When Quince Orchard won the state title last season, it seemed like a season where they had everything: a wide win margin—including over rival Wise—and a trophy to raise after the final game.
But, they didn't have one thing: A chance to beat Damascus to be the undisputed king of Maryland football.
On Friday, they'll play that game.
Damascus set a state record with 53 consecutive wins and three straight state titles. The Quince Orchard Cougars are the defending 4A champions, a perennial powerhouse that consistently notches 10+ win seasons.
The Hornets and Cougars have played six times this decade. Damascus is 5-1 in those games. Quince Orchard’s lone win came by way of a 7-6 victory back in 2013. These are two teams who walk into Friday nights match-up with so much success and yet, so much to prove…to themselves.
“We have to minimize mental errors and stay focused. We have to play as a brotherhood," Damascus center Ryan Linthicum said. "Play together, 100 percent.”
While they may hold the advantage over Quince Orchard, Damascus lost in 2018 to the Oakdale Bears in the Maryland 2A West final in a game filled with turnovers, sloppy play, and mental mistakes. The 24-7 loss was their first home loss since 2013. Both teams going into Friday's matchup are looking for a statement win—not only for the rivalry but for a strong start to the season.
"We must come out strong and finish strong," said Quince Orchard running back Marquez Cooper. "We haven’t beaten them since 2013. I can’t let my community down. I have a lot to prove this game.”
And so is the setting for Quince Orchard vs Damascus: Friday night in the Cougar Dome, kicking off at 6:30 pm.
Players to Watch:
Damascus: DT Bryan Bresee, graduating class of 2020
Bryan Bresee is the No. 1-ranked student-athlete in the country, in the class of 2020. The Clemson Tigers commit displays freak athleticism for a young man of any size, nonetheless an interior lineman. He is a disruptive force who lives in the backfield. Last season he tallied over 30 TFL and 12 sacks.
If Quince Orchard hopes to unleash Kent State commit Cooper and their potent rushing attack, it begins with blocking Bryan Bresee.
Quince Orchard: WDE Demeioun Robinson, graduating class of 2021
Robinson is as good as advertised. The weak side defensive end lines up all over the field and is a terror coming off the edge. His explosive first step makes him a nightmare for offensive tackles. Damascus must do its best to stay ahead of the sticks and avoid obvious passing situations, or else Robinson could wreck its entire night.
Quince Orchard—18 Damascus—16