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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PRESEASON RANKINGS The 10 best football teams in Montgomery County this week as ranked by The Gazette’s sports staff.



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Record Points

0-0 59 0-1 55 0-0 48 0-0 41 0-0 35 0-0 26 0-0 25 0-0 14 0-0 10 0-0 7

Quince Orchard Cougars Good Counsel Falcons Bullis Bulldogs Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets Churchill Bulldogs Sherwood Warriors Northwest Jaguars Gaithersburg Trojans Wootton Patriots

Also receiving votes: Blake 6; Paint Branch 2; Whitman 2.

2012 LEADERS Top rushers Khalil Wilson, Einstein* Rachid Ibrahim, Avalon Zac Morton, Whitman* Solomon Vault, G’burg* Nikolay Henze, P’ville Dorian O’Daniel, GC Ayinde Warren, Wheaton Adeon Patterson, Knndy* Moses Vines, Sherwood James Jones-Williams, SV

Top passers Matty Callahan, N’west Sam Ellis, Wootton* Stefan Sigwalt, Blake Brendan Marshall, GC Calvin Reighard, SV* Chase Williams, Dam.* Gaston Cooper, PB* Jonathan Lee, Churchill Steven Burchett, RM Gus Gill, WJ

Carries 195 179 245 188 247 142 178 129 154 124

Yards 1567 1435 1357 1251 1240 1029 991 970 952 886

Cmp-Att. 164-291 138-256 136-236 81-143 113-184 88-155 86-197 75-155 66-118 102-183

Yards 2211 1786 1576 1468 1420 1285 1283 1238 1167 1139

Top receivers

Avg. 8.0 8.9 5.5 6.7 5.0 7.2 5.6 7.5 6.2 7.1

TDs 12 19 12 22 15 15 10 8 17 17

Int. 12 10 10 4 6 2 10 11 10 10

TDs 24 15 15 13 16 12 10 8 12 19

Catches Yards Avg. TDs Trevon Diggs, Wootton* 37 769 20.8 7 Ryan Markush, N’west 47 729 15.5 8 Kendall Fuller, GC 33 523 15.8 4 Javonn Curry, PB* 25 506 20.2 6 Charlie Barry, WJ 28 500 17.9 11 Dontay Hears, Wat. Mill 30 492 16.4 9 Nobel Mussie, Einstein* 14 419 29.9 3 Kyon Giles, Northwood* 38 407 10.7 4 Jose Ortiz, RM 15 420 28.0 4 Miles Green, Wootton 31 404 13.0 4 * Denotes a player who returns this year.


FEARLESS FORECASTS The Gazette sports staff picks the winners for this week’s games involving Montgomery and Prince George’s counties football teams. Here are this week’s selections: Montgomery County record All games

St. John’s College at Bullis Potomac (Va.) vs. Avalon Good Counsel at Immokalee (Fla.) Pallotti at John Carroll Mount St. Joseph at McNamara Georgetown Prep at Fork Union (Va.) Godby (Fla.) vs. DeMatha

Montgomery 4A South Division Team

Dan Feldman

Ken Sain

Jennifer Beekman

Nick Cammarota

Kent Zakour

Travis Mewhirter

1-0 4-0

1-0 4-0

1-0 3-1

1-0 3-1

1-0 3-1

0-1 3-1

Bullis Potomac Immokalee Carroll McNamara Fork Union DeMatha

Bullis Avalon Good Counsel Carroll McNamara Geo. Prep DeMatha

Bullis Potomac Immokalee Carroll MSJ Fork Union DeMatha

St. John’s Bullis Bullis Avalon Avalon Potomac Good Counsel Good Counsel Good Counsel Carroll Carroll Carroll MSJ McNamara McNamara Fork Union Fork Union Fork Union DeMatha DeMatha DeMatha

County tries to end its longest title drought BY


Here are the top 10 questions we expect the 2013 high school football season to answer: 1. Can Montgomery County break its state-title drought? No Montgomery County team has won a championship since 2008, when Sherwood claimed the Class 4A title. Only once before, 1982 and 1983, had the county gone even two consecutive years without a championship. 2. Will Quince Orchard break through its runner-up ceiling? Quince Orchard has narrowly lost the last two 4A state championships, and again, the CouGARS APPEAR POISED TO ADVANCE DEEP INTO

