The defense came ready to play for the James H. Blake High School football team on Friday. The Bengals forced five turnovers and recorded a safety during a 22-14 victory against host Thomas S. Wootton.
“I think we came out, from a defensive standpoint, and physically dominated the game,” Blake coach Tony Nazzaro said. “We have some hard hitters on our team. We do it between the whistles and fair-and-square, but we have some headhunters out there. I was really proud of the defensive effort.”
Defensive back Marquis Robinson had a pair of interceptions for the Bengals (4-2). The junior also scored on a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter.
“We watched a lot of film this week, and we noticed that they run a lot of comeback routes,” Robinson said. “That’s what we were looking for. They try to fake you deep, and then keep coming with the comeback routes to the outside. I missed the first few, but then they kept doing it so I started to sit on it, and that’s how I got the picks.”
On top of the turnovers, the Blake defense forced the Patriots backwards on four separate drives. One drive resulted in a safety during the first quarter. Two others ended when Wootton was forced to punt from deep in its own territory.
On the offensive side, the Bengals were paced by Will Scott, who had 106 rushing yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Stefan Sigwalt completed 10-of-20 passes for 135 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown pass to Monroe Rogers to put the Blake ahead 9-6 in the second quarter.
“This is our fourth straight win, so we are on a roll right now,” Robinson said. “We just have to keep going, keep the train moving. We have a tough opponent next week in Seneca Valley, and we think that we’ve got it. We just have to believe in ourselves — that’s all we need.”
For Wootton, the game started on a high note. The Bengals fumbled on their first offensive play, then defensive back Joe Kelly scooped up the loose ball, and returned it 43 yards to set the Patriots up with excellent field position. Jibri Woods wasted little time, scoring on an 18-yard touchdown run two plays later to seize the early advantage.
After the early score, things unraveled for the home team. Penalties, turnovers and miscues resulted in just 50 yards of offense over the next six drives for Wootton, which went into halftime trailing 16-6.
The Patriots (3-3) showed some signs of life on their first drive of the second half, marching the ball 64 yards on 12 plays before sputtering in the red zone. A late score cut into the deficit for Wootton, when a perfectly-executed hook-and-ladder play sprang Jibri Woods for a touchdown. Quarterback Miles Green hit Kelly on a crossing route to start the play, then Kelly’s lateral found Woods, and caught the Bengals defense off-guard.
“This was a must-win for us,” Patriots coach Tyree Spinner said. “Now we have no margin for error. We are just going to take it one game at a time. Next up is [Bethesda-Chevy Chase] for homecoming, and we just have to protect our house.”
Wootton plays host the Barons (4-2) at 6:30 on Friday. Bethesda-Chevy Chase is coming off of a 27-21 victory against Paint Branch. The win pushed the Barons ahead of the Patriots in the 4A West playoff standings.
Meanwhile, Blake plays host an undefeated Screaming Eagles team coming off of a 40-21 victory against Rockville.
Blake 22, Wootton 14
Blake (4-2) 2 14 0 6 — 22
Wootton (3-3) 6 0 0 8 — 14
W —- Jibri Woods 18 run (kick missed)
B — Safety
B — Monroe Rogers 7 pass from Stefan Sigwalt (Josh Ashiru kick)
B — Marquis Robinson 12 run (Josh Ashiru kick)
B — Will Scott 6 run (kick missed)
W — Jibri Woods 59 run (Miles Green 2-point run)
Blake — Will Scott 18-106; Tayahd Campbell 3-31; Marquis Robinson 4-16; Kwame Asante 2-(-7) Stefan Sigwalt 3-(-32).
Wootton — Jibri Woods 12-94; Miles Green 8-22; Joe Kelly 3-14; Andrew Parsons 3-11; Austin Hersch 1-0; Eric Shumacher 1-(-23).
Blake — Stefan Sigwalt 10-20-135-1.
Wootton — Miles Green 6-72-1; Sam Ellis 4-8-30-1; Jack Pykosh 1-2-6-1.
Blake — Breon Herbert 3-54; Monroe Rogers 3-27; Marquis Robinson 1-22; Eric Assoua 1-14; Will Scott 1-9; Devin Cannon 1-4.
Wootton — Trevon Diggs 2-39; Joe Stapleton 1-21; Joe Kelly 3-15; Miles Green 2-15; Maxime Etocke 1-6; Kevin Mooney 1-6; Jibri Woods 1-6.