The first thing that Seneca Valley Coach Fred Kim said to his team after they had taken possession of The King’s Trophy, as the winners of the Battle of Germantown was, “The Valley is Back, Baby!”
The Valley avenged last year’s 46-6 shellacking by showing up the two-time defending state champion Northwest Jaguars at home by a score of 14-7 on Friday night.
“It is a great feeling,” said Coach Kim as his players huddled around the King’s Trophy, “especially since they beat us the last two years and embarrassed us on our own home field. We were hungry. The roles have reversed. We’ve always been the hunted, but now we became the hunter. That is what we emphasized with these guys that we had to be hungry to get them back.”
Seneca got the scoring going by making the big play Junior linebacker Dione Jordan scooped up a fumble by Northwest’s freshman running back Juwon Farri and ran it 65 yards to put the Screaming Eagles up 7-0 late in the first quarter.
“The biggest thing was we had the big play,” said Kim. “Those plays are just daggers; they’re killers. When that happens, it takes the momentum of the game away from them. It really got us going.”
In a game that served to put Montgomery County on notice that Seneca Valley is once again a quality team, and as a coming out part for Seneca Valley junior Darius Golston. Golston would take a Clarence Gaskins pass 33-yards for Seneca’s second touchdown and allowed the Screaming Eagles to control the clock late in the game.
“After this game, Golston will be on the radar of everybody in the county,” said Seneca Valley Athletic Director Jesse Irvin. “He is having the game of his life. He’s destroying the Northwest defense.”
Some might say that Golston has been running in the shadow of Seneca’s marquee back, fellow junior Adrian Feliz-Platt. However, Golston was an integral part of Seneca’s offense last season too. The 215-pound runner is the change of pace back – the thunder to Feliz-Platt’s lightning.
On Friday night in the Black Hole the thunder roared. Golston bounced off some Northwest tacklers and rumbled past others. He pounded the ball into the teeth of the Jag’s defense and came stumbling out the other side for a first down. “I knew I had to step up,” said Golston. “I knew we were going to run the ball. I knew I had to step up and fill the role and get this one for my team.”
“Darius was the unsung hero,” said Coach Kim. “While Adrian has had the bigger career this far in terms of making a name for himself, but Darius is just as dangerous especially in situation like that where you have a 215 pound running back that is pounding guys. And that is exactly what we needed tonight.”
Golston’s running roared, and the Seneca Valley defense rattled the potent Northwest offense. In the first quarter, senior cornerback Zae Wright intercepted a Mark Pierce pass to stop promising Northwest drive.
Northwest and quarterback Mark Pierce would move the ball at times, but could not connect on the big play to break the game open. Junior running back Khalil Owens had a productive game on the ground, but the Screaming Eagle defense would stiffen as the Jags began to get close to the end zone stopping the Northwest near the goal line once in the second quarter and again late the third quarter.
“Mark Pierce is one of the best players in the state,” said Coach Kim. “We knew that we had to shut him down. Our big thing was, don’t give up the big play down field and give them a big play.”
The Seneca Valley defenders would harass Pierce most of the game sacking him four or five times. Pierce ran the ball for first downs to keep a Northwest drive alive. In the second quarter, he would run the ball down to the Seneca three-yard line, but Khalil Owens would be stuffed going up the middle on the next play and then stopped for a loss on a sweep by Seneca Valley’s senior safety James Chase.
That stop would lead to Golston’s game winning touchdown. A Northwest penalty would move Seneca off of their goal line. On the next play, Feliz-Platt would take the ball up the middle and cut back, right before he was taken down by Northwest’s David Frazer and Zeke Gandy at the 34-yard-line. Gaskins would then throw a deep pass to senior receiver Antonio Fox. Then on third down, Gaskins would find Golston on a short dump pass over the middle, but Gaskins would rumble it in for the touchdown to put Seneca Valley up 14-0 with 4:44 remaining in the first half.
The Jags would march the ball down the field on a couple runs by Owens and screen pass to junior Reggie Anderson would put the Jags in scoring position at the Seneca Valley 13-yard-line. On the next play, Pierce would be flushed out of the pocket and scramble for the Jaguars touchdown. Northwest had cut the lead to 14-7 with 2:44 remaining in the half.
The touchdown would pump up the Jags defense and senior Latif Mahamadou, who would sack to Seneca’s senior quarterback Clarence Gaskins twice before being called for a face-masking penalty followed by a pass-interference call. Finally, Northwest’s Ibrahim Konate would step in front of a Gaskins pass with 1:03 in the half. However, the Jags would elect to take a knee and go into halftime trailing by seven.
After Northwest had received the second half kickoff, both teams traded punts, until the Jags got rolling on a sustained drive which eventually set them up with a first-and-10 from the Seneca 11-yard-line. However, penalties and a sack eventually lead to the Jags faced with a fourth-and-11 from the Seneca Valley 13-yard-line.
On fourth-down Pierce would look to throw the ball but Seneca Valley senior Kendall Pinales would get a hand on the pass and knock it away from the intended receiver, ending the Northwest scoring threat.
Northwest would get another opportunity. Seneca Valley would drive the ball all the way down to the Northwest 6-yard-line, but the drive would be stopped after Northwest’s Wesley McCormick recovered and Sal Sirleaf fumble at the 1-yard-line with 8:40 remaining the game.
However, the Jags comeback was not to be. Seneca would force the Jags to punt it away. Seneca and Golston would eat away most of the clock with punishing runs before turning the ball over on downs inside the Northwest 20-yard-line with just:18 remaining in the game.
There would be no Northwest magic on this Friday in the Black Hole. Seneca would take the King’s Trophy. “It was a tough game, and we knew it would be,” and Northwest Head Coach Mike Nuebeiser. “It’s a tough loss. Again, we had way too many mistakes, too many penalties on offense that just killed us. This is a very young team.”
Top: Seneca Valley celebrates their victory over Northwest and take the King’s Trophy as the football kings of Germantown for 2015.
Next: Seneca Valley’s Darius Golston (32) pounds his way for a touchdown after catching a Clarence Gaskins Pass as the Screaming Eagles defeated Northwest to win the King’s Trophy.
Next: Northwest’s Kalil Owens (4) carries the ball for a 20-yard-gain during the first quarter of Friday’s game versus Seneca Valley.
Next: The Valley’s Adrian Feliz-Platt (7) breaks into the Northwest secondary.
Next: Northwest’s Mark Pierce (11) scrambles into the end zone for the Jags only score.
Next: Seneca Valley’s senior quarterback Clarence Gaskins (11) drops back to pass. He would find Darius Golston on this play for a 33-yard touchdown.
Next: Northwest’s Reggie Anderson on the end around.
Next: Darius Golston (32) is tackled by Northwest’s Zeke Gandy (17) in the second quarter of the Battle of Germantown.
Photos by Germantown Pulse