ROCKVILLE — The Wootton football program isn’t exactly known for its winning tradition, finishing .500 or worse the past eight seasons. But on Saturday, the Patriots took a step forward in changing their culture in winning the inaugural War at Wootton 7-on-7 passing tournament, which featured 13 teams, including Avalon, Bullis, Calvert Hall and Quince Orchard
“A lot of times at Wootton, it’s not team-oriented, but now we’re changing [the culture] by making everything team-oriented and bringing everyone together,” Wootton quarterback Grant Saylor said.
Wootton is the winner of the first-ever War of Wootton 7v7 Tournament pic.twitter.com/EfbF3vVuzm
— Brooks (@_bwarren) July 8, 2017
Wootton raced out to quick leads on Saturday and essentially blew out teams quickly and easily. The 7-on-7 environment was the perfect solution to allowing Wootton’s skill players to showcase potential.
They faced adversity only once during the day — down by eight in the semifinals against Quince Orchard, with the Patriots needing one big play to get back into the game. Alec Yassin was able to provide that late game spark with a late interception off Quince Orchard quarterback Doc Bonner, quickly proceeded by a touchdown and a two-point conversion that forced overtime. The Patriots won in overtime thanks to another clutch drive led by Saylor to advance to the championship game against Avalon.
In the title game, Grant Saylor connected with Noelly Miller and his plethora of underrated receivers for deep strikes and long touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Wootton’s defense stifled Avalon’s dangerous offense, locking down the secondary.
Along with Saylor, there were several other athletes who stood out on Saturday
STARS OF THE DAY
Noelly Miller, Wootton receiver (Class of 2019)
The rising junior used his high football IQ and rapport with quarterback Grant Saylor to terrorize defenses all day. Miller tracked deep balls, showed strong hands and showed no fear going down the middle. Miller made several clutch grabs during a late game comeback in the semifinals versus Quince Orchard. Will be attending college camps at Wake Forest, Rutgers, Howard, Villanova and Georgetown.
Elijah Trent, Wootton receiver (Class of 2018)
Dominated throughout the event using his height, length and athleticism to snag balls at all levels. Made several highlight-reel catches and was Wootton’s top end zone threat. Played both ends and played well at the safety position, breaking up some passes. Has Division I offers from Charlotte, Buffalo, Monmouth, Ball State, Maine and Old Dominion.
Tre’Von Stewart, Springbrook running back and safety (Class of 2018)
Stewart made his mark both defensively and offensively. He brought elusiveness and a physical running style to the offensive side and proved to be a valuable pass-catcher for quarterback Trevon Ruffin and Markell McDaniels. Was involved in seemingly every defensive play. Drawing interest from JUCO programs.
Doc Bonner, Quince Orchard quarterback (Class of 2018)
Bonner showcased his strong leadership skills throughout the day, on and off the field. On the field, Bonner threaded the needle and gashed defenses with his arm strength. Never let inconsistencies effect the next play, showing resilience. Off the field, Bonner hyped up his teammates on the sideline and brought positive vibes. Has a handful of Division I offers, including Towson.
Grant Saylor, Wootton quarterback (Class of 2018)
Saylor made his progressions and threw the football with poise and confidence. Threw several on-the-dime deep passes into the arms of Elijah Trent and Noelly Miller. Has Division I interest from several Ivy league and Patriot League programs.
Aaron Gibson, Avalon quarterback
The tall and lean quarterback flashed his impressive arm strength on Saturday. Avalon allowed him to let it fly frequently, allowing Gibson to embrace a gunslinger type of mentality.