Walter Johnson football escapes with win over Richard Montgomery

BETHESDA – The Walter Johnson High School football team has had a remarkable season, as they entered Friday night with only one loss, hosting Richard Montgomery.

In a close affair, the Wildcats capitalized towards the end for the 36-20 victory over the Rockets to improve to 6-1.

“It was a great team win,” said Walter Johnson head coach Larry Hurd, Jr. “This type of win is good for our program. It’s good for us to be 6-1.”

The Wildcats got on the board first late in the first quarter when Elijah Barringtine scampered into the end zone from nine yards out, but the missed extra point kept the score at 6-0.

In the second quarter, Richard Montgomery responded when Ashad Brooks made a huge run, which led to him scoring on a one-yard touchdown run, with the extra point handing the Rockets the 7-6 lead.

However, Walter Johnson’s ensuing drive saw the lead change again when quarterback Charlie Blessing found fellow junior Reid Wisnewski in the back of the end zone for the 17-yard score and the 12-7 lead at the half.

“Me and Reid are good friends,” said Blessing. “We’re good teammates. He gets open. I like giving him the ball and putting it in a spot where he can go get it. He’s been phenomenal.”

The lead changed once again when Rockets quarterback Anthony Dixon Jr. connected with Khalil Wilson, who made a diving catch for the 31-yard score, making it 14-12 in the third quarter.

“Anthony’s definitely the undisputed leader of our team,” said Richard Montgomery head coach Randy Thompson. “His confidence breeds confidence. He’s a very high talent. We’re lucky to have him.”

The Wildcats then responded when Blessing connected with Wisniewski for the second time for a 16-yard touchdown pass, making it 20-14 late in the third.

“I love him,” Wisniewski stated about Blessing. “I met him my freshman year. Ever since, we’ve had a connection. He loves giving me the ball.”

After a Walter Johnson field goal, the Rockets still showed some fight in them as Dixon found Brandon Corsale in the end zone for the 20-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 23-20 with seven minutes left in regulation.

But on the Wildcats’ next possession, Dylan Byrd scampered through the defense for a 20-yard score, extending the lead to 30-20.

“Dylan was on fire,” said Hurd. “We went with him for the second half. He made so many good runs and so many cuts; it was very impressive. His play is well beyond his years.”

After Richard Montgomery’s offense could not convert, Walter Johnson extended the lead with a second Byrd touchdown run, this time from 31 yards out, sealing the deal at home.

“I feel like we worked really hard,” said Blessing. “I think we just came together very well. We executed up front, sealed the edge when we needed to on the outside, we pulled the ball when we needed to, made some plays.”

With their first win over the Rockets in nearly 12 years, the Wildcats have their sights set on Seneca Valley for next Friday, a couple of weeks before the postseason begins.

“I take it week-by-week,” said Blessing. “We’ve got Seneca next week. That’s who we’ve got to beat. We’re not looking at postseason right now; we’re looking at 7-1.”

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