In Friday's annual neighborhood rivalry game at Winston Churchill High School, a somewhat close game slowly but surely turned into a blowout victory by visiting Thomas S. Wootton.
Up 14-0 late in the second quarter, a Bulldogs' turnover quickly turned into a third touchdown and extra point in less than a minute, giving the Patriots all of the momentum en route to a 41-0 victory.
Wootton (3-0, 3-0 Montgomery County 4A South Division) had just kicked off to the Bulldogs after scoring on a 2-yard plunge by senior fullback Jake Koplan. On the third play of the ensuing drive, Bryan Castillo picked off a Sean Strittmatter pass near midfield. From there, Wootton junior quarterback Sam Ellis went to work, hooking up with senior receiver Max Etocke on a 28-yard strike to set up the knockout blow; a 23-yard scoring pass to sophomore standout Trevon Diggs.
“Coming into the game we just wanted to dominate. Not only is [Churchill] our rivals, everyone is a rival to us,” said Diggs. “We want to dominate each and every team, we want to get a whole bunch of points on the board so we can dominate and win.”
Diggs put his team on the board midway through the first quarter, picking off a pass at the Bulldogs' 37 and maneuvering his way through would-be tacklers into the end zone with 5 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first quarter.
“I feel like ever since January, we knew were going to be a force this year,” said senior slot back Jibri Woods, a three-year varsity performer. “We wanted to put in work, because we didn't want to be that same Wootton team that's like, 'Oh, 2-8, oh 4-6.' We want to be a team to come out and punch every body in the mouth, and that's what we did [tonight].”
Woods, along with Diggs, Ellis and several others played effective roles in Friday's win. Woods caught nine passes for 141 yards, including a 51-yard catch and run for a score. Diggs caught seven balls for 98 yards and a 24-yard touchdown and also returned a punt 28 yards. Ellis finished the contest with 360 passing yards and four touchdown passes, competing 21 out of 30 attempts. Senior wide receiver Kwame Frimpong chipped in with a 39-yard scoring catch late in the third quarter.
“We just play as a team, and when we play as a team, we succeed,” Diggs said. “Like the [Walter Johnson] game, (their season-opening 41-0 victory) we played as a team, everybody got touchdowns, everybody got yards, we just play to win. There's nothing you can do against a team that is playing like a team, versus [players] trying to be individuals.”
The Bulldogs played a third straight game without the services of junior standout Blake Dove. The running back/linebacker has been dealing with an Achilles injury and will probably miss the bulk of the season, according to Churchill coach Joe Allen.
“They were ready to play, they are a talented team,” said Allen, whose team fell to 1-2 overall and in the division. “We felt like coming in, we could compete with them, but tonight, we just didn't. Right now, we've go to be a better football team all the way around. We are a young team, but we are going to continue to grow.
“Hopefully this is a wake-up call for the kids — they are not as good as they thought they were and now we really have to come together as a team and try to win some ballgames. That is where we are.”
Thomas S. Wootton 41, Winston Churchill 0
Thomas S. Wootton (3-0) 7 14 6 14 — 41
Winston Churchill (1-2) 0 0 0 0 — 0
W — Trevon Diggs 37 interception return (Eric Schumacher kick)
W — Jake Koplan 2 run (Eric Schumacher kick)
W — Trevon Diggs 23 catch from Sam Ellis (Eric Schumacher kick)
W — Kwame Frimpong 39 pass from Sam Ellis (kick blocked)
W — Jibri Woods 51 pass from Sam Ellis ( Eric Schumacher kick)
W — Trevon Diggs 24 pass from Sam Ellis (Eric Schumacher kick)
Thomas S. Wootton — Jake Koplan 8-52, Jibri Woods 3-33, Bryan Castillo 4-20, Sam Ellis 6- minus 17.
Winston Churchill — Marquette Lewis 8-26, Juwan Hamelin 7-34, Sean Strittmatter 2-6, Andrew Zuckerman 1-3.
Thomas S. Wootton — Sam Ellis 21-29-360-0.
Winston Churchill — Sean Strittmatter 8-18-50-1.
Thomas S. Wootton — Jibri Woods 9-141, Trevon Diggs 7-98, Jack Pykosh 4-37, Kwame Frimpong 1-39, Bryan Castillo 1-31, Max Etocke 1-28.
Winston Churchill — Juwan Hamelin 5-32, Blake Liss 2-10, Jesse Locke 1-11, Greg Seymour 1-4.