GAITHERSBURG – Quince Orchard senior defensive back Aaron Derwin came up big Friday night at the Cougar Dome.
Derwin intercepted Northwest quarterback Chris Craddock’s pass in the waning moments to preserve the Cougars’ 38-29 home victory over the Jaguars.
“He played extremely well tonight,” said Quince Orchard head coach John Kelley. “He put himself into position to make plays.”
The game marked a battle between two of the County’s top programs; Northwest (7-2) was seeking its first regular season victory over Quince Orchard since 2013 but the Cougars’ defense came through in the clutch.
“We studied their scheme all week,” said Derwin, who registered two interceptions against Northwest. “We spent a lot of time in the film room, a lot of time at practice, a lot of extra hours just making sure that we had everything down.”
Derwin, who transferred to Quince Orchard from Middletown, has been a versatile performer for the Cougars this season. In Quince Orchard’s victory over Einstein earlier this year, Derwin caught a touchdown pass and also ran for a score.
However, the two-way standout enjoyed his brightest moment on the gridiron Friday night when he intercepted Craddock’s pass with 1:27 left in the fourth period to seal the Quince Orchard win.
“He was phenomenal,” said Quince Orchard junior wide receiver Brendan McGonagle. “He went off. He plays both ways. He plays special teams, offense, defense but he did his part. He did really good this game.”
Northwest wasted little time getting started as Craddock connected with wide receiver AJ Woods on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
However, Quince Orchard (8-1) scored 24 unanswered first half points en route to the victory.
Quince Orchard quarterback Doc Bonner completed 7-of-9 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 84 yards on eleven carries and two more scores while dynamic sophomore running back Marquez Cooper finished with a game-high 141 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns to help the Cougars clinch the top seed in the playoffs.
“It puts us at No. 1 and now we have home field advantage for the playoffs,” said McGonagle, one of the County’s top wide receivers.
Quince Orchard senior wide receiver Elijah Payne caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Bonner in the fourth quarter to put the Cougars ahead, 38-23.
Meanwhile, the Quince Orchard defense was stout with standout performances from Derwin and sophomore cornerback Ronnell Dennis Jr. who registered a second quarter interception that set up Cooper’s two-yard touchdown run.
Although he managed to score a touchdown, Northwest running back Juwon Farri was held to just 66 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Kelley told his players during the postgame huddle that the two teams would meet again in the postseason.
“When we play them again,” said Kelley, “that’s the game that really matters.”