Seneca Valley High School football coach Fred Kim estimated “Q. Orchard” appeared about 480 times in his team's locker room. Kim's staff had hung about 60 copies of The Gazette's eight sports writers each picking No. 2 Quince Orchard to win Friday's game.
By senior James Jones-Williams' count, it felt more like 8,000 instances of “Q. Orchard.”
In a game between undefeated teams, No. 4 Seneca Valley made sure two numbers won't be doubted:
Seneca Valley 12, Quince Orchard 9.
“We had to shock the world,” Jones-Williams said. “We had to prove something. And that's what we did. ... There was no way they were going to — they hadn't played a physical team yet. We were the first physical team they played.”
Afterward, Seneca Valley kept the physicality up during its celebration with hugs that would have hurt like wrap-up tackles and high fives that would have stung like bees if the adrenaline wasn't still pumping. It was Seneca Valley's first win against Quince Orchard in the five games since their series resumed in 2009 after a long hiatus.
“We were just so fired up, we couldn't control ourselves,” said quarterback Calvin Reighard, who threw touchdown passes to Jones-Williams and Kevin Joppy. “It was a great win.”
Reighard — who actually trained during the offseason with Quince Orchard coach Dave Mencarini — threw a 34-yard screen pass to Jones-Williams midway through the third quarter for the game's first score.
Quince Orchard receiver D'Andre Johnson answered with a 35-yard touchdown catch that deflected off a defender midway through the fourth quarter, and Quince Orchard led, 7-6.
On the next drive, Reighard threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Joppy, giving Seneca Valley a 12-7 lead.
But Johnson returned the kickoff 52 yards, and, on the next play, Tyrell Williams — who ran for 131 yards in his first game since the opener — cracked his longest gain of the day: a 33-yard burst to the 4-yard line.
“We were awful scared,” Kim said.
Seneca Valley cornerback Trevon Thacker — who had been blocked and helplessly watched Williams roar through his defense zone — thought to himself, “We're in a dogfight.”
After three stuffed runs, Thacker tackled Quince Orchard quarterback Matt Choi in space on fourth down, allowing Seneca Valley to take a safety and preserve its win.
“I knew I had to make a stop,” Thacker said. “We were fighting. We were fighting all game.”
Mencarini hopes his team fights like that going forward.
“This isn't the end of our season,” Mencarini said. “We've got to remember how this feels. We've got to make sure it never happens again. ... We're going to be one pissed off team next week.”
Kim is also looking forward. He knows he can no longer play the underdog card often, but maybe he can once more. Seneca Valley and Damascus, Montgomery County's only remaining unbeaten public school teams, meet in week nine.
Or maybe Seneca Valley's opponent doesn't matter.
“We feel like we can't be beaten,” Jones-Williams said. “We're shocking the world.”
Seneca Valley 12, Quince Orchard 9
Quince Orchard (4-1) 0 0 0 9 — 9
Seneca Valley (5-0) 0 0 6 6 — 12
SV — James Jones-Williams 34 pass from Calvin Reighard (kick failed)
QO — D'Andre Johnson 35 pass from Matt Choi (Jake Barkdoll kick)
SV — Kevin Joppy 12 pass from pass from Calvin Reighard (pass failed)
QO — Safety -4 run
Quince Orchard — Tyrell Williams 26-131; Matt Choi 9-21; D'Andre Johnson 2-2.
Seneca Valley — James Jones-Williams 9 -43; Kevin Joppy 5 -35; Calvin Reighard 15-29; Jamir Wilson 1-(-4).
Quince Orchard — Matt Choi 9-15-93-0.
Seneca Valley — Calvin Reighard 9-22-95-0.
Quince Orchard — D'Andre Johnson 3-50; Elliott Davis 3-26; Malcolm Brown 3-17.
Seneca Valley — James Jones-Williams 3-53; Travis Arthur 3-18; Kellen Staton 2-12; Kevin Joppy 1-12.