This wasn’t supposed to be a blowout. The battle of Montgomery County 4A West unbeatens, the game of the week. Gaithersburg and its speedy quarterback and his high-scoring offense had the tools to push Quince Orchard to the brink — maybe hand the Cougars their first loss, even.
But No. 3 Quince Orchard maintained its dominance Friday night with a 41-6 win on a neutral field at Richard Montgomery in Rockville, beating the Trojans as they have all comers so far this season.
Quince Orchard’s defense held the No. 16 Trojans to 149 yards of offense and didn’t allow a touchdown. The lone Gaithersburg score came in the third quarter when the Trojans’ Max Anderson picked up a Cougars fumble long after the outcome was determined.
That fumble was the lone blemish for a Quince Orchard offense that had five players score touchdowns. Quarterback Mike Murtaugh completed 7 of 9 passes for 144 yards, and three backs rushed for 70 yards or more.
Quince Orchard (8-0, 3-0 Montgomery 4A West) never punted to Gaithersburg (7-1, 3-1) and turned the ball over on downs once — at the 5-yard line late in the fourth quarter. On the Trojans’ first play after that failed fourth down, the Cougars forced a safety.
“They’re a pretty good offense, but we’re a very talented defense. We’re a very disciplined defense. We know what we need to do on Friday night and we execute to perfection,” senior defensive back Elliot Davis said. “The game plan tonight was to try as often as possible to prevent big plays . . . we’re just a great team.”
In the huddle after the win, Quince Orchard Coach Dave Mencarini told his team the win may have been the best he’d seen in his 10 years at the helm — “a total team effort.”
“It was just a complete team victory. One of those things where you didn’t have one guy that kind of carried you,” Mencarini said. “We’ve won games this year where Kevin Joppy scores three touchdowns or Mike Murtaugh’s thrown four touchdowns. But tonight, things really came together.”
Exhibit A: junior running back Kyle Green, who said he’d “never had a game like that in his life” after rushing for 144 yards on 17 carries in a second-half’s worth of work. Or, exhibit B: Davis, a defensive menace in the secondary who channeled his talents toward offense and scored on a 72-yard touchdown catch.
No, Mencarini said, he “absolutely did not” think his team would handle a “great Gaithersburg team” as easily as it did. But last year’s Maryland 4A state runner-up still has a lot of work to do.
“I think this was just a great team effort overall,” said Cougars defensive end Adam McLean, who sacked normally elusive Trojans quarterback Nick DeCarlo twice. “I think we’re good enough to go to the promised land. We have some knick-knack things to work on, but that’s football.”