Gaithersburg Trojans hold off RM Rockets comeback in narrow victory

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Gaithersburg's Jordan Graham drives the center of the lane surrounded by Richard Montgomery players. Graham forced a foul and picked up two points at the line. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEGaithersburg's Jordan Graham drives the center of the lane surrounded by Richard Montgomery players. Graham forced a foul and picked up two points at the line. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

GAITHERSBURG — On Friday, the Gaithersburg Trojans proved that its breakout season is the real deal, as they defeated the visiting Richard Montgomery Rockets 45-42.

The Rockets have been the top seed in its section each of the last three years, but this season, Gaithersburg has emerged as a contender. By beating Richard Montgomery, the Trojans proved that they truly will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the season, and into the playoffs.

The Trojans’ star freshman duo of Jao Ituka and Jordan Hawkins, as well as the rest of the Gaithersburg team, didn’t have a very quick start. Gaithersburg didn’t get on the board until nearly midway through the first quarter, but quickly made up the deficit they had fallen into. Behind Ituka’s five first-quarter points, Gaithersburg closed the gap to 15-12 at the end of the first quarter.

The Trojans carried the momentum they had at the end of the first quarter into the second. For the second straight quarter, Gaithersburg came out hot to start the second half. The Trojans began to build a lead, up to 11 points at its largest. The Trojans began to hit three-pointers in the third quarter, after struggling during the first half, which propelled the team on its run.


RM Rockets flatten WJ Wildcats, 38-7

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BETHESDA – In a battle of 2-2 teams Thursday, Richard Montgomery steamrolled the Walter Johnson Wildcats varsity football team to the tune of a 38-7 victory.  

The RM Rockets’ running game was dominant, and it was the key piece to their victory. Running backs Zion Tyler and T’Kai Ayoola as well as quarterback Spencer Silverstein were the main figures in the Rockets rushing attack.


QO Cougars rise to the challenge, defeating Blair 34-7

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JGS 0777 1QO running back Marquez Cooper (15) is brought down by Blair defensive tackle Oly Okumbi (57). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  After comfortably beating the B-CC Barons at home to kick off the season, the Quince Orchard Cougars faced a much stiffer challenge as they went on the road to face the Blair Blazers. But it was a challenge that the Cougars would yet again pass with flying colors, winning the game 34-7.

The opening minutes of the game were a struggle for both teams, as the first few drives for each team all ended in punts. Penalties were an issue for both teams in the early going. The Blazers’ defensive front, led by junior Oly Okumbi, stymied the Cougars rushing attack early on. Both QO quarterback Doc Bonner and running back Marquez Cooper struggled to find open holes to burst through.

The Blazers strong defense play would be rewarded, as Blair would draw first blood. On QO’s opening drive of the second quarter, the Blazers forced a Cougars punt. Johnny Hodges, the Cougars star linebacker, was sent out to punt the ball away. However, Hodges had trouble with the snap, and the Blazers pounced on the ball. Prince Bonsu returned the recovered fumble to the end zone for a Blair touchdown, and after the extra point, Blair led 7-0.

But the game turned steeply downhill for the Blazers after their opening touchdown, as Bonner and the Cougars would completely take the game over. On the ensuing QO drive, Bonner finally was able to run the ball effectively, and single-handedly carried his team down the field. Bonner would muscle his way into the end zone, and the Cougars tied the game up at seven.


QO throttles B-CC football in season opener

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Inside of a raucous Cougar Dome, the Quince Orchard Cougars decisively did away with the B-CC Barons, winning 55-7.

B-CC started with the ball, and had a 23-yard carry from Manny Lee on the first play of the game. But this play would by no means be an omen of what was to come. The Cougar defense locked down the Barons and quickly forced a punt.

A big punt return and two long runs from QO running back Marquez Cooper set the Cougars up at the Barons' !!three yard line!!. From there, star Cougars quarterback Doc Bonner kept the ball on an option play, beat the Barons defenders to the edge and got into the end zone, giving QO a 7-0 lead.

QO used a similar formula to continue to build up its lead in the first half. The Cougars ran the ball often, and ran the ball well. It was a balanced rushing attack between Cooper, Tre Wade and Aaron Derwin. Wade and Cooper scored on the next two QO drives, respectively, making the score 21-0.

Bonner threw the ball only a few times during the game, but when he did, his accuracy was pinpoint. He followed up the three rushing scores by finding receiver Brendan McGonagle in stride on a slant toward the Barons sideline for a catch-and-run touchdown. QO found the end zone again immediately, recovering a Barons fumbled handoff for a touchdown. Following the scoop-and-score, the Cougars held a commanding 35-0 lead.

B-CC found the end zone for the first and only time in the game as sophomore quarterback Joe Koenigs connected with Jack Robinson deep downfield out of the slot. Robinson made the catch and streaked to the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown. 

QO scored two more times in the first half, the first a Bonner 14-yard rush and the second a 58-yard punt return. QO led 48-7 at the half. 

The Cougars scored one their opening possession of the second half on a Cooper TD rush. QO led 55-7. QO used a running clock for the remainder of the game, leaving the score unchanged as the Cougars won, 55-7. 

The Cougars rushing attack was key to the big day on offense, but the defense did an equally stellar job stopping the B-CC offense. The Barons almost exclusively ran the ball in Koenigs’ first varsity start, but the QO front seven, led by John Hodges, was nearly impenetrable.

