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.
Northwest junior kicker Steve Delgado then made the extra point to boost Northwest to a 7-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
But Richard Montgomery responded shortly after, when senior wide receiver Daryn Alexander caught a pass from senior quarterback Spencer Silverstein and carried it into the end zone to put six points on the board for the Rockets, after which senior kicker Enid Diaz tied the game at 7-7 with the extra point.
The remainder of the second quarter was scoreless, as neither team’s offense could penetrate the other’s defense, leaving the score at 7 apiece as halftime began.
The back half of the game was equally frustrating for both teams, as their solid defenses equally compensated for their opponent’s lackluster performances on the offensive side of the ball.
However, at the two-minute warning – with a tied score threatening to send the game into overtime – Northwest’s final drive saw some of the closest action of the game as the Jaguars raced against the clock. The Jaguars had less than two minutes to either trudge 33 yards into the end zone for a coup de grace touchdown, or get close enough to score a field goal and hold down a slim three-point lead.
With seven seconds left, Northwest put their fate in Delgado’s hands.
The junior easily made the nine-yard field goal attempt, giving his team the win and leaving Richard Montgomery with only a few seconds for a last symbolic drive downfield.
Northwest junior linebacker Greg Bullard told the Sentinel that the both teams played a physical game, but that his team wanted the win more even if the scoreboard barely showed it.
“We’ve got to sharpen up and get better for next week,” he said.
Rockets coach Josh Klotz noted that his team had an equal shot until the final minutes of the game. “We were obviously in the game until the final seconds…and our guys feed off of that,” he said.
Jaguars head coach Mike Neubeiser said that both teams were evenly matched, but his team did just enough to get the win.
“We got the field goal in the end,” he said. “Thank God.”
The Jaguars will go on to face a Quince Orchard Cougars team that has only lost once this season, and annihilated the Einstein Titans on Friday 62-0.
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