No Vault, no win. That was the prevailing wisdom on social media in the week leading up to Saturday’s high school football matchup between Northwest and Gaithersburg, according to Trojans coach Kreg Kephart.
“I put that out as a challenge to them, and a direct slap in their face,” Kephart said. “It means they think the other forty-seven guys aren’t worth a darn without Solomon Vault, and they were disrespecting the other guys that were there.”
Vault, who has committed to Northwestern University, watched from the sidelines with his right calf wrapped up as Nick DeCarlo stepped onto the field and proved just how wrong that thinking was. The senior quarterback threw for 222 yards and three passing touchdowns, and also added a rushing score to lead Gaithersburg to a 26-6 victory against the Jaguars at Richard Montgomery High School.
DeCarlo completed 14-of-19 attempts, and connected on scoring strikes of 38, 16 and 8 yards for the Trojans. Two of his touchdown passes came on third-and-long situations, including a 38-yard dart to Ariel Martinez and a perfectly-placed toss to Isaiah Rainey’s back shoulder for a 16-yard score.
“Nick is probably one of the best-kept secrets in Montgomery County,” Kephart said. “He didn’t play as a sophomore because he was injured, he played for us last year but got hurt and missed four games and that was his first year as varsity quarterback. He is still in the learning process, but he keeps getting better and better every week.”
The Trojans (4-0) continued their defensive dominance by stifling a Jaguars offensive unit that was averaging 38.3 points per game entering the contest. The unit forced a pair of interceptions and allowed just 129 yards of total offense by Northwest.
“I think we stepped up because we knew that we might not get the offensive support that we wanted,” defensive end Kamonte Carter said. “We understood coming into this game how important the defensive play was.”
The Jaguars drop to 3-1, and will look to bounce back against James H. Blake on Friday (6:30 p.m.). E.J. Lee paced the offense with 100 yards on 12 carries, while Mark Pierce connected with Trint Coulter for the Jaguars’ only score.
“They were very aggressive, and they brought a lot of pressure,” Northwest coach Mike Neubeiser said. “They are big and fast and they are a good football team. We are just a young team and there are a lot of little mistakes that we made that all added up.”
Gaithersburg plays host to Thomas S. Wootton (3-1) at Richard Montgomery at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. The Patriots are undefeated on the field, but had to forfeit the opener against Walter Johnson because of an ineligible player. Carter and the rest of his defensive linemates know that the most effective way to keep sophomore receiver Trevon Diggs from making big plays is to get pressure on quarterback Sam Ellis.
“The quarterback needs time to get the ball to Diggs, so I think that my defensive line can step up to the challenge,” he said. “Our defensive line against their offensive line, I’m taking my defensive line every time. I think it will be a sack-fest.”
Gaithersburg 26, Northwest 6
Northwest (3-1) 0 0 6 0 -- 6
Gaithersburg (4-0) 7 12 0 7 -- 26
G -- Vicco Bedell 8 pass from Nick DeCarlo (Luis Vigil kick)
G -- Isaiah Rainey 16 pass from Nick DeCarlo (kick blocked)
G -- Nick DeCarlo 1 run (2-point pass failed)
N -- Trint Coulter 10 pass from Mark Pierce (2-point pass failed)
G -- Ariel Martinez 38 pass from Nick DeCarlo (Luis Vigil kick)
Gaithersburg -- Xaviyer Mosley 19-34; Nick DeCarlo 13-34; Zavae Johnson 2-10; Max Anderson 2-(-2);
Northwest -- E.J. Lee 12-100; Rasheed Gills 6-20; Jamar Wilson 1-11; Mark Pierce 3-2; Trint Coulter 1-(-14); Joshua Gills 11-(-24).
Gaithersburg -- Nick DeCarlo 14-19-222-1.
Northwest -- Mark Pierce 4-13-22-2; Joshua Gills 1-2-12-0.
Gaithersburg -- Isaiah Rainey 5-92; William Tearney 3-62; Ariel Martinez 3-48; Vicco Bedell 2-22; Xaviyer Mosley 1-(-2).
Northwest -- Trint Coulter 3-25; Joshua Gills 2-(-6).