ANNAPOLIS – Seven just might be an unlucky number for the Quince Orchard varsity football team.
The Cougars couldn’t score more than seven points Friday when they clashed with Wise from Prince George’s County in the 4A state championship game at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The defending state champion Pumas rolled to their third title in five years, 42-7.
The matchup against Wise is one the Cougars are familiar with.
After all, the two teams went head to head in the 2012 state title game that ended with seven total points for Quince Orchard and a Wise victory.
With the win, undefeated Wise entered the history books as the first team in Prince George’s County to repeat as state champions.
“I’m very proud of this team. We talked about that all year, to be the first team to go 14-0 back-to-back and win two state titles,” said Pumas Head Coach Dalawn Parrish. “We set that as a goal and these young men executed. They got better each week and that’s what separates them from other teams.”
Wise junior running back John Oliver finished the game with 93 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver and Thomas Stone transfer Demetri Morsell ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
Morsell was all smiles after his first championship victory.
“I’m feeling great and I’m happy,” he said. “Now I know how my teammates felt. I’m going to be smiling all week.”
Cougars Head Coach John Kelley said the Pumas performed as he expected they would.
“They were pretty much the status quo of what we thought they were going to do,” he said. “In the first half when we had the chance to put points on the board, we didn’t.”
The first half is one the Cougars would probably like to forget.
Each of Quince Orchard’s four possessions ended abysmally. The Puma defense swarmed junior quarterback Doc Bonner and senior running back Marvin Beander and forced three fumbles.
Wise junior linebacker Christopher Rhodes sacked Bonner for a 17-yard loss when the Cougars tried to convert a fourth down before the half.
The second half didn’t provide much relief for the stalled Quince Orchard offense.
Beander had rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season. The Pumas kept him out of the end zone and held him to just over 100 yards on the ground Friday.
The Cougars searched for a spark to help lift them out of a 29-0 hole in the third quarter.
Senior tight end Kieron Jones was that spark.
Bonner ran to his right and connected with Jones in the corner of the end zone for a three-yard touchdown.
However, the Quince Orchard celebration was short-lived as Bonner left the game with an injury a few minutes later after colliding with two Wise defenders.
Bonner lay on the turf for several terrifying minutes before he was stretchered off the field to receive medical attention.
The junior had stated after Quince Orchard’s semifinals victory against Annapolis that he and his teammates have a closer relationship than many other teams.
Bonner’s teammates echoed his sentiments after the game.
“This is the closest team I’ve ever played on. Every single person on our team I can honestly say is my brother,” said senior tight end Noah Pagley. “Nobody is going to get so far down. We’re all going to be right there. Everyone’s got somebody.”
Junior offensive lineman Mike Fierstein vowed that he and Bonner will return to lead the Cougars next season.
“I know [Bonner] will be back, that’s his nature,” said Fierstein. “This is a minor setback for a major comeback. [He and I] were going to lead the team next year. He’ll be back.”
Cougars backup quarterback Brayden Allemong took over under center after Bonner exited the game.
However, another fumble on fourth-and-goal from the five-yard line capped off an unceremonious ending to Quince Orchard’s season.