After the Quince Orchard football Cougars lost two weeks ago to private school rival Bullis, local high school football observers expected that QO might take out its disappointment against a winless Kennedy squad last Friday night. But they could not have anticipated the scope of the onslaught.
The Cougars scored touchdowns on their first two plays of the game and got four more in quick succession, blocked a punt, recovered a fumble, and intercepted a pass—all in the first quarter—en route to a 69-0 rout of the overmatched Cavaliers.
“Everybody’s disappointed about (the Bullis loss),” head coach John Kelley said after the dust—well, the mud—settled in the Cougar Dome. “But it was good to bounce back and come out tonight and play well.”
“That left a bad taste in our mouth,” agreed defensive back and slot receiver Nahiem Howell of the loss to Bullis, “so we just came out, executed and dominated as soon as the game started.” Howell was one of eight Cougars to score touchdowns against Kennedy, his coming on a 35-yard jet sweep in the second quarter. Running backs Marquez Cooper (four carries, 102 yards) and Jeremiah White (4 carries, 52 yards) each had two touchdowns.
“We give defenses hell,” said the speedy White, only a sophomore, of his backfield pairing with the diminutive but hard-running Cooper.
“I’m just going in with a better mentality,” said Cooper, a junior, who last year ran for 1,200 yards and has almost half that amount in the first five games this season. “I was a little—just quieter,” he said of his sophomore season, “but now I know no one could stop me this year.”
Wide receiver Brendan McGonagle and running back Tre Wade scored on pass plays of 60 and 55 yards from quarterback Brian Plummer, wide receiver Chris Webb scored on a 13-yard jet sweep, defensive end Kevon Carter-Hackey recovered a fumble in the end zone and running back Chris Agritellis rounded out the scoring with a 21-yard fourth quarter run.
The 69 points is believed to be the highest amount scored by the Cougars in a game, at least in recent memory. QO’s Black Paw defense notched their second shutout of the season, even though they played without three starters who were suspended for one game after being ejected for coming off the bench during a dust-up against Bullis. Video of the incident later showed that the players did not come off the bench to fight, as charged, but rather were rotating in to the lineup.
The absences, however, provided other players with opportunities to play, notably sophomores Ryan Barnes at defensive back and Demeioun Robinson at linebacker.
“I knew … I had to step up,” said Robinson, who said he worked on technique all week to prepare for his first start.
“I thought they did a good job,” Kelley said of the replacements. “It’s good to get them to come out and play … just adds to our depth.”
Against Bullis, the 4-1 Cougars were manhandled in the first half as the Bulldogs took a 15-0 lead, but a stout second half from QO narrowed the final score to 22-14. Cooper’s second short touchdown run of the game brought QO within a score with less than five minutes to play, but Bullis ground out the win behind powerful running back Eric McKan (34 carries, 195 yards).
“It’s definitely a good game for us,” Kelley said of the private school vs. public school match-up with Bullis. “Makes us battle-tested. … Playing games like Bullis makes us better.”
The Cougars will need to be at their best this Friday night at Paint Branch, which enters the game undefeated and, like QO, has been racking up big scores against overmatched teams.
“Right now, they’re one of the best teams in the county,” said Kelley, adding that his team would be the underdog. “It’s a big game for us.”
The Cougars are hoping this year’s Red Army will continue the avid fan support they have provided through the first half of the season.
“Appreciate all your help and support,” said Cooper, one of the team’s captains. “Just keep it coming.”
Howell is looking forward to squaring off against the team’s toughest public school opponent of the season.
“Can’t wait!” he said with a smile.
Kick-off is 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 at Paint Branch.