The Quince Orchard High School football team looked spent. The result of a close and physical game, nearly every player in the post-game huddle stood with his mouth agape and eyelids sagging.
Except Connor Tilton, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound lineman whose grin was big enough for three players.
Tilton was still beaming from his blocked extra point, the difference in No. 2 Quince Orchard's 7-6 win at No. 4 Damascus on Friday.
“I'm going to be up until midnight, just because I have so much adrenaline,” Tilton said as he was still trying to catch his breath after the game.
Damascus quarterback Chase Williams, set up by Jake Funk's interception, snuck in a 1-yard score late in the first quarter. But Tilton surged up the middle and blocked the extra point.
On the next possession, Quince Orchard receiver Elliott Davis made a one-handed, 28-yard catch in tight coverage with his off hand, and Kevin Joppy ran for a 7-yard touchdown with 15 seconds remaining in the quarter. Troy Porter kicked the extra point and neither team scored again.
Damascus drove late in the game, but a missed 44-yard field goal with 47 seconds left ensured Quince Orchard coach Dave Mencarini would claim his 100th career victory.
“I'm just happy to win,” said Mencarini, who had the cooler dumped on him and later gave the game ball to his father. “I tell you what, we had no business winning that game, and my hats off to the guys at Damascus. They played their hearts out, as did our kids. It was a great high school game. A lot of mistakes. Sloppy. But we were fortunate enough to pull out the win in the end.
“I've been around a lot of great kids. The 100 wins certainly didn't come from Dave Mencarini. They came from great players and the great coaches that we have.”
Friday's game showcased several reasons Mencarini has been so successful.
As suggested by special teams coordinator T.J. Changuris, Quince Orchard renamed its special teams “Special Forces” this season. Mencarini said it's their way of exciting the players about special teams.
Tilton has certainly bought in, and he proved it with his block.
“That just goes to show it's the little details,” Mencarini said. “It's the finer things that you can't neglect in practice, so I'm proud that we paid attention to that.”
As a reward, Tilton will get a shirt that says “Special Forces Unit” on the front and “Band of Brothers” on the back, given to the top special teams player each week.
Tilton also fortified a defense that held Damascus to 116 yards, including just 73 yards before Damascus' final drive.
“Our coach is amazing,” Tilton said. “He teaches us how to do everything right. It's a team, and if we all do our job, we get the plays done and stop them.”
Led by Stephon Jacob and Da'Quan Grimes, Damascus got plenty of stops, too, setting up a suspenseful second half.
Damascus coach Eric Wallich, whose team had won 13 straight against Montgomery County competition dating back to 2011, came away not only impressed with Quince Orchard but proud of his own team.
“We probably won't see a better [team] than that this whole year,” Wallich said. “If we go toe-to-toe with them, we can go toe-to-toe with anybody.”
No. 2 Quince Orchard 7, No. 4 Damascus 6
Quince Orchard (3-0) 7 0 0 0 — 7
Damascus (2-1) 6 0 0 0 — 6
D — Chase Williams 1 run (kick failed)
QO —Kevin Joppy 7 run (Troy Porter kick)
Quince Orchard — Kevin Joppy 23-101, Shawn Barlow 6-10, Mike Murtaugh 7-(-17).
Damascus — Jake Funk 9-32, Jalen Christian 8-15, Ari Cacopardo 5-22, Chase Williams 6-7, Kevin Proctor 1-0, Tait Buttrey 5-(-2).
Quince Orchard — Mike Murtaugh 9-17-85-1.
Damascus — Chase Williams 6-16-42-0
Quince Orchard — Elliott Davis 1-28, Shawn Barlow 2-20, Kevin Joppy 2-13, Malcolm Brown 2-9, Preston Bampoe-Addo 1-9, Kyle Manion 1-6.
Damascus — Stephon Jacob 3-36, Tyee Buttrey 2-5, Lakye Alston 1-1.