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Swarmin’ Hornets state champs for third time in a row

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Dmass vs. Gwynn Park FB 2A state champs 1Damascus' Timothy Furgeson is hoisted on the shoulders of teammate Michael Jurgens to celebrate Furgeson's steal of the ball from Gwynn Park.                PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  ANNAPOLIS — 20 straight playoff appearances. 42 straight victories. Three straight state championships.

The Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets keep making history and Saturday’s 2A State Championship game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium was no different. The Hornets became the first team in Damascus school history to win three state titles in a row, its tenth overall, when they defeated the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets 31-7.

The Hornets now own the Montgomery County record for most victories in a row, a record previously held by Seneca Valley.

Damascus utilized its multiple scoring threats to its advantage and bounced back after the Yellow Jackets tied the game early in the first quarter.

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Quince Orchard Cougars trounce North Point 40-21, earn championship rematch

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DD5A3480aQuince Orchard Cougars' Bryan Ramos (#88), Johnny Hodges (#44) and Desmond Johnson (#32) force North Point Eagles quarterback Jemichael Jones (#7) into a fumble recovered by QO's Tyler Terry (#6). PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  WALDORF — The visiting Quince Orchard Cougars soundly defeated the North Point Eagles Friday in a 4A state semifinal game, 40-21; the Cougars are now headed back to the state championship game for the second straight year.

Moments after their road victory over North Point, Cougars' senior quarterback Doc Bonner gave a speech to his team in the postgame huddle.

Bonner, a three-year starter, talked to his Quince Orchard teammates about "redemption."

"This means a lot," said Bonner. "All year we knew where we had to go and what we had to do so we wanted to come out each and every game especially in the state playoffs, we wanted to come out and do our jobs and get back to the state championship."

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Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets demolish Glenelg, 42-7, head to states

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1008 20171124 DHS vs GlenelgGlenelg quarterback Tyler Reiff's attempted pass is foiled by Damscus tight end Matthew Betterelli who snags Reiff's shoulder, forcing a fumble.  PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  DAMASCUS — The Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets once again proved themselves among the most dominant football teams in Maryland as they advanced to the 2A football championship game by defeating the visiting Glenelg Gladiators on Friday with the final score 42-7, setting up their fourth straight state championship appearance.

Friday's performance was a return to form for the Hornets' offense after last week's quarterfinal match against Walkersville turned into a defensive battle, and allowed Damascus to claim their 41st straight victory with a tried-and-true formula: run hard and run often.

The Damascus running attack – led by junior running back T.D. Ayo-Durojaiye – couldn't be contained by the Glenelg defense or slowed down by cold weather. Ayo-Durojaiye's offensive efforts were an integral part of his team's win, as he rushed for 145 yards and finished the game with three touchdowns.

While Ayo-Durojaiye put points on the board, Damascus' signature stifling defense made sure the Gladiators didn't make much offensive progress by keeping enough pressure on Glenelg junior quarterback Tyler Reiff that he struggled with fumbles, interceptions, and incompletions for most of the game.

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Quince Orchard Cougars defeat Northwest Jags, become 4A West regional champs

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QO beats NW 4A W regional champs 1The Quince Orchard Cougars celebrate their victory over the Northwest Jaguars to become the 4A West regional champs. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  GAITHERSBURG — In a battle of two rivals, the Quince Orchard Cougars nabbed the 4A West regional championship title after dispatching the Northwest Jaguars 31-20.

The game heated up an otherwise frigid Friday night, and showed how each team prepared for this game.

“Ultimately they capitalized on some mistakes we made. We made too many mistakes, got penalties that were huge penalties and they capitalized and we didn’t. We made a few too many mistakes in the end,” said Jaguars head coach Mike Neubeiser.

The Cougars were coming off of a victory high after annihilating the Einstein Titans 62-0 last week, while the Jaguars arrived to this game through sheer willpower.

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Paint Branch comes up short against Howard in 4A North regional finals

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 DSC2275Paint Branch tight end Jordan Griffin gets across the goal line for a touchdown just as Howard defensive back Anthony Reid catches up to him. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BURTONSVILLE — All the players from the Paint Branch varsity football team huddled in a circle Friday night after their 4A North regional finals loss. The Panthers had just put forth a valiant effort in an attempt to defeat the visiting Howard Lions, the same squad that had eliminated them from the playoffs in 2014. However, undefeated Howard would emerge victorious once again to claim its fourth regional finals victory in as many years by a score of 33-20.

