By Kevin O’Rourke
This week, the two Germantown high school football teams are dealing with vastly different mindsets. One may be tempering in being named the top team in the state, and the other is trying to figure out how come out swining.
Earlier this week, Northwest was earned the top ranking in the Maryland Media Top 25, as the best high school football team in the state.
Last week the Seneca Valley got back on track thanks to a blistering third quarter scoring blitz which saw Screaming Eagles score three touchdowns in less than 2 minutes.
However, Coach Fred Kim knows that those sort of scoring bonanzas are anomalies and can’t be counted on to happen every week. Coach Kim knows also knows that his team has been struggling to start games in the proper gear, and last week was no different.
The Seneca Valley offense came out bland and the defense was caught sleeping as it gave up an 80 yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Eventually, the Screaming Eagles were eventually able to warm to the task and put points on the board beating Bethesda Chevy-Chase Barons 42-6.
“I am not sure what our deal is,” said Coach Kim on his teams’ slow starts. “We are working to improve. It killed us against Northwest.” Another thing that Coach Kim knows is that a slow start will be big trouble when the face the high powered offense that Sherwood will throw at Seneca Valley tomorrow night.
“We cannot do that again against Sherwood. We will not be able to recover against them,” said Kim. ‘Fortunately we were able to against B-CC. We cannot keep doing that. It will cost us again. Offensively, we cannot get going in the first half. That has been our biggest issue.”
A small part of the problem could be that they have been without one of their biggest weapons early on in games, as standout running sophomore running back Adrian Feliz-Platt was not been available to play early on due to violations of team rules. “Every player is held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are,” said Kim when asked why Feliz-Platt did not play early in the team’s last two outings.
Unbeaten Sherwood comes into Thursday night’s game at Seneca Valley with a potent passing attack, boasting the talented quarterback and receiver combination. “They have one of the best duos in the county. They will be a huge challenge to stop,” said Kim.
“They are an excellent team this year,” said Kim. “They are very balanced in all facets of the game, especially on offense. They can run the ball, with the quarterback and running back, which makes it harder to defend and they can throw the ball. They have a triple threat.”
Kim is concerned about a slow start from his team this week. “If we start out slow again, we will have major problems as we did against Northwest. They are too good on offense to fall behind early. We must weather the storm early and still be in the game and not play catch up. If we can do that, then we will be able to compete and have a chance to win.”
While Sherwood has beaten teams, they are not untouchable. While both Blair and Gaithersburg were only able to score one touchdown each, Richard Montgomery was able to post 27 points in their game against Sherwood. While they have a 56-6 win over Springbrook which has an asterisk next to it because many of Springbrook’s starters were unable to play.
Of course, the short week with teams playing on Thursday instead of Friday due to the Jewish holiday. “We never enjoy the short week,” said Kim, “especially, when we have a game of this magnitude. We need every opportunity to improve.”
While having to play and prepare for a football game on a short week is difficult, Kim said the hardest part for the student athletes is to come to school the next morning after a tough game which ends late. “It definitely has an impact on them academically, at least for the day. However, we have been doing this for years, so we are used to it,” he said.
Meanwhile, just a few miles down Great Seneca Highway, the top ranked team in the Maryland is preparing to take their 14-game unbeaten streak to Blake High School on Thursday night. Blake is 1-3 and is coming off a 44-0 mauling by Clarksburg last Friday night.
The Jags, on the other hand, are riding high after the 49-0 drubbing of the Gaithersburg Trojans last week, with junior quarterback Mark Pierce hooking up with wide receiver Jamar Wilson four times for 28 points, and E.J. Lee scoring two more touchdowns on the ground. The final touchdown came off a Troy Lefeged interception return for touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Jags 4-0 start and the ease with which they are vanquishing opponents has earned them the number 1 spot in the Maryland Media Top 25.
If the Jags can get past Blake this week, it sets up a possible meeting of 5-0 teams next week as Paint Branch will visit The Black Hole. Paint Branch, 4-0, plays 0-4 Einstein High School this week.