GERMANTOWN – Quince Orchard and Northwest faced off Friday night in another round of one of the most historic high school football rivalries in Montgomery County.
Traveling to Germantown, the Cougars had a lot on the line facing off against Northwest, including its long winning streak. However, Quince Orchard finished just enough plays down the stretch to beat the Jaguars 34-21 to improve to 8-0 on the season and win the Montgomery County 4A West Division regular-season title.
“Offensively, we played pretty good tonight,” said Quince Orchard head coach John Kelley. “Defense played ok. We killed ourselves a lot on penalties. That’s going to hurt us in the long run.”
This win extends the consecutive winning streak to 38, with the last loss coming against Northwest in the 2019 playoffs. Yet, past results are the furthest thought in Kelley’s mind.
“I don’t even think about it, to be honest,” said Kelley. “I get to 38, that’s good, but I don’t even talk about it.”
Happy Friday Night Lights! It’s the game of the year in MoCo as 7-0 @QO_FOOTBALL takes on rival 6-1 @NWHSfootball in Germantown. Been looking forward to this one all season. @the_sportspulse pic.twitter.com/tCJEpsnwsP— Harry Lichtman (@hslichtman) October 20, 2023
Nino Marzullo threw three touchdown passes, with his first going to Tick Groves early in the game.
“We came out with the win,” said Marzullo. “But [in the] second half, we were sloppy, shooting ourselves in the foot doing dumb stuff. We’ve got to clean that up this week and get ready for playoffs.”
Iverson Howard also contributed with a 17-yard touchdown run to put the Cougars up by two touchdowns early in the second quarter.
The Jaguars finally got on the board when Tony Berry scored his first of three rushing touchdowns, cutting the deficit to 14-7 at the end of the first half. He added two more two receiving touchdowns in the losing effort.
“He is special,” said Northwest head coach Bucky Clipper. “He can do a lot of different things [in] a lot of different ways. He’s a talented kid.”
Marzullo once again connected with Groves for a 36-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7 in the third quarter.
“O-line was doing a phenomenal job blocking, giving me enough time to get the ball out to my playmakers,” said Marzullo. “It was a group effort. Everybody did their job.”
The Jaguars managed to keep themselves alive thanks to two touchdown passes involving Berry and quarterback Jayden Nelson, as well as penalties against the Cougars defense.
“I’ve played against [QO] for several years,” said Clipper. “It’s always a great effort. Great atmosphere. Great game. Our kids fought really hard.”
However, the Cougars proved too much for the home team, thanks to a 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Marzullo to Isaiah Blackman-Boyd and Howard’s second score of the night from 40 yards out.
Momentum for the program slowly grew earlier in the week as Quince Orchard senior defensive lineman/linebacker Jaylen Harvey announced his commitment to play college football at Penn State University.
“It feels good,” said Harvey. “I’m ready to win a ‘ship.”
“I’m excited for him,” said Kelley. “I think it’s a great fit for him. Excited for him to get that chance.”