“I think our front seven is pretty good,” QO head coach John Kelley said after the game. “I think they did a good job tonight, especially with all of [B-CC’s] option stuff. Our guys were in the right spot.”

Kelley was also very pleased that his team scored in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. 

Next week, QO has a big game against 2016 playoff squad Blair on the road. The Barons will face Rockville at Walter Johnson high school (B-CC’s home field for the 2017 season).






Bullis tops Georgetown Prep in the first round of the MD Elite Summer League playoffs

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ROCKVILLE — In the first round of the MD Elite Summer League playoffs, the Bullis Bulldogs beat the Georgetown Prep Hoyas, 63-45, in a rematch of the 2016-17 IAC boys basketball championship game.

Bullis received the fifth seed in the MD Elite Summer League playoff bracket, while Georgetown Prep was the 12th seed.

The game stayed very close in the early stages, both teams matching the other’s baskets. The lead swung back and forth on seemingly every possession. Bullis’ Louis Wilson converted an and-1 to give Bullis 13-11 lead about mid-way through the first half.


Matthew Balanc’s dominant performance carries Springbrook to blowout win over Einstein

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ROCKVILLE — In a battle of two teams on pace to qualify for the Maryland Elite Summer League playoffs, Springbrook Blue Devils star point guard Matthew Balanc (20 points) carried his team to a 66-48 rout over the Einstein Titans.

Balanc started the game for the Blue Devils, but started off extremely cold, in fact the entire Springbrook team struggled to put the ball through the net, not making a field goal for the first five minutes of the game. Einstein started the game on fire however, leading 10-1 with 10:12 remaining the first half.

With 8:25 remaining in the first half, Balanc collided with teammate Cam Rucker and went down hard. Holding his head, Balanc lay on the ground for around a minute. Balanc was helped up by Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers, but walked off on his own power. Just 18 seconds of game time later, Balanc re-entered the game, and everything changed for Springbrook there.


Local inventor wants to change your ballgame going experience

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BETHESDA -- Ever sit at a baseball game eating a slice of pizza, and not know what to with the plate once you’re done? You probably shoved the plate on the ground below your chair, assuming the janitors at the stadium will pick it up for you. Brian Kelley, 22, has an invention to change that.

The idea started during a group project in his entrepreneurship class during his senior year at The Bullis School in Potomac. The students were assigned to create a business idea and pursue that idea. “Going to a lot of games growing up, I’ve noticed the amount of trash that accumulates,” Kelley said. “So this idea came up in my head, I thought ‘Let’s get a better way for being able to throw out trash.’”

Kelley wanted to create a more efficient way for people to throw out their trash and for cleaning crews to collect the trash. To do this, Kelley started by taping paper bags onto the bottom of chairs. The bag makes cleanup after the game easier, as all a janitor would have to do is pick the bag off the chair, instead of pick up the trash off of the floor.


Gaithersburg Council votes on new development plan

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GAITHERSBURG -- The City Council discussed and voted on development plans in the Kentlands, salary increases for the mayor and City Council members and amendments City policy at its meeting Monday night.

Saul Holding Limited Partnership presented its sketch plan for development in the Kentlands, which, while corresponding well with the vision for the master plan, left the Council members with some questions. The sketch plan presented at the meeting displayed a 12-acre plot of land which is set for multiple uses including both commercial and residential. The city council members expressed some reservations regarding the plan, including the wording of the plan as well as height limits of the buildings. Most notably the plan included the phrase “up to” when describing most of the developments, which concerned City Councilmembers who thus did not know exact specifications of what will be built. In the end, however, the City Councilmembers voted unanimously to support the sketch plan.

“It’s early, but the sketch plan conforms very closely to the master plan that was adopted and planned years ago by the city,” said Gaithersburg mayor Jud Ashman. “I think it’s got that going for it. I remain concerned about potential for large densities and its impact on schools and roads.”


Springbrook tops Good Counsel in hoops

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MPI GCvSB 0121Our Lady of Good Council Bez Mbeng (48) goes for a layup. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER      ROCKVILLE — In a game that was purely a tale of two halves at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, the Springbrook Blue Devils used a second half comeback to top the Good Counsel Falcons 41-39.

While the score stayed close early in the game, Good Counsel showed much more fight on the defensive end, creating turnovers and thus baskets in transition. Springbrook had jumped out to a 16-10 lead as Good Counsel wasn’t able to convert its opportunities on the offensive end, but with just under seven minutes to play in the first half, the high energy defense from Falcons began to pay its dividends.

Good Counsel’s up-tempo play propelled them on an 8-2 run to tie the game at 18 with 1:52 to play in the first half, the two would go into the half tied at 20. The Falcons started strong in the second half as well, leading by five points with 10:43 to go in the half.


County considers recovery schools to battle addiction

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ROCKVILLE — Opioid addiction has increasingly become a problem in Montgomery County and across the state of Maryland over recent years. In their July 11 meeting, the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education took steps to combat the problem with a discussion on a possible solution: recovery schools.

 A recovery school is a special program for students who have problems with drug addiction. The program would target students in grades 8-12. These schools will help students stay sober, and give students the tools that they need to stay away from drugs in the future. Nearly 40 of these types of schools currently exist across the United States, and it is an option that MCPS is weighing in order to combat drug overdose problems in its own county.

The emphasis for the proposed recovery school came down to three points in the meeting. First, that the school would be committed to recovery maintenance and support rather than primary treatment. Second, the proposed program would have an equal balance between therapy and academics. Third, the school would be focused on graduating its own students, rather than sending them back to their home school.

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