The Quince Orchard Cougars rebounded from a disappointing opening game loss to Damascus by thrashing an overmatched Walter Johnson squad, 61-11, last Friday night in the home opener at a packed and newly renovated Cougardome.
So dominant was QO, 17th ranked by the Washington Post, that they put the game away 34-0 in the first quarter, scoring touchdowns on all five of their possessions while WJ went three-and-out four times. They had over 400 yards of total offense, including 370 on the ground, while holding WJ to under 150, much of it on a 58-yard catch and run late in the game against the QO reserves.
Marvin Beander led QO with 175 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, while Shawn Barlow had 88 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Both benefited from gaping holes opened by the Cougar offensive line. Barlow’s scores included a 75-yard punt return in which he reversed field and set up several crushing blocks to spring free. Eisley Kim, Nick Moon, Titus Johnson, and Marvin Nemi also scored touchdowns, the latter on a 75-yard pick six.
Still, head coach John Kelley was not entirely happy.
“We had too many penalties,” said Kelley, particularly unhappy about several QO personal fouls. “I got to coach it up. … I’ve got to show these guys what they’re doing wrong.”
Kelley said Barlow and Beander “did some good things on offense.” The versatile Barlow’s all-around night also included a blocked field goal, a pass reception, and solid defense from his safety position, including a near interception, and he is quickly establishing himself as one of the top all-around players in the county.
“I like to just be everywhere,” said Barlow about his versatility. “Whatever’s best for the team. Wherever they need me, that’s where I want to be.”
The win was an important bounce back for the Cougars after their 39-17 loss to powerful Damascus in the season opener. The QO defense couldn’t handle the Hornets’ rushing game, yielding 257 yards to their star running back, Jake Funk, and over 400 yards in all. But, as Kelley pointed out, the Cougars also moved the ball well, gaining over 300 yards on offense. The big difference: QO got inside the 10-yard line on the last drive of the first half and the first drive of the second half, but couldn’t penetrate the end zone and came away with only one field goal.
The Cougars are collectively using the loss to Damascus as a learning opportunity.
“Just fix mistakes, move on. It’s one game,” said Kelley. “That’s what football is … fix things and make corrections. Last week we had a lot of corrections to make.”
“We took a pretty tough loss to a good team,” said Barlow. He said the team is focused on “practicing harder and harder every week.”
After beating WJ, the team’s post-game victory chant included the line, “We’re 1-0.”
“We moved on,” said Kim. “Great game, now we just got to focus on (next week’s opponent) Wootton. Every week’s a 1-0 week. We always want to be 1-0. … Every week, 1-0, that’s our plan.”
Kick-off Friday night at Wootton is at 6:30 p.m.