Despite all the lightning in the area the past two weeks, it wasn’t able to strike twice for the Seneca Valley varsity football team (1-1) as they dropped their Week 2 contest 19-14 at Gaithersburg (1-1) Saturday evening.
According to MoCoFootball.com, it is the first time that Gaithersburg has defeated Seneca Valley in since 2002. The two rivals have played 10 times since 2002 and Seneca Valley is 9-1. The Eagles are 26-11 all-time versus the Trojans. Last season, Seneca defeated Gaithersburg 42-2.
The game was originally scheduled for Friday evening, but was delayed and then postponed for the following evening as localized severe thunderstorms intensified all across the region.
Both teams started slowly Saturday evening, although they each had their chances in the first quarter.
The Trojans drove within the Screaming Eagles 10-yard line halfway through the quarter, but couldn’t find the end zone and missed their short field goal attempt.
Seneca Valley marched down the field with several runs of 10 or more yards, but were unable to convert a fourth-and-6 at the Gaithersburg 17-yard line right as the second quarter began.
The Trojans went three-and-out on their next drive and were forced to punt. Senior defensive back/wide receiver Mohammed Jalloh capitalized on the short punt, returning it all the way to the Trojans 10-yard line.
Seneca Valley finally got on the board as senior quarterback Mike Bassi ran it in himself with eight and a half minutes left in the half. The two-point conversion attempt was successful, giving Seneca Valley an 8-0 lead.
The Trojans responded with a big return of their own on the kickoff, giving their offense a first-and-10 deep in Screaming Eagles territory. They finally punched it into the end zone with just under six minutes left in the half, but were unsuccessful on their two-point conversion attempt.
Both teams traded punts, but Seneca Valley had a costly fumble on their return to give Gaithersburg the ball at the Seneca 28-yard line.
Senior wide receiver/defensive back Anthony Frazier caught a short pass in the end zone a few plays later to give Gaithersburg a 12-8 lead with 19 seconds left in the half.
"We were right in there,” head coach Fred Kim said. “We were right in the thick of things.”
The Trojans dominated time of possession in the third quarter. On their second drive of the quarter, they advanced from their own 41-yard line all the way to the end zone, courtesy of another reception by Frazier with 1:33 left in the period.
Seneca Valley drove to put itself in scoring position on the next drive, but penalties pushed the offense further back and forced the team to punt a minute into the fourth quarter.
Another three-and-out by the Trojans gave the Screaming Eagles another chance to close the gap. They eventually did, as quarterback Don Coleman found wide receiver/defensive back Mazae Blake in the end zone to cut the Trojans’ lead to 19-14 with 4:20 remaining.
The Seneca Valley defense held Gaithersburg to a crucial three-and-out on the next drive, giving the offense one last chance to score with 1:05 to play.
On their first play of the drive, Coleman was intercepted by wide receiver/defensive back Joshua Ngoboka to seal the Trojans’ victory.
“We had our opportunities, we just didn’t close the deal,” Kim said. “We’ve got to make plays when we’re supposed to make plays.”
Seneca Valley looks to rebound next week at local rival Northwest in the annual Battle for the King’s Trophy. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 pm at Northwest on Friday. The game is “technically” a Seneca Valley home game but rather than make all of Germantown travel to Gaithersburg, Northwest will host and be visitors on their own field. The Jags are 2-0 and coming off a 34-7 victory over Walter Johnson on Saturday afternoon.
Top: Seneca Valley and Gaithersburg met on Saturday evening after the rain and lightning forced the Friday night game to be rescheduled. The Trojans won 19-14.
Next: Seneca Valley’s Mohamad Jolla (3) returns a punt down to the Gaithersburg 10-yard line.
Next: Seneca Valley senior quarterback Don Coleman (11) tries to turn the corner during Saturday night’s game at Gaithersburg.
Next: Sophomore running back Jordan Beachley (15) sprints through the Gaithersburg line.
Photos by Billy Owens for Germantown Pulse.