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Paint Branch holds on late against Blair to remain undefeated

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PB Panthers teamPaint Branch Panthers following their win over Blair. PHOTO BY MATT COHEN  BURTONSVILLE — The Paint Branch Panthers were able to keep their perfect record alive as they beat the Blair Blazers 20-14 on their home turf.

Blair started the game very quickly, finding the end zone on their first play of the game. Blazers quarterback Matt Siff threw a screen pass to wide receiver Rudy Ngougni, Ngougni turned upfield and blew past the Panthers’ defense for a 68-yard touchdown.

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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.

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Delayed by rain, Northwest comes back to defeat Blair in playoffs 3-2

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xNorthwest vs. Blair baseball 3bNorthwest’s Griffin Bubb slides into third base as Blair’s Sam Strongin dives for the ball.    PHOTO BY CAROLYN KOMATSOULISIn the previously suspended MPSSAA Regional Finals Playoff game, some of the most exciting baseball of the year was had for an all too brief time on day two, as the Northwest Jaguars (17-4) came back to win 3-2 against the Blair Blazers (15-7) at Northwest High School on Saturday evening.

The brief resumption of the game, with only a few batters and less than twenty minutes of actual play, changed the trajectory of two programs for this season. For the Blazers, their season ends in a tough way. For the Jaguars, they move onto the state semifinals against the Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders at Shirley Povich Field on Tuesday afternoon. The winner plays in the state championship.

Northwest head coach Todd Varesco talked about the game interruption due to rain, saying, “Yesterday, we stopped when we felt we had momentum and to look back on it before we left here today we said ‘it wasn’t a bad thing the day got stopped. We got to reboot and come back tomorrow and we’re just going to play our game.’ And I’ll tell you all the guys were focused. Not one thought we were going to lose, and I got to tip my cap to them because coaching did nothing today. It was all those guys. Just rose to the occasion. Rose above the flood.”

Blair head coach Eric Zolkiewicz said of the delay on account of rain, “I have nothing to comment. We can’t change the weather. Both teams had to deal with the same circumstances. You just had to come out and play.”

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Blazers put down Rockets 9-5

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SILVER SPRING-Some big questions were asked about this softball game, a rematch from early on in the season.

One of the biggest was: could the Richard Montgomery Rockets make up for their 10-2 blowout defeat against the Blair Blazers back in March?

The answer ended up being no, with a 9-5 loss, but the result showed more of a fight from the Rockets, and put pressure on the Blazers to keep afloat.

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Northwest digs deep to overcome Blair with 8-5 win

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SILVER SPRING – The Northwest Jaguars dominated the Blair Blazers in Monday night boys baseball, keeping the home team scoreless until a close call at the bottom of the seventh.

The Jaguars were on top of their game Monday, but what hurt the Blazers the most was the combination of heavy hitters on the Jaguars squad and costly infield and outfield errors.

“It was nice to get the bases loaded, kind of get the feel that we want to get, going into the playoffs, but we expect to play like that every inning,” said junior second baseman Zachery Dunn.

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Blair softball hangs in the rain

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ROCKVILLE – The thunder rolled and raindrops fell as Blair sophomore pitcher Courtney Wyche stood on the mound Monday, awaiting word from the umpire and head coaches about whether the game would continue.

It was the bottom of the sixth, and Wootton had managed to avoid a Blazer shutout by scoring four runs in quick succession. However, as the sky darkened and the thunder rumbled in the distance, the umpire made the decision to call the game, and Blair escaped with a 9-4 victory.

“The momentum turned, and they had all the momentum,” said Blair head coach Louis Hoelman. “I don’t know what would have happened if the game would have continued. They’re a good team, and they were getting hot now. I’m real happy that we got it in early and we had a little bit of room for error there.”

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Blair softball stays undefeated

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Blazers overpower Richard Montgomery with 10 runs to win sixth

xBlair vs. RM softballBlair pitcher Courtney Wyche connects solidly with the ball, putting it over the right field fence for a home run. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

SILVER SPRING – The Blair varsity softball team extended its undefeated streak to 6-0 Thursday after dismantling the visiting Richard Montgomery Rockets, 10-2.

The Rockets (1-3) wasted no time getting on the board as senior second baseman Tatiana Davidson ran over the home plate at the top of the first.

The rest of the evening, however, belonged to the Blazers.

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Friends and family honor Short

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A former Montgomery County Public School head football coach was laid to rest last weekend.

Dr. James Short, who guided the Montgomery Blair football program from 1995-2003, was memorialized at Lackey High School in Charles County on Saturday, March 26.

Short, who died suddenly of kidney failure on March 21 at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata, was 58.

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Richard Montgomery takes it from Blair in a thriller 55-50

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RM vs. Blair 2-28-17Guarded by Zaire Mitchell-Paden of R.M., Blair's Julius Cobb bobbles the ball. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

ROCKVILLE – Richard Montgomery senior center Zaire Mitchell-Paden stood at the free throw line with just 20 seconds left in his team’s quarterfinal playoff game Tuesday against Blair.

The Rockets had managed to stave off a fourth-quarter Blair surge and led by three points.

Mitchell-Paden paused, took aim and launched his first free throw through the net as deafening cheers from the Richard Montgomery faithful filled the gym.

The Notre Dame College football commit appeared unfazed by the commotion as his second free throw hit the mark.

The Rockets’ postseason was still alive as they sent the Blazers home, 55-50.

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