Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:17 AM
Published on: Thursday, December 05, 2013
By Brandy L. Simms
BURTONSVILLE – Friday night’s state semifinal matchup between Northwest and Paint Branch featured two of the county’s most prolific offenses.
The Jaguars boasted sophomore quarterback Mark Pierce while Paint Branch countered with dynamic senior signal-caller Gaston Cooper who led the Panthers in both passing and rushing this season.
Behind Pierce’s leadership on the field, Northwest (11-2) clinched a spot in the Maryland 4A state championship game with a convincing 55-36 road victory over Paint Branch.
The gunslinger completed 29 of 37 passes for 335 yards and six touchdowns to four different receivers. He also ran for a one-yard score in the first quarter.
“I throw it to everyone,” said Pierce, who accounted for seven touchdowns in the state semifinal victory over Paint Branch. “It’s good to have a good six or seven people that you can rely on to throw it to every down.”
Matt Watson caught two touchdowns and scored on a 93-yard run. Joshua Gills, who caught eight passes for 159 yards, also scored on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Pierce.
Meanwhile, Paint Branch (11-2) played without standout wide receiver Javonn Curry who watched from the sideline on crutches. Curry suffered a foot injury in the Panthers’ victory over Perry Hall.
However, Cooper along with fellow Paint Branch seniors Johnny Littlejohn and Javan Grafton were shining stars in Curry’s absence.
Cooper completed 15 of 33 passes for 280 yards and accounted for four touchdowns. Littlejohn rushed for 102 yards on six carries and scored three touchdowns for the Panthers. Grafton finished with five receptions for 160 yards.
Northwest will seek to capture the Germantown school’s second state title on Friday night against unbeaten Suitland at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore