ROCKVILLE – After achieving success last season, five Montgomery County teams will look to break through the pack in their quest for championship glory. Here are five wild card teams to watch out for this upcoming year. You can read more in-depth coverage on our website at www.thesentinel.com.
Paint Branch: Last season, the Panthers were two wins away from making their first state championship appearance since 1975. Despite losing 10 of their offensive starters, Paint Branch looks poised to make another run in the 4A North with senior running back Sam Doku leading the way. Paint Branch will lean heavily on the three-year varsity starter to start the season. Doku finished his 2018 season rushing for 1,084 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns.
Northwest: Northwest looks to build off of their 9-3 season to compete against Quince Orchard for the top crown in the 4A West. The Jaguars will switch over to a West Coast offense which is more pass-heavy. The change will make starting quarterback Jordan Morse more of a the focal point for the offense as his top weapon, junior wide receiver Kaden Prather returns as well.
Sherwood: With the return of 38 players from last year’s team, the Warriors will lean on their veteran experience this season. Amongst those returning is linebacker Adam Pfeiffer. The senior will look to replicate last year’s team-leading 96 tackles. On offense, senior running back Toy Trice returns after amassing 573 rushing yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and scoring five touchdowns last year.
Richard Montgomery: Rockets Head Coach Joshua Klotz is looking to “elevate” the team’s prospects this year following a 7-4 season. The Rockets have a good mix of veteran (24 seniors) and young (35 underclassmen) talent, led by senior running back T’Kai Ayoola. He finished his junior year rushing for 1,745 total yards and 19 touchdowns.
Churchill: After a 9-2 season, the Bulldogs are ready to prove that they are one of the county’s better football programs. The defense will be the team’s strength this season, Head Coach Willie Williams said. Senior linebacker Rocco Tranquill will lead the unit while also providing help offensively. Last year at running back, he ran for 1,219 yards and 24 touchdowns.