Quince Orchard 30
It took just 75 seconds of playing time for 19th-ranked Churchill to take control of its first playoff game in nine years. Trailing by six points midway through the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs scored touchdowns on three consecutive offensive plays and then held off visiting Quince Orchard for a 38-30 victory in a Maryland 4A West Region semifinal in front of about 1,000 fans in Potomac.
"That's just the most exciting game I've ever been a part of," said Churchill Coach Jamie Collins, whose team will play No. 4 Damascus in Friday's regional final. "It was unbelievable."
Damascus defeated Richard Montgomery 28-14 last night.
The Churchill-Quince Orchard game was full of momentum swings and big plays, with Churchill (10-1) intercepting a pair of passes, recovering a fumble on a kickoff and blocking a punt -- each leading directly to touchdowns.
Despite making many mistakes, Quince Orchard (8-3) had its chances. Running backs Cameron George and Bani Gbadyu combined for 278 yards rushing and three touchdowns despite both suffering leg injuries that forced them to miss plays.
Quarterback Brian Barrett, after sitting out the first half because of an injured shoulder that prevented him from practicing all week, tried to lead a late comeback, throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Scot Riddell before an onside kick was unsuccessful.
At one moment in the fourth quarter, it was Quince Orchard's fans sensing a victory in their school's first playoff appearance since 1993. One or two snaps later, the game had changed dramatically, and Churchill was on its way to its first playoff win since 1995.
"It snowballed pretty quickly," said Quince Orchard Coach Dave Mencarini, whose team seemed in control with a 17-3 lead at halftime as sophomore Pepper Coe filled in for Barrett.
After stopping a fake punt in its own territory, Churchill quickly tied the game at 17. Quarterback Nick Scrivens threw two touchdown passes to Travis Schroeder in 54 seconds, the second coming after Steven Siegel recovered a Quince Orchard fumble on the kickoff following the first score.
With Churchill sensing the game had changed, however, Gbadyu broke off a 55-yard run down the right sideline then finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter, putting Quince Orchard back in front, 23-17.
Then it was Churchill's turn to fight back. With less than seven minutes remaining, James Gregory blocked a punt -- the first time the senior said he has done that -- and on the following play, Scrivens threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Seth Dubin for a 24-23 lead.
Two plays later, Churchill's Diego Innecco deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and Josh Rodman intercepted the ball.
On the next play, Scrivens threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Smith and it was 31-23. Sekou Yansane intercepted a pass on the next play from scrimmage and returned it 30 yards, setting up Innecco's one-yard touchdown run that made it 38-23.
Scrivens, in his first year of organized football, finished 15 of 28 for 163 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He also kicked a 33-yard field and sailed four kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
"Colleges have got to start looking at him," Collins said.