WJ football looks to continue upswing


Walter Johnson took on the Gaithersburg Trojans, the wildcats mounted a second half comeback, scoring 29 points, but it wasn’t enough as the wildcats suffered their third defeat of the season

Andrew Resnick, Online Assistant Sports Editor

The Walter Johnson football team has already exceeded its expectations early on into the football season. After consecutive exceptional performances against Kennedy and Gaithersburg, the Wildcats are standing at a 1-3 record. Already this year,WJ has earned its first win away from home in over a year, and gave a strong Gaithersburg team a scare with a second half comeback. The Wildcats have two members of their team in the top 10 of their respective categories; Junior Payton Anhell is tenth in the county in passing yards with 628 yards, and wide receiver year Delano Munoz-Whatts is currently fourth in the county with 372 receiving yards, only 22 yards behind the county leader in receiving yards.

Junior Chris Carlyle credits the recent upswing in football to good team chemistry,.

“Our upgrades from last year to this year are that this year our team is a lot closer than in past years,” Carlyle said.“We also have a lot of returning players that have been playing together since eighth or ninth grade.”

Although sophomore Connor Phelps agrees that the team has done much better in the past few weeks, he feels that the new improvement has not come from the player’s’ chemistry, but from the team’s trust of the coaches.

 “We have many experienced coaches…many of whom played football in college, so [we] trust them,” Phelps said.

Last week, the Wildcats faced a very tough opponent, Gaithersburg, and were the heavy underdogs. After going down 12-0 early in the first quarter, the Wildcats hopes seemed even more depleted as a field goal attempt to end the first half was blocked, and returned for a touchdown by Gaithersburg. WJ started the second half trailing by a large margin, yet although they were behind on the scoreboard, Phelps said the atmosphere in the locker room was the same as usual.

“Everybody was fired up, “Phelps said.”Everyone was focused and ready to go.” This seemed to pay off as WJ lead a wild comeback attempt in the second half, scoring 29 points , only to see Gaithersburg hold onto the win at the end.

“We really came out fast in that second half, and never gave up,” Carlyle said.

Although many positives can be taken away from games, there were also many negatives taken from last week’s defeat.

“We need to step it up on our defense by making sure that we’re filling all gaps on run plays,” Phelps said.

Carlyle believes that the team must come out fast, like they did in the second half, as the slow start at the beginning was not what the doctor ordered for the team.

“We played really well in the second half, but we couldn’t recover from our slow start in the first half,” Carlyle said.

A 1-3 record may not accurately reflect the success that the team has really achieved this year, but that doesn’t stop the players from recognizing the potential that the team has.
“We are getting better and continuing to work together,” Carlyle said. “I feel like in the past, teams have given up by this point in the season, but we continue to work hard in practice and hopefully our work will pay off on game day.”

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