There is no script for these games -- it just feels that way. When northern Montgomery County neighbors Northwest and Seneca Valley battle for the King's Trophy, a fourth-quarter decision seems almost inevitable. How it gets to that point is anybody's guess.
After two straight offensive shootouts between the two teams, they waged a rare defensive struggle last night, as junior Shawn Perry's fourth-quarter touchdown run lifted No. 13 Seneca Valley to a 14-7 victory over visiting Northwest last night in Germantown.
Last season, the two teams combined for 1,025 yards of offense in a 36-35 Seneca Valley victory, and Northwest rallied to win a wild 37-34 decision the year before.
"It just shows you they're very similar to us," Seneca Valley Coach Fred Kim said. "This is going to be a classic battle every single year."
Reigning Maryland 3A champion Northwest's move to Class 4A this season may have eliminated the game's traditional playoff implications, but it did little to quell the intensity of the rivalry, as fans from both sides crammed the stands and poured out to line the fence surrounding the field.
They watched the two defenses force a combined seven turnovers and witnessed the emergence of Perry, who ran for 116 yards on 24 carries in his first start of the season.
Northwest (1-1) turned over the ball four times last night, the most costly coming at its 2-yard line with a 7-6 fourth-quarter lead. An excessive celebration penalty on Seneca Valley (2-0) pushed the Eagles back to the 17, but Perry took a pitch back to the 2 on first down and punched it in on the next play, giving his team the lead with 6 minutes 15 seconds left.
"All week long people were telling me this is the game where you have to shine," said Perry, who also scored on a nine-yard run two plays after a Northwest fumble in the first quarter. "I knew we were going to make it happen."
Northwest took a 7-6 lead on quarterback Dexter Korto's one-yard keeper on fourth down with 2:09 left in the third quarter.
"You know, a few plays here or there," Northwest Coach Randy Trivers said. "But that's always the story."
-- Andrew Levine