Warriors Take On South Hagerstown Tonight at Home in Playoffs

Junior running back Van Mahoney runs for a big gain in Sherwood’s 28-21 win over Damascus on October 6.

by Dylan Sondike ’24

After a slew of losses, the Warriors turned heads in the county with their hard-fought win against Damascus on the road on October 6. Facing the defending 3A state champions was certainly no easy task for the Warriors. Freshman quarterback Matthew Larsen made his first career start, and senior cornerback Leo Cantor had a game-sealing interception to help cap off their 28-21 victory.

“We had to up the intensity in practice [that] week. We realized that the two teams [Blake and Gaithersburg] we previously lost to were hungrier than us, and we needed to set a tone that Friday night against Damascus,” explained Cantor. “I think the win gave us some spark again.”

The Warriors carried the momentum from the Damascus win into Homecoming and walloped Poolesville by a score of 61-28, improving their record at that point in the season to 5-2. Larsen had another efficient performance as he made his second career start under center. Junior Brendan Heyer, who started the season at quarterback, has now fully moved back to his previous positions of running back/receiver and safety.

“Larsen showed enough in JV games where we felt like we could get a 3-for-1. Heyer filling in on both offense and defense, and Larsen taking over at QB,” said Head Coach Andrew Fields. “We love Heyer’s leadership and competitiveness, while Larsen shows the poise of a senior and his football IQ is outstanding.”

After a blowout win against Poolesville, the Warriors defeated Walter Johnson in a nail-biting matchup by a score of 14-10 on October 19. That added to the Warriors’ impressive wins in recent weeks as Walter Johnson was previously undefeated with a 7-0 record before losing to Sherwood on the road.

The Warriors moved on to unimaginable challenges as they visited Quince Orchard on October 27. The Cougars headed into the game with a record of 8-0 while outscoring opponents 299-50. They are the defending 4A state champions, and according to MaxPreps, rank 6th of all the private and public teams in the state this season.

Quince Orchard is a physically intimidating team and has dominated opponents on both sides of the line. The Warriors came out of the gate flat, going down 20-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game. Sherwood struggled the rest of the game, allowing 64 points total and 50 in the first half. The only apparent bright spot of the game was the Warriors’ only 6 points which was an 80-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Larsen to wide receiver Alex Lacey in the second quarter.

“This loss shows us how much we as a team have to improve if we want to play on the level that Quince Orchard does,” said Larsen. “This loss is a key turning point in our season. We can either go home or make a run for the state championship.”

Larsen added that practice will be crucial heading into playoffs. After poor performances on all parts of the field against Quince Orchard, he adds that there are definitely things that need to be worked on and corrected to keep their season alive.

The Warriors finished with an overall record of 6-3 and a conference record of 4-0, which was the best of the 8 teams. As a 4 seed, Sherwood will face the 5 seed South Hagerstown at home tonight at 6:30 in the first round of the 3A west region. The winner of that game will face either 1 seed Oakdale or 8 seed North Hagerstown in the regional second round for a spot in the state quarterfinals.