Yes, mothers of Quince Orchard football players, you will once again have to plan Thanksgiving around football practice as the Cougars advanced to next weekend’s 4A state semifinals through a convincing and rather quick 41-7 victory against Northwest Friday night in Gaithersburg.
Quince Orchard (11-1) jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead, largely behind the play of D’Andre Johnson and Tyrell Williams offensively and a total team effort defensively, winning the program’s third region crown since 2007 and second straight.
“We expected a close game [but] they said they wanted us and we took it to them,” Johnson said.
Johnson had a huge role in doing just that, scoring three times in the first half. His first touchdown was on a 22-yard reverse on Quince Orchard’s opening drive that was set up deep in Northwest territory because of an errant snap on a punt attempt. Then with 3:36 left in the opening quarter, Johnson, a senior defensive back and wide receiver, stripped a Northwest ball carrier and rambled 23 yards down the Jaguars sideline for a 14-0 lead.
“The reverse — we were going to come out with a trick play and we executed it,” Johnson said. “The strip — it was just there and I made a play. I just pulled it right out of his hands.”
Cougars senior running back Tyrell Williams (119 rushing yards) pushed that advantage to 21-0 with 31 seconds left in the first quarter on a 16-yard run right through the heart of the Northwest defense. Johnson followed with a 55-yard touchdown on an end around that was sprung through a punishing block by wideout Malcolm Brown.
“We just had some key blocks on the perimeter and I just made a play again,” said Johnson, who rushed for 89 yards on just four carries.
Quince Orchard quarterback Matt Choi added a 5-yard touchdown run to cap a solid first half for the senior signal caller, who rushed for 78 yards and passed for 95 yards in just 24 minutes of work. He sat out the entire second half, which was cut short through a mercy-rule running clock.
“We came out sloppy and we didn’t execute anything on the game plan,” said Jaguars senior quarterback Matty Callahan, who was limited to 8-for-20 passing for 51 yards and an interception in the first half before sitting the entire second half because of an injury. “We got beat in the trenches and I made a couple of mistakes myself.”
The Jaguars (8-4), who dropped a 24-10 decision to Quince Orchard Sept. 21, were limited to just 60 yards in the first half to go along with a couple of turnovers. The Cougars stuffed the line of scrimmage and chased Callahan around the field in the first half and deflected or batted down a couple of his passes.
“Our coaches did a great job analyzing the films,” Cougars linebacker Carlo St. Regis said. “They just did a great job of preparing us. We played a ‘dime’ defense (which employs more defensive backs) the whole game and I got to play some ‘D’ line. I think we did a great job getting after the quarterback. That made a big difference.”
Joshua Gills scored Northwest’s lone touchdown in the fourth quarter on an 1-yard run on a designed rollout. He played quarterback for the Jaguars in the second half. The Cougars then drove all the way inside the Northwest 5 yard line before running out the clock.
Quince Orchard 41, Northwest 7
Northwest (8-4) 0 0 0 7 — 7
Quince Orchard (11-1) 21 14 6 0 — 41
QO — D’Andre Johnson 22 run (Jake Barkdoll kick)
QO — D’Andre Johnson 23 fumble return (Jake Barkdoll kick)
QO — Tyrell Williams 16 run (Jake Barkdoll kick)
QO — D’Andre Johnson 55 run (Jake Barkdoll kick)
QO — Matt Choi 5 run (Jake Barkdoll kick)
QO — Tyrell Williams 2 run (kick failed)
NW — Joshua Gills 1 run (Milton Fletcher kick)
Northwest — Joshua Gills 13-76, Tyler Ambush 5-15, Byron Johnson 1-0, Matty Callahan 3-(-15)
Quince Orchard — Tyrell Williams 11-119, D’Andre Johnson 4-89, Matt Choi 12-78, Manuel Brown 4-32.
Northwest — Matty Callahan 8-20-51-1, Joshua Gills 2-4-9-0
Quince Orchard — Matt Choi 7-11-95-1
Northwest — Byron Johnson 4-18, Josh McDonald 1-5, Connor Allen 1-13, Tyler Ambush 1-17, Joshua Gills 2-0.
Quince Orchard —Kyle Gregory 2-19, Tyrell Williams 2-11, Malcolm Brown 1-27, D’Andre Johnson 1-23, Kieran Gregory 1-15.