Seneca Valley 36, Northwest 35
After an emotional postgame address, first-year Seneca Valley coach Fred Kim stepped away from his celebrating players, leaned forward and shut his eyes, trying for a moment to digest his team's thrilling 36-35 road victory over second-ranked Northwest in front of about 7,000 in Germantown.
"I feel like I played three overtimes," said Kim, whose team won for the fifth straight time. "You can't ask for more than what [my players] did tonight."
Fifty-five points were scored in a wild second half, and, for the game, the teams combined for 1,025 yards of total offense. The outcome was not decided until four straight Northwest passes fell incomplete from the Seneca Valley 12-yard line, the last with less than 30 seconds to play.
With the victory, Seneca Valley secured the Montgomery 3A championship and clinched a berth in the playoffs. Perhaps more importantly, the Screaming Eagles (8-1, 6-0) recaptured the Kings Trophy, which goes to the team that wins the annual battle of Germantown. Seneca Valley evened the teams' overall series at 3 and beat Northwest (8-1, 4-1) for the first time since 2001.
And last night's game might have been just a prelude. Both teams have qualified for the 3A West Region playoffs and could meet in two weeks in the first round of the playoffs or a week later in the region final.
"We're probably going to see them in the playoffs and, God almighty, it's gonna be another war," Kim said.
In recent weeks, Kim has stressed the importance of a balanced attack, and last night the Screaming Eagles were able to move the ball on the ground and through the air.
They kept Northwest off balance by rushing for 225 yards and passing for 184. Senior running back Quintin Cosby had a game-high 129 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore Shawn Perry rushed for 71 yards on four carries, including a 57-yard score the first time he touched the ball. Senior quarterback Tyler Newberry was efficient, completing his first seven pass attempts and finishing 12 of 19 for 184 yards and a touchdown pass to senior Jeff Koger (four receptions, 68 yards).
Their efforts barely topped the career performance of Northwest senior quarterback Ike Whitaker. The three-year starter completed 20 of 38 passes for 392 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
With Northwest trailing 29-15 after three quarters, Whitaker threw touchdown passes of 34 and 50 yards to senior Tony Nelson and senior Alphonzo Griffin (four receptions, 142 yards, two touchdowns), respectively, early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 29. Then, after Seneca went back up 36-29 with a 72-yard drive capped by a Cosby touchdown, Whitaker made another huge play. He escaped a collapsing pocket, faked out a defender and raced 58 yards for a score. The ensuing extra point sailed wide, however, and Northwest trailed 36-35.