the playoffs. Add wide receiver/running back Kevin Joppy and defensive lineman transferring in, and Quince Orchard is a favorite to win its third state title. 3. Is the county’s best team a public or private school? Usually, Good Counsel holds the title of the county’s, if not the state’s, top team. But hit heavily by graduation, Good Counsel showed vulnerability in an opening-week loss to Gilman. Quince Orchard might have enough talent to outrank Good Counsel’s recruits. Private Bullis is a wildcard that could be ready to assume the crown if Good Counsel and Quince Orchard falter. 4. What level has Bullis reached? Pat Cilento, in his fourth season at the helm, continues to lift Bullis into the upper echelon of the area’s football scene. Prior to hiring Cilento, Bullis went 4-26 in its previous seasons. This season, Bullis is ranked No. 3 by The Gazette in Montgomery County. 5. Will Damascus maintain its playoff streak? Damascus has made the play-


All Div.

Sherwood Blake Springbrook Paint Branch Blair

9-3 6-5 4-6 3-7 2-8


237 155 195 213 175 236 159 169 186 244 133 252

4-0 3-1 1-3 1-3 1-3


371 175 196 230 66 164 200 188 52 255

Montgomery 4A West Division Team

Quince Orchard Northwest R. Montgomery Gaithersburg Clarksburg Magruder

All Div.

12-2 8-4 6-4 3-7 2-8 1-9

5-0 4-1 2-3 2-3 2-3 0-5


514 101 375 274 223 213 195 255 141 215 27 413

Montgomery 3A Division Team

Damascus Seneca Valley Watkins Mill Einstein Rockville Northwood

All Div.

10-1 10-2 7-3 6-4 1-9 1-8

Poolesville Wheaton

Private schools offs the last 15 years, the longest streak ever. However, competing in a deep 3A West and having several question marks could leave the Swarmin’ Hornets on the outside looking in. Last season, two 7-3 teams and an 8-2 team missed the playoffs in the region. This year, the region could be just as deep, though perhaps not quite so top heavy. 6. Will Damascus or Seneca Valley — or any other Montgomery County team — win the 3A West? Damascus and Seneca Valley held the top two seeds in the 3A West the past two years, only to see a Frederick County team win the region title. A region championship here would be a point of pride for Montgomery County. 7. Which teams will join Quince Orchard in the 4A West playoffs? Quince Orchard seems like a playoff lock. Churchill and Northwest appear to have good chances, too. Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Gaithersburg, Wootton, Whitman and Richard Montgomery are also part of a deep field of contenders. 8. Can Gaithersburg turn around? In the past five years, five Montgomery County teams — Quince Orchard, Damascus, Seneca Valley, Sherwood and Gaithersburg — have won a region title. In that same span, those five teams have combined for two losing seasons: Gaitherburg’s 5-6 2011 and Gaithersburg’s 3-7 2012. With Northwestern recruit Solomon Vault at running back, the county’s



Defenders close in on Our Lady of Good Counsel High School quarterback Bryan Strittmatter during the Falcons’ final drive, which fell short in Friday’s loss to Gilman at Towson University. the field, composed himself and eventually spoke about Good Counsel’s 14-0 start on just three offensive plays. “It was maybe one of the best moments of my life,” Strittmatter said. “So much doubting on the offense, especially on all the new starters. Nobody thought we had the firepower. “I felt like this was our game.” Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy declined comment as he left Johnny Unitas Stadium at Towson University, which hosted the ESPNews-televised game. Good Counsel’s fortunes began to turn midway through the first half, when Ekwoge suffered a left-knee injury that kept him out the rest of contest. Ekwoge said he plans to get an MRI as soon as possible. “IfIwasin,Ithoughtwewould have won the game, because they couldn’t stop our rushing offense,” said Ekwoge, who ran for 72 yards on five carries. “We were just clicking on all cylinders.” Perry Stefanelli ran for 90 yards on 21 carries in relief, and fullback Chris Dawson took a larger load with Ekwoge out, running 15 times for 55 yards. With an effective defense led

