MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) – Coverage of the state quarterfinals of the MPSSAA high school football playoffs in Montgomery County:
No. 5 Paint Branch vs. No. 4 Northwest
In a matchup of two Maryland state powerhouses, Northwest was able to edge out Paint Branch, 33-26.
The Panthers struck first, as star senior quarterback and four-star recruit Octavian Smith Jr., who was featured this week by WDVM, broke out for a 77-yard touchdown scramble.
“The first drive when [Smith] took it to the house, defensively I had to switch some stuff up,” Northwest head coach Travis Hawkins said. “And we fought. And that’s the main thing that I preach here. We might get hit in the mouth but we’re gonna fight and we got hit in our mouth and we fought back and we came out with the victory.”
But after the Smith score, Northwest responded with 17 unanswered points and 33 of the next 39 points in the game.
“I think we’re the underdogs between Wise and Quince Orchard,” Northwest senior wide receiver Peter Kikwata said. “But I really think we want it way more than them. I really think we’re gonna work towards that and work towards our goal as a state championship.”
With the win, Northwest earns a rematch against Quince Orchard next week in the state semifinals. Northwest’s lone loss this season came to Quince Orchard in October, when the Jaguars lost 31-0 at home. The game time has not been announced but it is likely to be Friday night and will be played at QO.
“Don’t count us out. I mean, we can win. Don’t go against us,” Northwest senior offensive lineman Spencer Adams said. “There’s always a chance to get better. And that’s what we’re gonna do this week in preparation for Quince Orchard.”
No. 8 Old Mill vs. No. 1 Quince Orchard
Quince Orchard continues to look like a well-oiled machine on the football field. The Cougars improved to 12-0 overall with a 41-6 win over Old Mill on Friday. John Kelley and company will look to take down Northwest again next week.
No. 7 Blair vs. No. 2 Wise
Just a week after earning its first playoff win in school history, beating Laurel, Blair suffered a crushing 62-2 loss to state powerhouse Wise. The young Blair team will likely be heard from again at this time of year in the coming seasons. Wise advances to face the winner of Broadneck and Flowers, which will be played Saturday. Whichever team advances to the state final between Wise, Broadneck and Flowers, will face Quince Orchard or Northwest in the 4A state championship game.
No. 6 Flowers vs. No. 3 Broadneck (Saturday)
No. 5 Arundel vs. No. 4 Seneca Valley
On Friday, Seneca Valley had an opportunity to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2008. The Screaming Eagles were tied with Arundel 21-21 at the half, but couldn’t get it going in the second half, losing 29-21. Seneca will look to build on this year’s playoff run as they try to earn their way back into the upper echelon of football teams in the state.
No. 7 Blake vs. No. 2 Sherwood
The Sherwood football team beat Blake handily, 42-21, after a shaky win over Springbrook last week. The Warriors move on to the state semifinals, where they will host No. 3 seed Mergenthaler next week. Sherwood will look to punch its ticket to the 4A/3A state championship game, where they would face Dundalk or Arundel, if they were to make it.
No. 8 Urbana vs. No. 1 Dundalk
Urbana gave Dundalk a run for its money. The Hawks kept things scoreless until halftime and led 15-0 after the break, but Urbana lost 20-15. Dundalk will face Arundel, who defeated Seneca Valley, in the next round.
No. 6 North Point vs. No. 3 Mergenthaler
Mergenthaler (Mervo) defeated North Point Friday night, 34-7. Mervo will travel to Sherwood next week, with a trip to the state championship game on the line. The Mustangs are 7-1 this season, with their lone loss coming to Dunbar, falling 48-46.