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By Lem Satterfield @satterfield_lem
On the evening of Nov. 30, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Quince Orchard running back Marquez Cooper rushed for 243 yards on 39 carries and touchdowns from 1, 5 and 12 yards.
Cooper’s effort led the Cougars (13-1) football team to its third state championship, 40-33, over Class 4A rival North Point of Charles County.
Seven days later on Dec. 7 and 8, the 182-pound junior wore a wrestling headgear and singlet while pinning shoulders to the mat at the Armed Forces Duals at North Hagerstown High in Washington County.
Cooper went 9-0 with 27 takedowns and six pins, one of which came in the third period over Sherwood’s Yusuf Higazi, a returning regional champion and third-place county finisher.
Cooper also won 12-9 over Old Mill’s 30-match-winning, third-place regional finisher Levi Garren and 12-6 over St. John’s Jake Sita, who was coming off a third-place finish at McDonogh of Baltimore’s Ray Oliver Tournament.
Also wrestling well was state title game fullback-linebacker Ryan Jones (220), a junior who went 8-1 with four pins.
“The big story was from two of the Cougars’ gridiron stars, juniors Marquez Cooper and Ryan Jones,” said Quince Orchard coach Rob Wolf. “They had just finished their football season in Annapolis a mere week ago with a Maryland 4A state title.”
Cooper rushed for 2,021 yards and 38 touchdowns.
“Marquez ran for over 2000 yards and set a new Quince Orchard single season touchdown record,” said Wolf. “At the tournament, he had signature wins over Yusef Higazi, Jake Sita and Levi Garren.”
Last year, Jones won 28 matches and was fifth at counties before finishing fourth at both regions and states.
“[Marquez and I] had to transition really quick from the state championship football game, but it really feels good to be having this kind of a season already so far,” said Jones. “Some of my family members were into wrestling, so that’s how I got into it. I’ve been wrestling since eighth grade.”
Senior Jose Echeona (132), a county runner-up who was third at regions and fourth at states, earned his 100th career victory by major decision over Tim Costello of St. John’s.
Echeonoa went 7-2 with five pins on the weekend, with three of his falls taking only 7, 15 and 21 seconds. Echeona finished the weekend at the 106-career victories mark. Senior Jay Bollinger (195) finished at 7-1 for the Cougars, who went 5-4 over the two-day event.
On Monday, the Cougars (5-5) lost 53-21 at Whitman, where Echeona’s major decision represented his 107th career victory and improved his record to 8-2 with five pins.
Cooper won his Whitman bout by technical fall to improve to 10-0 with six pins and a technical fall, and junior teammate Rico Cornejo (132), by pin to rise to 8-2. The Vikings forfeited to Jones, who is 9-1 with four pins on the year.