Quince Orchard High School football coach Dave Mencarini, after his team beat Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, talked to his players about how challenging the rest of the season will be.
Their final four opponents are No. 7 Sherwood, No. 4 Gaithersburg, No. 6 Northwest and formerly ranked Thomas S. Wootton. Yet, Mencarini spoke about the next eight, not four, weeks.
Eight weeks would take Quince Orchard through the regular season and playoffs and through its third straight state championship game.
“We like to be positive,” defensive lineman Adam McLean said. “We work too hard to accept anything but the best, and that’s what we want, and that’s what we’re going to get. So, we’ve got eight weeks left of the season. And then state championship, that’s what it is.”
Closing the regular season with four quality opponents pleases Mencarini.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Mencarini said. “To be the best team in Montgomery County, you’ve got to beat all the great teams, and there are great teams left on our schedule. I love the big games. I look forward to that. It’s a chance for our team to show, hopefully, we’re as good as we think we are.”
Sherwood coach Chris Grier and his staff should have a good idea how good Quince Orchard is, because they watched its 49-0 win over Bethesda-Chevy on Saturday in person after beating Magruder 62-0 the night before.
“Hopefully, they saw what they needed to see, and we’re looking forward to a great game next week,” Mencarini said.
Said McLean: “The season begins now.”
Receiver Steven Kelly doesn’t get many opportunities in Bethesda-Chevy Chase’s triple-option offense, but he makes the most of them.
Kelly had five catches for 99 yards against Quince Orchard on Saturday, setting seasons highs in a breakout senior year.
“We always knew he had the potential,” Bethesda-Chevy Chase coach Josh Singer said. “I think, this year, he’s really starting to believe in his ability.”
The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder had a pass bounce off his hands Saturday, but he caught it as he fell to the turf. Singer said that was one of several excellent catches by Kelly this season, including one against Montgomery Blair High School in double coverage that was “absolutely amazing.”
“I’m not surprised when he does things like that,” Singer said. “He’s proven that he’s a great athlete when the ball is in the air and he’s going to make a play to secure it.”
Wootton at Northwest, 6:30 p.m. Friday
Right now, Northwest is inside the playoff picture looking out, and Wootton is outside looking in. Wootton beating Northwest alone won’t flip their situations, but Northwest beating Wootton would go a long way toward solidifying them. Wootton’s high-powered offense looks to get back on track after scoring just three points in a loss to Clarksburg last week, though Northwest gained confidence while slowing Paint Branch’s passing attack Friday.