Sherwood Snaps No. 1 Quince Orchard's Streak

By Matthew Stanmyre
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, October 19, 2008

There was so much for Sherwood linebacker Steven Gamble to marvel at -- so much that had been spectacular, heart-wrenching and just plain sweet -- that his mind was still running in circles minutes after the most emotional victory of his life.

He stood below the metal bleachers at his home stadium in Sandy Spring last night surrounded by nearly a thousand teammates, coaches and fans, all of whom had stayed behind to soak in 18th-ranked Sherwood's stunning 14-6 upset victory over top-ranked Quince Orchard in a matchup of Montgomery County 4A powers.

The game had featured a breathtaking goal-line stand by the Warriors that bolstered the victory -- a stretch spanning parts of the third and fourth quarters during which Sherwood turned away the Cougars on five consecutive rushes from the 1-yard line.

And perhaps more poignantly, the game had also included an injury to Quince Orchard standout Travis Hawkins -- one of the area's top players -- who was carted off the field in the fourth quarter and transported to Montgomery General Hospital with what he later told Coach Dave Mencarini was a high ankle sprain.

"It's crazy," Gamble said, shaking his head. "It was an unbelievable game."

The game had been postponed from Friday because of a power outage at Sherwood High, and more than 3,000 raucous fans returned last night to watch the Warriors (7-0, 4-0) snap defending state champion Quince Orchard's 20-game winning streak.

The wackiness began only minutes into the game when Sherwood quarterback Zack Splain -- while jumping in the air with two defenders draped on him -- threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Gamble with 7 minutes 12 seconds left in the first quarter.

Two plays later, Quince Orchard fumbled and Sherwood linebacker Sosthene Kapepula scooped up the ball and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. Less than six minutes into the game, Sherwood led 14-0.

"We just played the best we could play," Sherwood Coach Al Thomas said. "This is one where we were certainly the underdog. Our players are going to Salisbury and McDaniel. Their players are going to Michigan and Ohio State."

Thomas was referring to Cougars stars Terrance Stephens (Stanford), Cody Magill (Delaware), Jason Ankrah and Hawkins, each of whom is expected to play at a high level in college. Hawkins is the biggest name -- he has NCAA division I-A offers from many of the nation's best programs.

Hawkins hurt his ankle with 11:10 left in the fourth quarter. He was carted off the field after nearly 20 minutes, and Quince Orchard, down to its third-string quarterback, turned the ball over on downs.

"It hurts seeing him laying there in so much pain," Mencarini said. "I just want to see him healthy for the future because he's got a bright one ahead of him."

The Cougars (6-1, 3-0) scored with 1:56 left on an eight-yard run by running back Dawuan Genies, but Sherwood drained the clock on its next possession.

No. 18 Sherwood 14 No. 1 Quince Orchard 6 Knocked Out: Quince Orchard quarterback Kevin Adams broke his collarbone on the Cougars' final play of the first half and did not return. Honoring Coach: Most of the Quince Orchard players wore the name of assistant coach Mike Sarni somewhere on their jersey or body. Sarni had hernia surgery Monday and is expected to make a full recovery.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company