Quince Orchard bounces back to beat Whitman, halt skid at one

By Jennifer Beekman
The Gazette
Thursday, September 16, 2010; 11:43 PM

Seventh-year Quince Orchard Coach Dave Mencarini is a self-proclaimed sore loser. A second loss in seven days, Friday against visiting Whitman, would not have gone over well.

The Cougars weathered the elements and a tough test from the Vikings to rebound from last week's loss to rival Damascus with a 12-7 win over the Vikings on Thursday in Gaithersburg.

"We really needed to win badly," Mencarini said. "Ever since the loss to Damascus, I've had a bad taste in my mouth. We're learning how to deal with bouncing back from a tough loss."

Defense told the story, as both teams struggled to move the ball in the soggy conditions. Quince Orchard (2-1 overall, 1-1 Montgomery 3A Division) gained just over 200 yards, while Whitman (2-1, 2-0 Montgomery 4A West) struggled for 146 yards.

Five-foot-11 sophomore linebacker Marcus Newby, who tallied one sack and some big-time tackles, was all over Whitman's offense. Quince Orchard's defense held Vikings third-year starting quarterback Henry Kuhn, who completed 25 of 30 pass attempts for 338 yards in his first two games, to just 83 yards Friday.

"All week at practice, we were fired up," Newby said. "Things weren't going great for us, but when the defense got on the field, we made the plays; we made the stops we needed."

Added Mencarini: "Our plan was to keep [Kuhn] bottled up in the pocket, because he can hurt you with his legs. I think we did a good job of making him either get rid of the ball too quickly or hold onto it long enough so we could hit him."

Things got off to a rough start for Quince Orchard when starting quarterback Drew Murphy went down with a dislocated finger on the Cougars' first series. Junior Billy Plante filled in and staked QO to a late first-quarter lead when senior Peter Bowles took his swing pass 25 yards to the end zone.

Harry Long's 11-yard field goal made it 10-0 at halftime. The advantage grew to 12-0 midway through the third quarter when a snap on a Whitman punt went through the end zone.

Whitman clawed its way back with Kuhn's 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Flack early in the fourth quarter. Neither team could muster much offense after that.

"Credit to Whitman's defense," Mencarini said. "They're a good team, they're coached well. We've had some close games because when good teams play each other, it's usually a good game."

This story is from The Gazette group of community newspapers published by Post-Newsweek Media, a unit of The Washington Post Co.

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