The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School football team made a statement on Friday with a season-opening 25-15 victory over Winston Churchill, the defending Montgomery County 4A South Division champions.
The Barons' defense shut out the Bulldogs in the second half, as the opportunistic unit came up with four interceptions over the final two quarters. Jordan Miller recorded a pair of interceptions in the contest and Marcellus Powell's 47-yard interception return for a touchdown with just under seven minutes to play sealed the deal for B-CC.
“It all started with our outside [line]backers, Marcellus and Ford Price, they did a fantastic job all day of really shutting down the option which really forced them into situations where they had to throw,” Barons' first-year coach Josh Singer said. “Then, clogging up the passing lanes, we had some great plays by the corners — Mason Bray who had the big interception near the goal line, Jordan Miller had the big interception late — these guys went out there and really showed the work that they put in in the offseason.”
True to form, the B-CC triple option attack meant a plethora of yards on the ground. The Barons (1-0) finished with 199 yards rushing, paced by 91 from senior quarterback Jack Hanifee. Nana Amankwah-Ayeh put B-CC ahead for good with a 43-yard touchdown scamper down the sideline in the third quarter, while Keenan McUmber contributed a short scoring run in the second quarter.
“It's all about making the right reads in the system, and that is something that I have been doing for four years as a quarterback,” Hanifee said. “So I think we were really prepared for anything that they threw at us, and it's all about making the right reads and making them make mistakes.”
McUmber also provided a spark on special teams, returning a first-quarter kick 99 yards for a touchdown. The senior caught the ball near the left hashmark, made one strong cut upfield and found nothing but open space in the middle of the field.
“I just had to trust my blockers,” McUmber said. “We work on that every day in practice, when I got the ball I saw the hole, and my blockers just led me to it.”
The Bulldogs (0-1) took a slim 15-12 lead into halftime, paced by their special teams unit which supplied it's own 68-yard kick return for a touchdown by Greg Seymour, as well as a 29-yard field goal by Sohrab Hoghooghi. Quarterback Sean Strittmatter had a strong first half, throwing for 115 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Locke.
“They were just playing some hard defense,” said Juwan Hamelin, who finished with 96 all-purpose yards for Churchill. “The defensive line got through a couple times, and we might have missed a couple blocks. We were moving the ball well, we just made minor mistakes and we have to fix that.”
The Barons, who defeated the Bulldogs for the first time since 2009, will look to carry the momentum from this victory into their next contest against Wootton (Sept 13). Powell believes that this victory has set the tone for the rest of the season at B-CC.
“You look at the [paper] and nobody picked us to win this, which we are kind of used to by now,” the senior linebacker said. “This sets the tone for the season that we are a good team, and we can beat a team that we normally haven't beat. I think it sends the message that we are not that doormat team anymore, we aren't the easy one on your schedule. A lot of people picked us to go 3-7 or 2-8, and that is just not going to happen. You've got to fear us now.”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase 25, Winston Churchill 15
Winston Churchill (0-1) 9 6 0 0 — 15
Bethesda-Chevy Chase (1-0) 6 6 7 6 — 25
WC — Jesse Locke 13 pass from Sean Strittmatter (kick blocked)
WC — Sohrab Hoghooghi 29 field goal
B-CC — Keenan McUmber 99 kick return (kick missed)
B-CC — Keenan McUmber 3 run (kick missed)
WC — Greg Seymour 68 kick return (kick blocked)
B-CC — Nana Amankwah-Ayeh 43 run (Ben Cohen kick)
B-CC — Marcellus Powell 47 interception return (kick missed)
B-CC — Jack Hanifee 13-91; Nana Amankwah-Ayeh 5-67; Jordan Miller 2-34; Keenan McUmber 6-16; Jeremiah Preddie 1-5; Marcelo McAndrew 1-(-3); Somto Ndubisi 5-(-14).
WC — Juwan Hamelin 5-55; Blake Dove 7-25; Sean Strittmatter 13-20; Marquette Lewis 5-6; Blake Liss 1-(-1).
B-CC — Jack Hanifee 2-6-14-0.
WC — Sean Strittmatter 15-27-170-4.
B-CC — Ford Price 1-7, Steven Kelly 1-7.
WC — Jesse Locke 6-92; Juwan Hamelin 4-41, Blake Liss 2-22; Joseph Dennis 1-9; Cam Babers 1-8; Noah Jankel 1-5.