After a big win against Blair in a torrential downpour in their first game of the season, QO boys’ LAX had two tough losses to Whitman and B-CC. They also faced rival Northwest in front of the largest crowd of the year in a game that they needed to win—and they did.
Coach David Gonzalez said, “The Northwest win gave us some confidence and some positive learning experiences.”
The Northwest game also showed that senior midfielder Alexander Raines has what it takes to have reign over a game by scoring five goals. “It was a breakout game for Alexander Raines, and it showed his dodging and shooting abilities,” Coach Gonzalez said.
Raines didn’t stop producing after that game, scoring hat tricks against Richard Montgomery (RM) and Gaithersburg. In fact, his hat trick against RM almost helped the team pull off a win against the undefeated Rockets in the best game of the season. The game against division champions RM showed that the Cougars can hang with anyone—and that they have what it takes to make a deep run in the playoffs.
QO lost 9-8 in overtime, but the game against RM highlighted the Cougars’ strengths. “The RM game showed we can compete with any team in the county,” Coach Gonzalez said. “We could see the potential in this team and that we have to focus on the fundamentals to be successful.”
The Cougars are led by one of the best—if not the greatest—player to come out of Quince Orchard, Navy commit Johnny Hodges leading the midfield. He is assisted by Brandon Kelly coming off of a 35-goal season anchoring the attack with McDaniel commit long stick middie Logan Feuer commanding the defense along with freshman sensation Anthony Spano.
With all of this star power, expectations are high for this team. While they haven’t fully lived up to those expectations in the regular season, the chance is still there to make a run in the playoffs.
One of the reasons for the team’s struggles is that they were without star Hodges for most of the season; going into the playoffs, he had not played a single full game. Hodges was out for most of the beginning of the season with a medical issue, but he came back to play the first quarter of the Bullis game. His first full game back was supposed to be against RM, but back spasms kept him out of most of the game and the rest of the regular season.
Hodges’ contribution to the team is indescribable. “Johnny is an impact player. His physical ability and skill provide the team with a huge boost when on the field, but the true difference is his leadership,” Coach Gonzalez said. “Johnny has grown into a true leader this year as he has reached a point where he makes everyone around him better.”
The team finished the regular season with a record of 5-7. The Cougars won their first playoff game against Gaithersburg, 16-8, to start off the playoffs well.