GAITHERSBURG – Friday’s 4A West regional championship between Quince Orchard and visiting Northwest turned into an old fashioned shootout at the Cougar Dome between two storied Montgomery County football programs.
When the dust settled, however, Northwest (9-3) emerged from the shadows with a 50-40 road victory over the host Cougars (10-2).
Northwest advanced to play Wise next weekend in a 4A state semifinal match-up.
“They’re a tough team in PG County,” said Northwest senior quarterback Mark Pierce, “so we just got to keep playing.”
Midway through the second quarter, Quince Orchard quarterback Doc Bonner put the Cougars ahead 21-7 on a 73-yard touchdown run down the sideline. The sophomore finished with 204 yards rushing on 13 carries and scored five touchdowns.
Quince Orchard head coach John Kelley described Bonner’s performance as “great” and said he’s eager for the quarterback’s return next season.
“The good thing about it he’s only a sophomore,” said Kelley, “so the good thing is he’s going to be with us for years to come. I’m proud of the way he played tonight.”
The Cougars also received contributions from junior running back Marvin Beander, who finished with 106 yards on 13 carries and scored a touchdown, and senior fullback Eisley Kim, who rushed for 80 yards on seven carries.
In the second quarter, Northwest erased a 14-point deficit when sophomore running back Juwon Farri reeled off a spectacular 62-yard jaunt that set up senior running back Khalil Owens’ two-yard touchdown run three plays later.
On the Jaguars’ next possession, Pierce connected with Ibrahim Konate on a 70-yard touchdown that tied the game at 21 apiece with 51.9 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter with Bonner scoring on long and short runs while his counterpart Pierce directed the Northwest offense.
Northwest junior wide receiver Reggie Anderson played an integral role in the win, making some key catches for the Jaguars.
Meanwhile, Northwest provided a stout defense late in the game as Jaguars’ junior middle linebacker Sam Pagella intercepted Bonner deep in Quince Orchard territory.
Owens then scored from seven yards out to put the finishing touches on the visitors’ victory.
“I had a lot to prove,” said Pierce. “People doubted us. Nobody thought we were going to win the game and we were the only ones who thought we were going to win this game.”
Northwest avenged its regular season loss to Quince Orchard and moved a step closer to capturing the program’s third consecutive 4A state championship.
Pierce also cemented his legacy in the annals of the storied Northwest-Quince Orchard rivalry.