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Northwest Dispatches Churchill, Setting up Playoff Rematch with QO

When this year’s Maryland high school football playoff bracket was published last week, one potential matchup stood out from the rest — Northwest versus Quince Orchard for the 4A West regional championship and the right to advance to the state semifinals.

But before that, both teams needed to win in their opening playoff round Friday night to advance to the regional championship.

Northwest did its part, thrashing Winston Churchill 56-20 at Walt Whitman High School’s Jerome M. Marco Stadium in Bethesda Friday night and earning a spot in next week’s 4A West regional title game.

“We had a lot of fortunate bounces that went our way, and Churchill’s a very good team, but our kids came to play, and they were focused,” head coach Mike Neubeiser said. “They had a great week of practice, and it showed today.”

The Bulldogs’ (9-2) only regular-season loss this year was a 40-28 defeat to the Jaguars (9-2) at home on Oct. 5. In that game, the Bulldogs rallied to tie it at 28-28 with six and a half minutes left in regulation until two Jag touchdowns put the game out of reach.

In Friday night’s meeting, Northwest was already leading Churchill by 50 points when there were six and a half minutes left in the game.

“We had guys out of position last time we played, so our kids really focused this week on that, and I think that really helped us defensively,” Neubeiser said. “Offensively, I think we just executed a little better; we were cleaner. We didn’t have as many penalties until late in the second quarter once we’d gotten up a little bit.”