Quince Orchard at Clarksburg highlights Montgomery County football slate

Clarksburg’s seniors have never beaten Quince Orchard, but when the Coyotes host the Cougars on Friday night, they hope their experience can finally give them an edge.

“QO has always been known for being a powerhouse team and a good team,” Clarksburg running back Tavis Holland said. “They’ve ‘ran the county’ for the last few years. Knowing that we have the chemistry that our team has and knowing that we’re facing a team like QO to test how good we actually are the first week, it’s going to set the tone for the season.”

Quince Orchard has just four starters returning from its 10-2 season, and the Cougars have a new head coach in John Kelley. Clarksburg has more experience back than the Cougars, including four-year starter Joe Nacci at quarterback and its rushing duo in Holland and Tyler Fenslau.

One of the starters Quince Orchard does have back is highly-touted lineman Adam McLean, a Penn State commit who earned first-team All-Met honors after his junior season. Holland said McLean “is just a beast,” but he is confident in the Coyotes’ offensive line.

Fenslau and Holland combined for 1,550 rushing yards last season, and how the running game matches up with the Cougars’ traditionally stout defense will be a key matchup in the game.

“It’s great when you know you have more than one person that can run the ball,” Nacci said. “Not only can the running backs run, but the quarterback can run. The receivers can run off the pass. It’s great to have dual-threat opportunities.”

Sherwood, Gaithersburg square off

While Gaithersburg entered preseason practice as one of Montgomery County’s most depleted teams, 34 players from last year graduating, Sherwood Coach Cris Grier was hopeful about the Warriors after losing just 16 seniors. When Sherwood hosts Gaithersburg on Friday night, it won’t be looking at the Trojans as an inexperienced team.

“Gaithersburg is Gaithersburg,” Grier said. “They always have athletes. They’re well-coached. One of our focuses this year is to just take it one week at a time, be hungry and be humble. We’re not overlooking anybody, and you certainly can’t overlook Gaithersburg. Going back to when I played at Sherwood, Gaithersburg is a powerhouse and our guys know it.”

Gaithersburg had a dominant 32-7 win over Sherwood last season en route to its 8-3 season.

Trojans Coach Kreg Kephart said the quarterback for the first week will be Kamonte Carter, a Penn State commit who’s also a defensive end. Sherwood returned its starting quarterback from last season, Neven Sussman, who threw for 848 yards and eight passing touchdowns.

“We would like to be the type of offense that takes what the defense gives us,” Grier said. “We have a lot of confidence in our quarterback in the passing game. . . . We were a young team last year, and we feel like we have more chemistry and we’re more on the same page in the passing game. In a perfect world, we’d take what the defense gives us and just go from there.”

Isabelle Khurshudyan covers local college sports for The Washington Post. You can email her at Isabelle.Khurshudyan@washpost.com and follow her on Twitter @ikhurshudyan.
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