After the Battle of Germantown game last week both Seneca Valley and Northwest need to be able to get their heads right to continue to play the rest of the season.
Seneca Valley is riding a high after reclaiming the King’s Trophy from Northwest for the first time in two years, but the Eagles will have to be ready for a Churchill team coming into the Nest with some serious knowledge of the inner workings of the program.
Churchill’s new Head Coach Albert Song is formerly Seneca Valley’s long-time offensive coordinator, which might pose a special challenge to the Eagles. “The kids will be up to play our former OC and coach,” said Seneca’s Head Coach Fred Kim. “They know that he knows us well. They will not take this game lightly.”
Last week right after the Eagles victory over Northwest, Coach Kim called this week’s game against Churchill a trap game. “They are a new program and that coach is trying to turn things around and get those guys going. That is what is dangerous. That is what you call a trap game, and we have to worry about that. Coach Song is a Hell of a football coach and I hate to play him after a win like this,” said Kim.
Trap game or not, last week’s victory sends the Screaming Eagles into this week a full head of steam. “It was a huge confidence booster for us. We have not beaten an elite team in two years,” said Kim. “We needed this to validate and prove to ourselves that what we are doing in terms of total commitment and surrendering to the program will bring the results that we have been seeking.”
After last week’s win, Seneca is back, and Kim is not going let them forget that the ultimate goal was not a victory over cross-town rivals but a victory in Baltimore. “We know that the game is another roadblock to our ultimate goal of winning a state championship. We cannot afford to have a letdown against them. We need to improve and we know that.”
While Coach Kim said the team won’t do anything differently as they face their former offensive coordinator, but they might have few new wrinkles. “We do what we do,” said Kim. “We want our kids to play fast and downhill. They need to continue to execute with precision. If they can do that, there is no need to try and out-scheme teams. Of course, we will have some nuances of our game plan to exploit any weaknesses and magnify strengths.”
Seneca Valley is 7-2 over Churchill since 2004 and is on a three-game win streak. The last time the two teams met in 2012, Seneca Valley won 28-22. The game is at 6:30 pm at Seneca Valley; the gates will open at 5:30 pm and it is Military Appreciation Night.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Northwest has been preparing for an opponent they met in the playoffs last year. Northwest defeated Blair 38-3 on route to the State championship, but the Jags don't have a lot of history with the Blazers, the two schools have not met in the regulars season in over a decade.
The Blair Blazers are coming off a 9-3 season last year and have averaged over 50 points per game this young season hanging 48 on Northwood in week one and blasting Bethesda-Chevy Chase for 57 points last week. The Jags will have to stop the potent Blair quarterback Desmond Colby, who has been averaging almost 300 passing yards per game.
“Blair is playing very well on both sides of the ball,” said Northwest Head Coach Mike Neubeiser. “We need to play smart, disciplined football in order to have a chance to win. We cannot commit 15 penalties and have three turnovers and win the game. We must control the ball and eliminate penalties.”
Neubeiser said he was surprised at a number of mistakes his team continues to make. “We were successful the last two years because we did not turn the ball over, and we committed very few penalties. Our team hasn’t learned to take care of the details yet. We have been consumed by the big picture. Hopefully through hard work we can get back to playing smart mistake free football,” said Neubeiser.
Of course, the Jags are the two-time defending state champs and are coming off a stinging home lose to their cross-town rivals last week. The Jags will want some payback. “I think the loss actually motivates our guys to improve,” said Neubeiser. “If we had somehow won that game, there wouldn’t be the same sense of urgency that we have had this week in practice. Our kids know that we must improve and stop making so many mistakes.”
CORRCTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Northwest and Blair had not played each other in over a decade. Northwest and Blair have not met in the regular season in over a decade. Geramantown Pulse apologizes for this mistake.
Top: Seneca Valley prepares to take the field at last week's Northwest game.
Next: Senca Valley's senior quarterback Clarence Gaskins (11).
Next: The Jags storm the field.
Next: Northwest's senior quarterback Mark Pierce (11).
Photos by Germantown Pulse