Neubeiser, a former All-Met linebacker, has enjoyed his share of wins over the Screaming Eagles in the years since as an assistant at several Montgomery County public schools. But in his second season leading Northwest, Seneca Valley’s new chief rival, Neubeiser enters Friday’s Battle for Germantown seeking his first win against the county power as a head coach.
“For me, there’s no other game bigger than Seneca,” said Neubeiser, who was Northwest defensive coordinator for the first six games in the series between schools separated by less than three miles. “I won’t say I hate Seneca, but I strongly dislike them, so it’s a little bit personal for me. . . . You can’t ignore the rivalry. It’s built-in motivation for this week.”
Seneca Valley has held the King’s Trophy for the past five years and leads the all-time series 9-4. But Northwest, which returned 16 starters from last year’s 5-5 team, believes it has the weapons in place for a breakthrough performance this time around.
Senior quarterback Matty Callahan, a four-year starter, finished seventh in the area in passing yards last season. Senior Ryan Markush and junior Joshua Gills headline the Jaguars’ playmaking corps.
“You watch them on film, and they have athletes everywhere,” Seneca Valley Coach Fred Kim said. “They’re big, they’re strong, they’re fast and well-coached. They’re surging as a program right now.”
The Eagles — who have made the state playoffs 10 of the past 11 seasons — fought off a challenge from Einstein in their opener, scoring four second-half touchdowns in a 35-20 victory. Senior James Jones-Williams is among the county’s top returning running backs.
For the record, Kim, who played at Seneca Valley in the mid-1980s, didn’t like Gaithersburg much back then, either. But he’s seen the Seneca Valley-Northwest matchup blossom into the county’s top backyard rivalry, a contest that annually brings out the biggest crowd of the year.
“It doesn’t take much to get everybody really excited about this game,” Kim said. “All of Germantown will be there. It will be an unbelievable battle.”
Elsewhere in Montgomery
Watkins Mill started its season with a 42-14 win over Poolesville last Friday, but the Wolverines will face a stiffer test this week when it welcomes No. 19 Damascus. The Swarmin’ Hornets scored three touchdowns in their season-opener before their first offensive snap.. . . In the past few seasons, the annual Churchill-Whitman matchup has decided the top team in southern Montgomery County, but the Vikings are young this time around and hoping for a better offensive showing after starting the season with a 15-3 loss to Wootton. The Bulldogs — who came up a field goal short of making the state semifinals last season — pounded Kennedy, 34-0, last week led by a pair of rushing touchdowns from new starting quarterback Jonathan Lee. . . .