Tears welled up in Quince Orchard quarterback Mike Murtaugh’s eyes. After his team broke from a postgame cheer on Friday night, Murtaugh hobbled on his crutches behind his running teammates, a black wrap on his left leg and an uncertainty in his coach’s stomach about when he would play again this season.
Yes, fourth-ranked Quince Orchard dismantled Paint Branch, 34-0, in a Montgomery nonleague game in Gaithersburg. But it came with a heavy price.
Murtaugh was hurt on Quince Orchard’s first series, and by the time he was back on his feet and on crutches, he had joined a star-studded list of Cougars players watching from the sideline, including starters Tyrell Williams, Keano Wilder and Elliott Davis — the latter two also hurt Friday night.
Williams and Davis are the top two running backs on the Cougars’ roster, but that was an afterthought in their third straight win. Manuel Brown bruised his way to 110 yards and two touchdowns, all in the second half, and speedster D’Andre Johnson complemented his sidekick with 81 yards on 11 carries, including a number of highlight-worthy cutbacks that flustered Paint Branch’s defense all evening.