If one player carries the ball 42 times for nearly 300 yards in a high school football game, usually it means he did most of the work.
Quince Orchard High School senior running back Mark Green's season-best 276 rushing yards and two touchdowns certainly stood out in the Cougars' 23-12 victory over Prince George's County's Charles H. Flowers in Friday's 4A state semifinal in Gaithersburg.
But Green wasn't the only one who put up season high numbers in Quince Orchard's well-rounded performance.
The Cougars advance to play Anne Arundel's Old Mill Friday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore for a shot at their first state title since 2007, third overall.
“I've been lucky enough to get there before [and win in 2007],” Quince Orchard coach Dave Mencarini said. “It is a great experience the kids will never forget. They get to play in an NFL stadium. How cool is that? We have one more game to get ready for, it's going to be a lot of fun.”
Quince Orchard's (13-0) multifaceted offense was on display against the Jaguars (9-4), who were making their seventh postseason appearance in eight years.
Quince Orchard senior quarterback Billy Plante threw for a season-high 176 yards and a touchdown on 11-for-15 passing Friday and junior running back/receiver Tyrell Williams caught six receptions for a season-best 142 yards and a touchdown.
“Mark is the best [running] back we've ever had,” Cougars coach Dave Mencarini said. “Tyrell is great [too]. He's a heck of a player. We have complete faith in both of them, they're high character guys.”
Quince Orchard's defense, led by 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior linebacker Marcus Newby and senior tackle Darnell Leslie (6-2, 224), was a big reason why Green, Plante and Williams were able to put on such a show.
The Cougars recovered a Flowers fumble on the goal line in the Jaguars' opening possession and came up with two timely interceptions in the second half.
“I'm glad we have a defense like ours because they make a lot of big plays to keep the offense on the field,” Green said. “We have a lot of weapons on offense, we're able to spread out [opposing defenses] with different formations. It's hard [for teams] to guard a versatile offense.”
After recovering the goal line fumble, Quince Orchard went three-and-out on its first series. But the Cougars got the ball back and took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter on Williams' 44-yard reception.
One quick cut to the left was all Flowers senior running back Edwin Walker needed to break free for a 66-yard touchdown run less than two minutes later to cut the Cougars' lead to 7-6.
Walker finished with 125 yards on 18 carries.
Green stretched Quince Orchard's lead to 14-6 early in the second quarter on a 14-yard run and then to 20-6 with 18 seconds to play before halftime on a 39-yard scamper in which he survived two attempted tackles and several defenders' grabs at this ankles.
Chris McPherson's 34-yard field goal gave Quince Orchard a comfortable 23-6 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Jaguars kept plugging away, though, and brought themselves to 23-12 early in the fourth quarter on senior quarterback Jonathan Holland's 28-yard pass to junior Keith Payne.
Quince Orchard sophomore Malcolm Brown's interception on a threatening Flowers drive later that quarter all but clinched the contest.
“We just made too many mistakes [Friday],” Flowers coach Mike Mayo said. “We had a chance to score on that first drive but that fumble killed us. That was a huge momentum swing. [Quince Orchard] ran a lot of counters and sometimes we were out of position, but a lot of times we just didn't tackle well.”
Quince Orchard 23, Charles H. Flowers 12
C.H. Flowers (9-4) — 0 6 0 6 12
Quince Orchard (13-0) — 7 13 3 0 23
Q — Tyrell Williams 42 pass from Billy Plante (Chris McPherson kick)
F — Edwin Walker 66 run (kick failed)
Q — Mark Green 14 run (Chris McPherson kick)
Q — Mark Green 39 run (kick failed)
Q — Chris McPherson 34 field goal
F — Keith Payne 28 pass from Jonathan Holland (run failed)
RUSHING — F: Edwin Walker 18-125; Jonathan Holland 2-22; Brendan Hylton 4-8. Q: Mark Green 42-276; Tyrell Williams 4-7.
PASSING — F: Jonathan Holland 8-21-113. Q: Billy Plante 11-14-176.
RECEIVING — F: Keith Payne 3-78; Monte Tayler 2-22. Q: Tyrell Williams 6-142; D'Andre Johnson 1-22; Matt Choi 1-13.