Even though many Paint Branch players were visibly upset, they still put their hands together over an uplifted Panthers helmet and shouted “family.”

“When we say ‘family,’ we mean it,” said Paint Branch head coach Mike Nesmith. “In games like this, so many alumni come back and they’re always around the program. Everybody says ‘family’ but we feel like we live it.”

Perhaps it was that familial bond between the players that helped propel the Panthers to a division title and their best record since 2013.

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John Allan Furgeson sparks Damascus to 2A West regional championship victory over Walkersville

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DD5A9759a 1aTwo Walkersville players force Damascus High School quarterback John Allan Furgeson (#9) out of bounds near their 10 yard line, but not before he popped through the line on a keeper for a long run to set up the go ahead touchdown. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHDAMASCUS — After a hard-fought battle, the Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets emerged victorious Friday in the 2A West regional championship game, defeating the Walkersville Lions 7-3.

Until halfway through the fourth quarter, the Swarmin’ Hornets found themselves in a situation it had rarely seen in 2017: trailing.

Facing off against Walkersville, Damascus had struggled throughout the game to find any type of offensive momentum, leaving the jam-packed home-field crowd looking for something – anything – to cheer for; That is, until quarterback John Allan Ferguson called his own number, ran right, and headed downfield unchallenged until he was finally stopped 67 yards later at the Walkersville seven-yard line.

The crowd roared. Finally, Damascus had life.

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Paint Branch Panthers run amok over Perry Hall Gators, advance to regional finals

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PB Panthers vs. PH GatorsBURTONSVILLE – Paint Branch running back Justin Page held his helmet aloft as his teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders for a post-game photo op.

The Panthers had just run amok over the visiting Perry Hall Gators by registering over 400 yards rushing in the 4A North Regional Semi-Final game Friday en route to a 44-21 victory.

Page scored four of Paint Branch’s six touchdowns and finished with 183 yards rushing.

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NW Jaguars claw their way to victory over RM Rockets, 10-7

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NW Jags vs. RM Rockets FB 11 10 17Northwest Jaguars' Norval Black (3) maneuvers past RM Rockets' Michael Braswell (1). PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

GERMANTOWN — The Northwest Jaguars used a last-minute tiebreaking field goal to end one of the closest games of the 2017 season, and in doing so eliminated the Richard Montgomery Rockets from playoff action with a 10-7 win on Friday.

The majority of the game’s action resembled a team playing against a mirror image, as both sides excelled on the defensive side of the ball while struggling with tepid offenses that repeatedly failed to score despite coming close.

The pace of the game began so slowly that it wasn’t until the last drive of the first quarter that Northwest managed to change the scoreboard from zero, after senior quarterback Chris Craddock completed a pass to senior wide receiver Alphonso Foray, at which point the latter dashed through the right side of the Jaguars’ defenses for a touchdown.

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QO Cougars demolish Einstein Titans 62-0, advance to 4A West championship game

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QO Cougars vs. Einstein Titans

GAITHERSBURG – The Quince Orchard defense rose to the occasion last week against Einstein.

The Cougars registered a 62-0 victory over the Titans to advance to the 4A West Region championship game Friday against Northwest.

“It’s a big deal,” said Quince Orchard senior defensive back Aaron Derwin. “We’re looking forward to going on to play Northwest again and we’re looking forward to break that streak of losing here in the playoffs.”

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Georgetown Prep tramples St. Albans 41-0 on homecoming

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G. Prep vs. St. Albans FB 11 4 17Georgetown Prep's Justin Clark (32) falls into the end zone, scoring one of many touchdowns against St. Albans during the Little Hoyas' homecoming game. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  BETHESDA — Georgetown Prep backup quarterback Peter Davin, filling in for injured starter John Ridgway, led the Little Hoyas to a dominant 41-0 victory on Saturday over the St. Albans Bulldogs in his first career start.

“It was scary at first,” Davin said of getting his first start. “I had butterflies in my stomach at first. But then, you just take the first snap and you become really comfortable. Everything you practiced comes easily…Everything just started clicking, we started hitting passes, started hitting the holes, and everything just worked out.”

Early on in the game, Georgetown Prep leaned on the run, like they also do with star running back Jalen Hampton, but they did not hide their backup quarterback. Davin was given many chances to throw the ball, and it was on his arm that Georgetown Prep scored its first points.

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