EJ Lee, and their fellow Jaguars projected great confidence that never waned as they steadily reached their goal of getting ahead of the competition and staying on top for four quarters. They played during most of the time in this play-off game as if nothing could stop them from suiting up on Monday afternoon.
Now the Northwest Jaguars are the 4A West Champs, destined to meet up with the 4A North Champs, Paint Branch, on Friday, November 29th at 7pm. The team that prevails in the 3rd round will play for the Maryland 4A State Championship at M&T Bank Stadium. Soon enough, the Jaguars will show how far they can go, as they carry thousands of people’s dreams with them onto the next field.
Quince Orchard fans with a collective memory of countless enthralling, miraculous plays from the past clung to hope up until the last seconds. QO’s Elliot Davis recovered an onside kick and it seemed as if the Cougars got the final break they needed to go for a quick touchdown and 2 point conversion to tie up the game… but one foot had touched the line, leaving no time for any more special magic that the talent-laden program often summons up. Some QO starters from the past few years were on the sidelines to support their younger QO brothers. There was no talk of “Unfinished Business,” no mention of expecting Quince Orchard to make the State Final game for a third year in a row. When the sadness and bitter disappointment of losing a season for good had set in, one of last year’s team captains said, “This really hurts to see, because… they’re like my family.”
Some seniors will play in the Crab Bowl next month, and some will play for colleges next year, and some may never suit up again in their lives, but they will always be tied to the huge loving QO family that gathers in spirit to encourage them on the other side of the big red doors to the world.
Final Score: 28-20, Northwest
Scores for Northwest: Matt Watson – 3 TD, Josh Gills – 1 TD, Trint Coulter – 2 points, Diego Melendez – 2 extra points
Scores for QO: Kevin Joppy – 1 TD, Shawn Barlow – 1 TD, Greg Williams – 1 TD, Troy Porter – 2 extra points
Story and Photos by Lisa Levenbach
All photos from the game can be viewed and purchased at