Seneca Valley scored 28 consecutive points to defeat visiting Wilde Lake, 49-11, before 4,000 in a Maryland 3A quarterfinal game in Germantown last night.
The victory gave the top-ranked Screaming Eagles their 37th win in a row dating from a 37-0 loss to Sherwood in the 4A semifinals in 1996. The 37 consecutive wins is a Montgomery County record, breaking the mark of 36 set by Georgetown Prep from 1970 to '72.
Seneca Valley advances to host Damascus, which defeated Annapolis, 28-27, in overtime.
Wilde Lake (9-2) has won four state titles this decade, and Seneca Valley has won two consecutive titles and five overall this decade. But last night, the Screaming Eagles proved they were the better team this season.
Seneca Valley (11-0) was led by senior quarterback Chris Kelley. Kelley rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns, and completed 3 of 6 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown in the first two minutes to give his team a 7-0 lead it did not lose.
Wildecats quarterback Chad Fawcett completed 10 of 25 passes for 106 yards, and running back Mario Merrills rushed for a team-high 68 yards on nine carries and returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter.
But Fawcett also was sacked twice by Clint Pitts and pressured by Seneca Valley defenders several other times.
Said Wilde Lake Coach Doug DuVall: "I have been living a horror show since last Sunday night at 8 o'clock, when I began watching film on Seneca Valley. They are the best team I have seen in a long time, and Kelley is one great player."
Seneca Valley opened the scoring 1 minute 5 seconds into the game, when Wilde Lake punted after it failed to get a first down on the opening possession. Nyema Wilson's punt bounced at the Screaming Eagles' 48, and Kelley and teammate Rafel Mason backed off and appeared to let the ball be downed. But at the last second, Kelley picked up the ball and raced down the right sideline for a 52-yard touchdown.
"The wall was set up beautifully on that play," Kelley said. "When the wall sets up the way it did there, I should return about 80 percent of those for touchdowns."
On Seneca's next possession, Kelley hit senior Anthony Pierouchakos with a 58-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 lead with 6:33 left in the half. Seneca extended its lead to 21-0 on the next possession, when Kelley connected with Pierouchakos for a 14-yard score with 3:37 remaining in the first quarter.
But the Screaming Eagles turned the ball over four times in the second quarter. On the first turnover, Merrills intercepted Kelley's pass and returned it 20 yards for a score.