5-0 4-1 3-2 2-3 1-4 0-5

Montgomery 4A East Division


Falcons score twice early, but then not again

Quarterback Bryan Strittmatter stood beside Leo Ekwoge on the sideline early in their first game as full-time varsity starters, a nationally televised contest, and tapped the running back on the chest. “I just had to get mine first,” Strittmatter told Ekwoge, the Our Lady of Good Counsel High School football players smiling at each other. Set up by C.J. Carroll’s 86yard return of the opening kickoff, Ekwoge had just seen his touchdown run called back due to a questionable penalty, and on the next play, Strittmatter threw a 20yard touchdown pass less than a minute into the 2013 season. After Good Counsel’s defense earned a stop, Ekwoge got his, a 53-yard touchdown run on the first play of the next drive. Unfortunately for Good Counsel, those were its last points in a 20-14 loss to Gilman on Friday. Good Counsel, which opened the season ranked No. 1 in the state media poll, held its lead into the game’s final five minutes. But Gilman, ranked No. 3 in the state poll, threw a 16-yard touchdown pass, and Good Counsel’s final drive fell just short. It was Good Counsel’s first loss to a D.C.-area team in 26 games. Afterward, Strittmatter wandered aimlessly near Good Counsel’s post-game huddle before settling into a crouch in the back of the group. In his first attempt during a post-game interview, Strittmatter got choked up as he began to describe the game. “It was — I can’t talk,” Strittmatter said. “I’m sorry.” But Strittmatter stayed on

7-4 4-6 7-3 5-5 3-7 3-7

5-0 4-1 3-2 2-3 1-4 0-5


384 134 332 176 265 143 234 230 135 350 124 238

Montgomery 2A Independents

Good Counsel falls short in opener n

All Div.

Churchill Wootton B-Chevy Chase Whitman Walter Johnson Kennedy

by defensive end Jesse Anniebonam—whosecommitmenttothe University of Maryland, College Park, was announced during the game — that was enough to keep Good Counsel ahead most of the night. But eventually, Good Counsel could no longer contain Gilman quarterback Kai Locksley, who threw for 128 yards and ran for 100. After Gilman scored its final touchdown with 4:46 left, Carroll returned the kickoff 32 yards to start Good Counsel’s final drive. Thanks to Strittmatter’s 18yard completion to Myles Robinson on a fourth-and-10, Good Counsel reached the 10-yard line inside the final minute. Stefanelli ran for 3 yards on first down, and Strittmatter spiked the ball on second down. On third down, Strittmatter ran for a yard on an option play. Fourth down repeated the same play, but Strittmatter pitched to Stefanelli, and Gilman sniffed out the run and won the game. “Even though we lost the game, they showed a lot,” Ekwoge said.”

most bipolar team could again stand with the Cadillac programs of the area. 9. How will a new coach affect teams already on the rise? Sherwood (6-4 to 9-3), Bethesda-Chevy Chase (6-5 to 7-4), Richard Montgomery (5-5 to 6-4) and Montgomery Blair (0-10 to 2-8) all improved their records from 2011 to 2012. All also hired new coaches following last season. Chris Grier, Josh Singer, Joshua Klotz and Andrew Fields are wrinkles to already-intriguing programs. 10. Are any coaches still establishing their programs ready to break through? Several coaches entering their second or third season at the helm, to varying degrees, are still trying to make their mark. Mike Neubeiser (5-5 and 8-4 at Northwest) has won a playoff game, but not a region. William Gant (4-6 and 7-4 at Poolesville) has reached the playoffs, but not won a postseason game. Kevin Watson (4-6 and 7-3 at Watkins Mill) and Jermaine Howell (4-6 and 6-4 at Einstein) have a winning season, but not a playoff berth. Tyree Spinner (4-6 at Wootton), Ernie Williams (4-6 at Wheaton), Adam Bahr (4-6 at Springbrook), Kevin Bernot (1-9 at Magruder), Seth Kenton (1-9 at Rockville) and Carlos Smith (3-7 and 3-7 at Kennedy) don’t have a winning season under their belts. All will attempt to change that in 2013.


Good Counsel Bullis Landon Avalon Georgetown Prep




7-4 223 274 4-6 138 247


11-1 8-2 6-3 6-4 4-5


303 331 214 342 190


128 65 179 268 199

Last week’s score

Gilman 24, Good Counsel 20


St. John’s College at Bullis, 7 p.m. Friday. SJC reached the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinals last year, falling to eventualchampion Our Lady of Good Counsel, 21-7. The Cadets (1-0) opened this season with an impressive 17-7 victory against Calvert Hall, usually one of the top programs in the Baltimore area. Bullis (0-0) was dominating opponents last season, jumping out to a 7-0 record by averaging more than 40 points per game. But quarterback Danny Copeland’s wrist injury was too much to overcome in a loss to rival Landon, which went on to claim the Interstate Athletic Conference crown.

Potomacgaz 082813  

Potomac, Montgomery County, Maryland, Gazette

Potomacgaz 082813  

Potomac, Montgomery County, Maryland, Gazette