Thomas S. Wootton High School football coach Tyree Spinner looked down his sideline toward a player’s mother photographing the game.
“Make sure you get this,” Spinner said.
Wootton quarterback Sam Ellis stepped back and fired a strike Trevon Diggs for a 37-yard gain a play after the two connected on a 40-yard pass. Though Diggs fumbled on the 1-yard line, the long completions in the final two minutes Monday set a tone during No. 10 Wootton’s 24-14 victory against No. 9 Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
“Every down that we play is preparation for our next game,” Spinner said. “So, what’s the point in wasting live reps and taking a knee versus keep going? At the end of the day, we have tied record at the end of the year, you go to point differentiation.”
Spinner is clearly taking no chances with his team in solid contention for its first playoff berth in five years and just its second in 22 years, invoking the third tiebreaker for reaching the postseason.
Wootton (2-0) and Bethesda-Chevy Chase (1-1) were competing to join Quince Orchard and Northwest High School, last season’s 4A West region finalists, as the only 2-0 teams in the region. Gaithersburg joined them with its win later Monday against Watkins Mill,
It wasn’t lost on Spinner his team beat a Bethesda-Chevy Chase squad that made waves by opening the season with a win against Winston Churchill, Wootton’s next opponent. Still, Spinner stressed his respect for Churchill, and that’s why he kept the pedal to the metal against Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
On other sideline, first-year Bethesda-Chevy Chase coach Josh Singer, who previously coached against Spinner on junior varsity, took no offense to Wootton’s late passes with the game already decided.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Singer said. “I know that’s his attitude.”
It’s an attitude Spinner’s players love.
Wootton also ran a hook-and-lateral, a lateral toss on a kickoff return, two onside kicks and a double-reverse pass.
“It’s pretty fun,” said Diggs, who caught a 26-yard touchdown, intercepted a pass and tossed a 28-yard completion that could have been a touchdown had he not lost his footing and under-thrown the ball. “I love this team. I love this offense. I love the offense we run. I love the coach. I love everything about this program. It’s just fun to be a part of.”
“It’s the perfect offense for a quarterback,” said Ellis who completed 26-of-37 passes for 343 yards and also ran for a touchdown.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase attempts to fulfill its season motto of “Press on” against Walt Whitman (1-1) on Saturday, another matchup between 4A playoff contenders that could help settle the postseason scene — or complicate it further. Many of the contending teams will play on a short week after weather and Yom Kippur pushed games to Monday.
Through it all, Spinner is looking for his team to find stability.
Though Ellis completed 11 passes to Diggs for 165 yards and touchdown, Spinner described their chemistry together as just 75 percent to 80 percent.
“It can always get better,” Spinner said.
Wootton 24, Bethesda-Chevy Chase 14
Wootton (1-0) 0 17 7 0 — 24
Bethesda-Chevy Chase (1-0) 7 0 0 7 — 14
BCC — Steven Kelly 54 pass from Jack Hanifee (Ford Price kick)
W — Trevon Diggs 26 pass from Sam Ellis (Eric Schumacher kick)
W — Bryan Castillo 2 run (Eric Schumacher kick)
W — Eric Schumacher 38 field goal
W — Sam Ellis 6 run (Eric Schumacher kick)
BCC — Nana Yaw Amankwah-Ayeh 10 run (Ford Price kick)
Wootton — Jibri Woods 4-24, Sam Ellis 4-17, Bryan Castillo 4-15, Jake Koplan 2-5.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase —Nana Yaw Amankwah-Ayeh 11-91, Keenan McUmber 4-13, Jack Hanifee 11-4, Jeremiah Preddie 3-4, Somto Ndubisi 1-4, Jordan Miller 2-3.
Wootton — Sam Ellis 26-37-343-1, Trevon Diggs 1-1-28-0.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase — Jack Hanifee 3-10-58-1.
Wootton — Trevon Diggs 11-165, Jibri Woods 9-112, Max Etocke 4-58, Jack Pykosh 2-26, Bryan Castillo 1-10.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase — Steven Kelly 1-54, Somto Ndubisi 1-12, Jeremiah Preddie 1-1.