ROCKVILLE – Two undefeated rival high school football teams faced off on Thursday night, as 2-0 Churchill visited 2-0 Wootton.
In a contest that involved a lot of defense, the Bulldogs were able to get it done, thanks to David Avit, for the 30-0 shutout victory over the Patriots to improve to 3-0 on the season.
“It wasn’t a pretty win,” said Avit. “It should’ve been a bigger scoreboard, but we kept the tradition as Wootton scoring 0.”
It’s Churchill’s third straight victory over Wootton, all during the tenure of head coach Joe Rydzewski.
“Any time we play these guys, the whole school is going to be into it,” said Rydzewski. “The students, our guys are into it. It’s always a fun game.”
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half despite a shaky offense. In the first quarter, quarterback Vasi Hallas found Lance Hersh for a 16-yard passing touchdown in the first quarter.
Then, Avit took the handoff and dove for the corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
However, it was all about the defense on Thursday night, as Churchill came away with three takeaways while Wootton finished with five.
Daniel Kim made critical defensive plays for the Patriots, including two interceptions.
“I’m very proud of the defense, especially the seniors,” said Wootton head coach Ivan Hicks. “From the first quarter, throughout the entire game, they played their hearts out. The score does not reflect how we played.”
The first Avit touchdown happened after an interception by Diesel Duckett put the Bulldogs in good field position.
“Our defense, we’ve always got it,” said Duckett. “We’re always going to look for taking the ball away. ‘Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers,’ that’s what our coaches emphasize.”
Early in the third quarter, the Patriots attempted a quarterback sneak deep in their end zone, but quarterback Matthew Repie was tackled in the end zone, resulting in a safety to make it 16-0.
Shortly after that, Avit made a spin move and ran 73 yards down the field to set his team up near the Wootton 20-yard line, but the play resulted in a red zone interception.
“I can only play this way because of my team and the way they elevate me during practice,” said Avit. “That 70-yard run should’ve been a touchdown, but it was the first one I caught at Churchill.”
However, Avit found the end zone a second time early in the fourth, as he broke multiple tackles for a 36-yard touchdown.
Avit says the team has a motto called “Lead ’em up,” which has been very influential.
“We have a lot of great leaders on this team,” said Avit. “It shocked me the way a lot of guys stepped up. We really feed off each other’s energy.”
The last score came late in the game when Bulldogs backup quarterback Gabe Diamond kept it himself for a 14-yard touchdown run.
“A win is a win,” said Duckett. “We’ll take it, no matter what. Our defense was just right. We’ve only allowed one touchdown this year.”