Quince Orchard Is Still Unbeaten
Saturday, October 6, 2007; Page D11
After Quince Orchard won its homecoming game, 20-13, in a hard-fought Montgomery 4A nonleague game last night over previously unbeaten Gaithersburg, the second-ranked Cougars shook hands with the Trojans, and acknowledged that none of their four previous opponents played them this tough.
Then, Quince Orchard headed immediately for the Gaithersburg bench to extend the same courtesy to an injured Dan Atwood. It was as much congratulations on a good game as it was a sigh of relief.
After rushing for two game-breaking second-half touchdowns en route to a 151-yard performance, Atwood, the Washington area's leading rusher, suffered a knee injury when a Quince Orchard defender fell on his leg midway through the fourth quarter. It knocked him out of the game for good, and severely limited the Trojans on their final two possessions.
Atwood said he didn't know the severity of the injury, but added, "I don't think anything is torn," following an initial diagnosis by a team trainer.
"That kid played a heck of a game," Quince Orchard Coach Dave Mencarini said. "I hope he's not seriously injured. He was terrific."
Gaithersburg (4-1) committed two first-half turnovers, which helped Quince Orchard leap to a 14-0 halftime lead. The Cougars extended it to 20-0 on the opening drive of the second half, when Travis Hawkins ran it in from three yards out, and after they intercepted Gaithersburg on the third play following that, it seemed possible Quince Orchard could establish a running clock on its fifth opponent this season.
But Gaithersburg's Jose Hernandez made an interception on the next play, and two plays later, Atwood ran 51 yards, while shedding Hawkins, Quince Orchard's fastest player, for a touchdown.
On the next series, Gaithersburg senior Alex Akinseye picked up a fumble on a sack at the Quince Orchard 49 with less than four minutes to go in the third quarter. The Trojans went nine plays, capped by a brilliant run by Atwood on fourth and three from the Cougars 16. Atwood took a pitch on the right side, eluded Quince Orchard's massive Zach Kerr in the backfield, and scooted in for a touchdown to make it 20-13.
Even though Quince Orchard (5-0) fumbled the next play, the Cougars' defense held Gaithersburg on downs at their own 16.
Quince Orchard then punted, and on the first play of the subsequent series, midway through the quarter, Atwood went down.
"I don't think our guys had a letdown when Dan went out," Gaithersburg Coach Kreg Kephart said. "But if we get the ball two times with Dan, I've got to think we'll score."
No. 2 Quince Orchard 20 Gaithersburg 13 Closing In: With his 151 rushing yards, Gaithersburg's Dan Atwood moved to within 19 yards of Jake Colbert's school rushing record of 3,167 yards. I'm Watching You: Maryland recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo was on the sideline, keeping a close eye on Quince Orchard senior lineman and highly touted recruit Zack Kerr. No. 2 Quince Orchard 20 Gaithersburg 13 Closing In: With his 151 rushing yards, Gaithersburg's Dan Atwood moved to within 19 yards of Jake Colbert's school rushing record of 3,167 yards. I'm Watching You: Maryland recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo was on the sideline, keeping a close eye on Quince Orchard senior lineman and highly touted recruit Zack Kerr.