The annual Battle for the Kings’ Trophy rivalry game between the Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles and Northwest Jaguars has historically been the biggest football event in Germantown since Northwest’s first season in 1998.
Last night’s edition saw Northwest retake the trophy for the second consecutive year with a comprehensive 35-0 victory over Seneca Valley.
Seneca Valley was the designated home team, but the game was played at Northwest to keep such a big game in Germantown on a Friday night rather than at Gaithersburg the following morning.
“There’s a lot of pride in winning that, there’s a lot of tradition, [and] it goes back all the way to when we opened in ,” Northwest Head Coach Mike Neubeiser said. “I think it means a lot to the kids, and bragging rights for the year is a big deal.”
Less than two minutes into the first quarter, the Jags scored their first touchdown before their offense stepped foot on the field as senior A.J. Woods blocked the Screaming Eagles’ first punt and returned it to the end zone.
“He blocked the punt with the man that was blocking him, then picked it up and scored a touchdown all in one play,” Neubeiser said. “When you get your best athletes to buy in on special teams, it makes a big difference.”
Seneca Valley’s offense was spinning its wheels in the muddy grass all evening long, as several big runs by senior running back Prince Rush and sophomore running back Alex Holmes routinely fell short of the goal line. The offense was never able to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities, while Northwest’s defense held tough until the final whistle.
“Everyone carried out their assignments, and they were in the right place where they needed to be,” Neubeiser said. “We’re starting to gel a little bit and understand the team concept a little better defensively.”
The Jags struck again before the end of the first quarter, as senior quarterback Jack Anders found tight end DeAndre Jules for a seven-yard touchdown pass.
After another Seneca Valley three-and-out to start the second quarter, Anders threw for a second touchdown as junior wide receiver Marcus Berry beat his defender for a 75-yard score.
Despite a huge kickoff return by junior Elijah Redman-Jesse to the Jags’ 17-yard line, the Screaming Eagles eventually couldn’t convert a fourth-and-goal with just over seven minutes left in the half.
A couple of drives later, Anders threw his third touchdown pass of the half as junior running back Ajahni Terry turned a short screen into a 15-yard score. Despite a botched snap on the extra point attempt, Northwest turned it into a successful two-point conversion and went up 29-0 at halftime.
The Jags picked up right where they left off once the third quarter began, taking advantage of a short Screaming Eagles punt that landed a yard behind the line of scrimmage at the Seneca Valley 15-yard line.
Senior Andrew Howard ran for the Jags’ fifth touchdown on the drive’s first play to put them up 35-0 with six and a half minutes left in the quarter. A running clock was put into effect due to the 35-point lead.
A 40-yard run by Holmes to the Northwest 20-yard line put Seneca Valley in scoring position once again, but the offense’s second turnover on downs ended up closing out the third quarter.
The Jags almost scored a sixth touchdown to start the fourth quarter, but several penalties led to a 74-yard pass to junior wide receiver Isiah Williams being called back.
Later in the drive, on a fourth-and-six at the Northwest six-yard line, Anders was intercepted by senior linebacker Thomas Jennings with just over four minutes remaining.
The Screaming Eagles’ offense couldn’t capitalize on the great field position and sophomore quarterback Don Coleman was sacked as time expired to give the Jags their first shutout of the year.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Neubeiser said. “We have a long way to go, but we’re getting there.”
Next week, Northwest looks to improve to 4-0 as it hosts Gaithersburg while Seneca Valley is now 1-2 and will hope to rebound on the road at Watkins Mill. Gaithersburg is 1-2 and coming off a 49-27 loss to Churchill, while Watkins Mill is 2-1 after a 39-0 shutout of Bethesda Chevy-Chase on Friday night. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 7:00 pm on Friday.
Top: The 2018 Northwest Jags celebrate their victory and retain the Kings’ Trophy for another year.
Next: Northwest quarterback Jack Anders threw three touchdown passes in the first half the help the Jags retain the Kings’ Trophy.
Next: The Jags’ senior defensive end DeAndre Jules (6) tackles Seneca Valley’s Don Coleman (11) during Friday’s Battle of Germantown.
Next: Friday’s Battle for the Kings’ Trophy was the 20th straight meeting of the two Germantown teams since Northwest opened in 1998.
Next: The Jags celebrate the victory at Northwest.
Photos by Billy Owens for Germantown Pulse