In its history Northwest High School’s football team has been able to achieve great things. Back-to-back Maryland State Championships, being tops among them. There is, however, one thing that has eluded the Jags – a win over the Sherwood Warriors.
Coach Michael Neubeiser and the Jaguars were hoping that this season would be the year they’d hand Sherwood a defeat. The Jags must have thought that the announcement of the game being moved from Friday night at Sherwood to Saturday night in Gaithersburg was a good sign. That decision moved the game closer, Northwest had good memories of season opening win over Gaithersburg, and the move to a neutral site took away any home-field advantage for the unbeaten Warriors. Alas, the Warriors would remain after defeating Northwest 16-13 on Saturday night.
The game at John Harvill Stadium was sloppy in terms of weather and play, both teams struggled offensively, as turnovers and penalties were plentiful.
Sherwood would strike first. Four and a half minutes into the first quarter the Warriors scored on their opening drive as Josh Sweeney would run 29 yards for touchdown. Both teams would trade punts and the first quarter ended with the Jags trailing the Warriors 7-0.
The Jags would drive down to the Sherwood 30 yard line, but a turnover would give the Warriors possession back. The Warriors would drive down the Northwest 35 before a Sherwood pass would be broken up by senior db Divino Fraiser. The Warriors decided to pin the Jags deep with a punt rather than go for it on fourth-and-seven. The punt gave the Jags the ball on their own five-yard line.
A Mark Pierce run and a pass to Khalil Owens would get the Jags some breathing room, but the drive would stall and Jags punted giving Sherwood the ball on the own 18. The Northwest defense led by Devino Frazier and Latif Mahamafdou, who knocked down a pass and had a tackle in the backfield to force a punt.
The Jags would take over at their own 25. Northwest would move the ball, and a few plays later Pierce would drop back to throw, only to have a Sherwood defender Marcus Sims would snatch a tipped ball out of the air and return it to the Northwest 10-yard line.
Again the Northwest defense stepped up and made stops, which combined with a Sherwood penalty forced a fourth-and-22. Sherwood’s kicker Jeremy Harrison would boot a 39 yard field goal to extend the Warrior lead to 10-0 with less than a minute left in the half.
The game looked set to halftime with the Warrior’s 10-0, but the Jags Martin Foray was not going to allow that to happen. With two seconds left in the half, Foray caught the kick-off and ran it 82 yards for a touchdown. He broke numerous tackles as he darted for the Northwest sideline allowing his team mates to help him get through the Sherwood kicking team. Unfortunately the extra point was short, due to a Northwest penalty, it was 10-6 at halftime.
The Northwest Defense however had many extraordinary players on the field Saturday night. Cameron Brown, Andrew Irvin, and Khalil Owens were among them. Owens, was also a standout offensively as well, making several key high yardage plays throughout the contest.
The Jags would take the second half kickoff and march down the field. Pierce and company would put together a drive using Owens slashing running style to move the ball down to the Sherwood nine-yard line. Pierce would hit Juwon Farri for a touchdown to take the 13-10 in the third quarter.
The Warriors were unable to get much going on the next series and were forced to punt the ball away. The Jags would drive down to the Sherwood 33-yard line, but sack and failed fake punt would end the drive, giving the Warriors the ball back on their own 40-yard line. The Warriors took the lead back after a drive which ended with junior running back Travis Levy scoring from three-yards out. The extra point was blocked by the Jaguars Davino Frasier. Sherwood was up 16-13 with 7:47 left in the game.
The Jags would have another shot to score and take the lead. Starting from their own 33. Pierce, Owens, and company would again drive down the field into Warrior territory. But again Marcus Sims, would intercept a Pierce pass at the 14 yard line, which sealed the win for the Warriors.
Sherwood remains unbeaten this season, and undefeated against the Jags. Northwest falls to 3-2 this season and 0-7 against the Warriors of Sherwood. Next week, the Jags will take on another unbeaten team as the 5-0 Richard Montgomery Rockets will travel to the Black Hole at Northwest on Friday night. The Rockets are coming off a 43-6 victory over Walter Johnson.
Top: Northwest’s junior running back Khalil Owens (4) hurdles a Sherwood player during the Jags 16-13 loss to the Warriors.
Next: Mark Pierce (11) runs out of bounds after picking up a first down.
Next: The Jags defense played well most of the game. Junior linebacker Sam Pagella (52), freshman Alphonso Foray (9) and senior Martin Foray combine to stop Sherwood’s senior receiver Christian Willis (7).
Next: Khalil Owens (4) finds a hole and breaks off a big gainer.
Photos by Mark Poetker for the Germantown Pulse.