A sea of white filled the student section. On the opposite side, bitter rivals dressed in all black. Everyone was waiting for kick-off of the game of the year. Wootton vs. Churchill: the rivalry was renewed.
Coming in with an 0-2 record, the Patriots were looking to bounce back in order to get their season back on track. However, the Bulldogs were in the exact same position: Another team in Montgomery County with an 0-2 record, desperate for a win. Before the game, the Wootton student section was getting hyped as senior grill masters Matthew Kopsidas, Evan McLaughlin, Daniel Rudden and Ben Bloch led chants.
In addition to leading cheers, the four passed out baby powder that was eventually thrown up in the air as the opening kick-off was commencing in order to get the students cheering and loud when the game began. When it came to the game, the Patriots started off fast, getting in the red zone on the first possession, and cashing in with their first score of the season from senior kicker Erik Sherman. It was his first career field goal, which gave the team a 3-0 lead.
In the first half the offense was clicking early, and so was the defense. Sophomore safety Jake Lottenberg had two interceptions, one of which Lottenberg grabbed while in the end zone. That play was big, because it led to the Bulldogs not scoring a point in the first half.
After a quick three-and-out due to the Patriots stout first quarter defense, junior quarterback Kyler Hamlin had the Patriot offense on the march once again. With the ball sitting in Bulldog territory, junior wide receiver Matthew Koplan laid out for a beautiful catch in the end zone for a touchdown late in the half.
The Bulldog’s next possession stalled, leading to halftime with the Patriots leading 9-0. The Patriot defense didn’t have the same intensity or ability to stop the Bulldog offense. They gave up a touchdown early in the third quarter, and then converted on the two-point conversion shrinking the Patriot’s lead to 9-8.
Hamlin played a superb first half: He got the offense rolling and threw his first touchdown of the year. That didn’t continue into the second half whatsoever. As the Patriots were knocking on the door to possibly tie or take the lead, Hamlin threw an interception that ruined a huge opportunity for the Patriots. The defense stood their ground and forced a three-and-out late in the fourth quarter that gave the Patriots one last shot.
It looked as if there was a chance they could get out with a win, getting two first downs and getting inside the Bulldogs 40-yard line. However, on the next play Hamlin threw another interception into triple coverage giving Churchill their first victory of the season.
Next the Patriots took on the Gaithersburg Trojans on Sept. 27. With six starters suspended for at least this game, the Patriots had almost no chance in this one. It played out similar to the games against Quince Orchard and Whitman, dropping the game 33-7.
The Patriots played the BCC Barons on Oct. 4 in a revenge game for senior Graham Blondes, a former Patriot who makes his return against Wootton. This game was too late to be covered in this issue.