The Northwest Jaguars sent a message to the other teams in the 4A West playoffs from the very first play from scrimmage in Friday’s opening round game of the playoffs at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. The message was, “We are still the two-time defending State Champs.”
The message as sent via a 74-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Mark Pierce to junior receiver Reggie Anderson in one snap of the ball. The Jags took control and never looked back, up 7-0.
The game marked Richard Montgomery’s first appearance in the post-season in 10 years. The Rockets posted a 9-1 record this year, with their only loss coming at the hands of Northwest 29-12 on Oct. 9. Northwest improved to 8-3 with Friday’s 33-21 victory over the Rockets and set up a rematch with Quince Orchard, who blew-out Blair 48-17 on Friday.
The Jags will travel to QO next Friday, the site of the Jags most recent defeat, a 28-7 loss to Quince Orchard on Oct. 16. The QO Cougars are now 10-1 with a 39-17 season-opening loss to Damascus as the only back mark on an otherwise perfect season.
However, last Friday the Jags weren’t thinking about Quince Orchard they were focused on getting past Richard Montgomery. And few were as focused as Mark Pierce, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third before the first quarter was over. Pierce hit Anderson on the first play of the game and later would throw a touchdown strike to senior tight end Zeke Gandy to extend the lead to 13-0. The PAT would fail.
An interception by sophomore defensive back Tyrese Johnson would set up Pierce’s third TD of the quarter. He would scamper to the end zone from the five-yard line between the blocks from offensive linemen senior Tariq Manna and junior Alex Thomas to give the Jags a 20-0 lead with 3:08 remaining in the opening quarter.
The 20-0 score would stand until Richard Montgomery was able to get on the board with a 65-yard Tylen Hebron run to cut the Jags lead to 20-7 with 8:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Pierce would answer the RM touchdown with one of his own; another touchdown run from the five to extend the lead to 26-7. Pierce would get the Rockets defenders to bite on a fake inside handoff to senior Terrell Campbell and take the ball around the outside to score. The kick would fail.
Northwest would get in the end zone again on a fourth-down 25-yard touchdown run from freshman Juwon Farri, who took a handoff around the end and scored to extend the lead to 33-7 in the third quarter and end the Northwest scoring.
The Rockets, however, would continue to threaten in the fourth-quarter with a deep touchdown pass from senior quarterback Michael Silver to senior receiver Daniel Alexander to cut the lead to 33-14. The Rockets would pounce on an on-side kick and get another shot at the end zone. Silver would find junior receiver Greg Heredia for a touchdown to cut the lead to 33-21 with 3:25 left in the game, but it would be too little too late for the Rockets who would see their season at the hands of the Jags.
Top: Northwest’s Mark Pierce (11) scampers into the end zone for a first-quarter touchdown.
Next: Freshman Juwon Farri (8) runs down the sideline during Friday night’s playoff game.
Next: Jags junior receiver Reggie Anderson (1) sprints down the field after a catch.
Next: Northwest senior Ibrahim Konate (5) looks for running room during Friday’s game.
Next: Junior defensive lineman Cole Cheripko (54) tackles Richard Montgomery’s senior quarterback Michael Silver (12).
Photos by Mark Poetker for Germantown Pulse.