On the first Friday of November, with the air just as warm as a late summer night, the Paint Branch Panthers experienced a bittersweet ending to their 2015 football season on their home field in Burtonsville, Maryland. There was a lot to be proud of as the high school celebrated all varsity football, cheerleeding, poms, marching band & color guard seniors. Paint Branch alumnus and 3-time NFL Pro-Bowler Darnell Dockett was present for the coin toss, just before having his #54 Jersey retired. Then, as an added bonus, the Paint Branch Panthers who won the State Championship together 40 years ago in 1975 were honored at half time.
The Panther’s offense executed a stunning opening drive ending with a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Armani Ceballos to receiver JD Guerrero. But soon enough, the visiting Quince Orchard Cougars were able to put points on the board. The Cougars scored during each quarter while managing to keep Paint Branch from scoring again until the last minute of the game. This 2nd loss of the season to top seeded teams Sherwood and QO prevents the Panthers from clinching a playoff berth in their competitive 4A North Region. Though a great season for one talented team has come and gone before the post-season begins, everyone I encountered on the Paint Branch sidelines handled the deep disappointment with admirable grace.
For Round 1 of the playoffs, Quince Orchard will be hosting Blair at the Cougar Dome on Friday, November 13th at 7:00 pm.
Scores for Paint Branch: JD Guerrero – 2 TD’s, Bryant Hernandez – 2 extra points.
Scores for Quince Orchard: Shawn Barlow – 2 TD’s, Marvin Beander – 2 TD’s, Doc Bonner – 1 TD, Oliver Clowes – 1 field goal and 5 extra points.
Final Score Paint Branch 14 Quince Orchard 38
Story and Photos by Lisa Levenbach, MoCoDaily
All photos from the game can be viewed and purchased at https://mocodaily.smugmug.com/High-School-Sports/20152016-High-School-Sports/Football/11-06-2015-Paint-Branch-HS-vs/