No. 6 North County's strength was reduced to its weakness last night as Watkins Mill of Montgomery County defeated the Knights, 30-6, in a state 4A quarterfinal that matched the two newest schools in the state tournament.
Watkins Mill (9-2) is in its fifth year and first in and North County (9-2) completed its fourth varsity season.
The Wolverines were the first team to successfully run against North County all season, and their defense, which has given up only 76 points in 11 games, was brilliant.
North County's defense yielded only 121 points, and the offense had scored 311 coming into the game.
The Wolverines gained nearly 300 yards rushing, 178 in the first half and a total offense of almost 400 yards. The Wolverines took a 20-0 lead at the half and had control from that point on.
Sophomore running back David Garey ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
"I was concerned with their defense and their ability to stop the run, but we ran the ball exceptionally well," said Watkins Mill coach Ken Grace, who savored his 100th career win in 17 seasons (12 at Wheaton, the past five at Watkins Mill). "We did a great job offensively."
There was no argument from North County coach Chuck Markiewicz. "They didn't do anything we didn't expect them to do, but they pursued really quick," Markiewicz said.
After sputtering on their first series, the Wolverines went 80 yards in 10 plays for their first touchdown with 4:53 to go in the first period. Sophomore John Garey carried five times for 27 yards, including a 7-yard burst for a touchdown, and John Blackburn's extra point made it 7-0.
North County had only three first downs and 3 yards rushing and a total offense of 77 yards in the first half.
Watkins Mill marched to its second touchdown in just seven plays. Manson found a huge hole on the right side of his line and scored from 9 yards out with 11:46 left in the half. Blackburn's kick was wide right, and it was 13-0.
Garey scored on a 30-yard run with 6:23 left in the half, and Blackburn's kick made it 20-0. Garey took an inside handoff, cut to the right and followed a block by tight end Mark Murphy and scored.
Watkins Mill scored 10 points in the third period, on a 22-yard field goal by Blackburn and a 24-yard touchdown run by Manson.
North County scored with 2:33 left in the game on a Rice-to-Lou Brown 4-yard pass.