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Gburg Hosts QO In A Battle for the Ages


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Published on: Friday, October 25, 2013

By Brandy L. Simms

If you decide to attend only one high school football game in Montgomery County this year then make sure you’re at Richard Montgomery’s Roy Lester Stadium on Friday night.

That’s when Gaithersburg and Quince Orchard will battle for bragging rights in the Game of the Year.

Both head coaches have led their respective program to an undefeated state championship season – Kreg Kephart in 2000 and Dave Mencarini in 2007.

This year, Quince Orchard (7-0) and Gaithersburg (7-0) are both undefeated and ranked in the state football poll.

“I think they’re a great team,” said Mencarini. “Coach Kephart, he’s a legend and it’s going to be a great test for us.”

The connections on both sides are endless, extending from coaches to players to parents and even alumni of both Gaithersburg schools.

I got word that Quince Orchard alum Travis Hawkins and Gaithersburg alum Simba Gwashavanhu have been trash talking this week about the big game between their alma maters. Hawkins and Gwashavanhu are currently teammates at the University of Delaware.

“It’s gonna be trouble trouble trouble,” Hawkins posted on his facebook page.

Quince Orchard assistant Joe Mencarini was once an assistant on Gaithersburg’s coaching staff under the legendary John Harvill.

Kephart was also on Harvill’s staff with Mencarini and the two know each other quite well.

Joe Mencarini also had a stint as Gaithersburg’s varsity baseball coach back in the day. However, Mencarini is not the only Quince Orchard assistant with Gaithersburg ties.

Paul Foringer, Quince Orchard’s junior varsity head coach, was once the varsity head coach for Gaithersburg’s boys’ basketball program.

In fact, Foringer guided the Trojans to their first and only state championship on the hardwood during the 1997-98 campaign.

Gaithersburg assistant Ivan Hicks was once an assistant at Quince Orchard under head coach Dave Mencarini.

Friday’s game will also mark a reunion for longtime friends Solomon Vault and Kevin “Twos” Joppy. Both are among the county’s top student-athletes and are four-year starters.

Joppy and Vault are also alumni of the Montgomery Village Sports Association (MVSA) Chiefs youth football program and the Montgomery County-based Firebirds track club.

In fact, Joppy is a cousin of Firebirds head coach Adrian “Hot Dog” McDaniel, a Gaithersburg High School graduate who heads up the girls’ basketball program at his alma mater.

Joppy, who began his high school career at Seneca Valley before transferring to Quince Orchard over the summer, has emerged as one of the county’s top running backs this season. He’s rushed for more than 600 yards and scored twelve touchdowns through the Cougars’ first seven games.

Meanwhile, Vault, a Northwestern recruit, has been slowed by a knee injury suffered in a game against Clarksburg earlier this season.

In the season opener, the speedster rushed for 155 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead Gaithersburg past Sherwood, 32-7.

However, Gaithersburg and Quince Orchard are both loaded with talented players other than Vault and Joppy. Their depth is amazing. Both teams possess senior leadership at the quarterback position in Nick DeCarlo (Gaithersburg) and Mike Murtaugh (Quince Orchard).

Gaithersburg running back Xaviyer Mosley would start for most teams in the county. The senior has played in Vault’s shadow for much of his high school career but is now beginning to make a name for himself.

Mosley, a senior, shined in the Trojans’ 40-6 victory over Magruder last weekend. He rushed for a game-high 128 yards on ten carries including a 90-yard touchdown run. Mosley, Gaithersburg’s leading rusher, also recorded his career-high against Magruder.

Quince Orchard’s backfield also features sophomore Shawn Barlow and junior Kyle Green who combined for nearly 200 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 42-7 win over Sherwood last weekend.

“Kyle and Shawn really stepped up when we needed them,” Dave Mencarini said after the game.

Barlow, who rushed for a career-high 100 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns, was named the Offensive Player of the Game against Sherwood.

Other players who should figure prominently in this weekend’s colossal matchup include Gaithersburg’s Kamonte Carter, Ariel Martinez, William Tearney, Isaiah Rainey, Avery Taylor, Tinashe Gwashavanhu along with Quince Orchard’s Malcolm Brown, Kyle Gregory, Elliot Davis, Xavier Twine, Adam McLean and Connor Tilton among others.

This contest promises to be an exciting game so you should make sure you get your ticket because you don’t want to miss this matchup.

You can contact Brandy at: blssports@hotmail.com

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