Fall is in full swing, which means one thing: football is back.
The offseason was filled with optimism even after losing key starting players from last year. The Patriots have started out 0-3 after dropping games to Northwest, Churchill and Richard Montgomery. This new senior class believes they can still turn this season around. “Even though we lost our first three games I am very confident in our team and I still think we can do something special this season,” senior defensive back Alec Yassin said.
The offseason was especially exciting for one senior, wide receiver/quarterback Noelly Miller. Miller followed up a breakout sophomore season with an even better junior campaign. He caught 74 passes for 1,266 yards and 14 touchdowns. After the season Miller made an effort to secure his future in football by attending multiple college football camps across the East Coast. His performance at these camps earned him 21 offers from schools that came to see him. Miller credits his teammates and coaches at school for his success. “I believe I was able to get all of these offers because of the great football atmosphere we have here at Wootton,” Miller said.
Miller was called upon to play a new role this season as previous starting quarterback Grant Saylor graduated. This meant that Miller would be asked to move away from his natural receiver position to play quarterback this year. Even though he hadn’t played quarterback since ninth grade, Miller is excited for the challenge. “While it may not be easy, I believe I am ready to lead our team to a successful season,” Miller said.
After a 35-22 statement loss in week one against Northwest on Sept. 1, the Patriots matched up against rival Churchill on Sept. 9. In arguably the biggest game of the year, the team couldn’t catch any breaks as the injury bug struck the squad. Four starters (seniors Miller, Yassin, Nick Baldwin and Matthew Amobi) got hurt as the Bulldogs were able to roll over the wounded Patriots 49-8. Yassin was disappointed that the team wasn’t at full strength to face their rival. “It’s sad that we didn’t get a chance to play them at full health, because if we did the game would’ve been much different, and who knows what could’ve happened,” Yassin said.
The Patriots then returned home to face Richard Montgomery on Sept 14. They lost again 22-12. This game was important for the Patriots potential playoff hopes down the road. If they won they would be able to have an easier road to making the playoffs, but: the Patriots weren’t able to overcome the loss of Miller. Yassin was tasked with starting the game as the QB and he led the team to a lead at halftime. He then got hurt and the Patriots were forced to throw multiple players out to play quarterback who hadn’t had varsity experience at the position. A bright spot was senior receiver Aaron Strauss who had 11 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.
The Patriots next game was on Sept. 21 against Rockville at home, too late to be covered in this issue.
The JV team has started off the season at 0-1. They dropped their opener to Richard Montgomery 25-6. The Patriots were unable to get anything going offensively as they were overmatched by the Rockets’ defensive front. The Patriots also need to improve their offensive strategy as they were only able to get six points on the board.
The team looks to get their first win on Friday against Rockville.