For the fourth time in five years the Jags and Cougars met in Darnestown to decide who would go to the Maryland 4A Football Final Four, as Northwest and Quince Orchard clashed in the 4A West Regional Final game.
In front of a packed crowd at the Cougar Dome, Quince Orchard came back from an early 13 point deficit to beat Northwest 31-20 to win the 4A West title and advance to the Maryland 4A State Semi-Finals. The Cougars will travel Waldorf to face the 10-0 North Point Eagles on Friday, Nov. 24 at 7:00 pm.
For a while it seemed that the Jags would pull out a win for the fourth time as they had done in the three previous 4A West finals in the Cougar Dome in 2015, 2014, 2013, but it wasn’t in the cards for the 2017 Northwest team. The Jags lost starting quarterback, senior Chris Craddock to what appeared to be a knee injury at the end of the first half.
After throwing two touchdowns to stake the Jags to a 13 point lead in the first half, Craddock would miss the rest of the game. After each team was forced to punt on their first possession, it felt like the heavyweights of the 4A West were feeling each other out like boxers in the first round.
Craddock got the scoring started with a TD pass to senior running back Rob McNamee to give the Jags a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The touchdown pass was set up by a long pass and run from Craddock to junior wide out A.J. Woods.
In the second quarter Craddock would connect with senior receiver Alphonso Foray on 50 yard throw and catch. Foray would catch the ball at over the middle at the 20-yard line and scamper the rest of the way in to the endzone. The kick would fail but the play gave the Jags a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.
On the next series, Northwest would force Bonner and the Cougars to punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty, would give QO a first down and extend the drive. Two plays later, QO would get on the board with a 50 yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Kendall “Doc” Bonner. Bonner would spot a whole in the Northwest defense and run right up the middle to get the Cougars in the endzone to cut the Jags lead to 13-7.
On the next series, Northwest’s Craddock would attempt a sweep right and get tackled and go down awkwardly. He would have to be helped off the field. His replacement junior Jack Anders would throw a pass which was intercepted by junior Aaron Green two plays later giving the Cougars the ball back with under two minutes remaining in the half.
Bonner and QO would not waste the opportunity. Bonner would drive the Cougars down to the Northwest 10-yard line. The Cougars would score on a pass from Bonner to sophomore running back Marquez Cooper, and a kick by senior Evan Judge would give QO the lead 14-13 at halftime.
In the third quarter, a long pass from Bonner to senior Tyler Terry which got the ball down to the Northwest 20-yard line, would set up a 32-yard field goal from Judge to make it 17-13.
Northwest would regain the lead on their next possession. A long pass by Anders to Foray. Foray would scamper down the middle of the field, evading tacklers and cutting all the way down to the QO 10-yard line. Two plays later, senior running back Juwon Farri would power into the endzone for to make it 20-17 Northwest with 1:26 left in the third quarter.
In the final stanza, the Cougars would score twice to cement the victory. Bonner would score his second running touchdown, on another run up the middle to make it 24-20 Cougars with 8:14 left in the game. And after an unsuccessful Northwest possession, Cooper would get his second touchdown, this one a 20-yard rushing touchdown to make the final score 31-20 with 3:36 remaining. Northwest would threaten on their final possession but the threat would be squashed as Anders threw an interception at the QO five-yard line.
The Jags end their season, 9-3, with a loss to Our Lady of Good Counsel and two defeats at the hands of the rival QO Cougars.
Quince Orchard, now 9-1, will travel to play undefeated North Point, who defeated Broadneck, the top seeded team in the 4A East division, 38-22 last Friday. This is the second year in a row that the Cougars have made the 4A State Semifinal. Last year, the Cougars defeated Annapolis 42-14 and went on the lose to Wise in the 4A State Championship.
Top: Quince Orchard sophomore running back Marquez Cooper (15) runs for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 4A West Final.
Next: Northwest’s AJ green (9) breaks a tackle after making a catch in the first quarter of Friday’s playoff game.
Video: Highlights of the game.
Next: Senior tackle Mike Fierstein (52) picks up quarterback Doc Bonner (8) in celebration after Bonner ran 50 yards for a touchdown to get the Cougars on the boad.
Next: Northwest’s Juwon Farri (1) runs into the endzone to give the Jags a lead in the third quarter.
Photos and video by Germantown Pulse.