Northwest's first trip to the state football playoffs was a quick and unpleasant one.
The 17th-ranked Jaguars, in their second year of existence, fell behind early and never recovered, losing to Urbana, 45-7, in a Maryland 2A first-round game tonight before a capacity crowd of 3,000.
"It is very disappointing," said Northwest Coach Randy Trivers, whose team's only other loss this season was to No. 1 Seneca Valley. "We expected to win the football game. We weren't satisfied with just getting to the playoffs as a second-year program. We're very disappointed the season didn't end like we wanted it to end."
Meanwhile, Urbana (10-0) continued its roll toward a second consecutive state title. The Hawks, who have won 23 consecutive games, were led by Penn State-bound quarterback Zack Mills. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior rushed for two first-quarter touchdowns and completed 13 of 26 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
Northwest running back Raymond Custis, who has committed unofficially to Maryland, finished with 21 yards rushing on 15 carries. As a team, the Jaguars (9-2) finished with minus-15 yards rushing on 27 carries. The Germantown school wasn't much better throwing the ball; quarterback Brian Shaw completed 13 of 40 passes for 213 yards with three interceptions.
"I think we played extremely well tonight," Urbana Coach Dave Carruthers said. "I was sick all week [worrying] with their speed and the way they played. I thought we were going to be in big trouble."
Urbana, the top seed in the Maryland 2A, will host Hereford, which tonight defeated Queen Anne's County, 33-14, in a semifinal game on Nov. 19.
It took three key plays for Urbana to take a 21-0 lead just more than eight minutes into the game. On the game's opening drive, the Hawks had a fourth and seven from the Northwest 27-yard line. Mills kept the ball on a bootleg to the left, hiding the ball on his hip. He faked the cornerback at the line of scrimmage and waltzed into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 9 minutes 6 seconds left in the quarter.
After a pass-interference penalty gave Northwest a first down, Urbana cornerback Kevin Palmer intercepted a pass by Shaw and returned it 57 yards to the Northwest 13. Two plays later, running back John Andrews scored on five-yard run.
On Northwest's next play from scrimmage, Custis fumbled and John Jordan recovered for Urbana. Brad Meador's 35-yard run set up a one-yard touchdown run by Mills to make it 21-0 with 3:49 left in the first quarter.
It was 31-0 when Northwest managed its only score, a 28-yard touchdown pass from Shaw to French Pope with 2:12 left in the first half.
"We didn't play a very good football game against a very good football team," Trivers said. "That is what is going to happen."