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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Wildcats hammer Vikings in blowout victory

Senior defensive back Nick Zampardi makes an impressive play on the ball forcing a breakup on second down. Zampardi will look to extend his great start to the year against Paint Branch Thursday.
Photo by Sam Mayster
Senior defensive back Nick Zampardi makes an impressive play on the ball forcing a breakup on second down. Zampardi will look to extend his great start to the year against Paint Branch Thursday.

Football dominated from start to finish in their matchup against Whitman Thursday, Sept. 14. Following wins against B-CC and Richard Montgomery, the Cats improved to a 3-0 record, which is their best start to a season since 2019.

Right off the bat the Wildcats were in the zone. On the opening drive sophomore Dylan Byrd churned out multiple 10 yard rushes. The passing attack was clicking as well with senior quarterback Charlie Blessing connecting with senior Reid Wisniewski for a first down gain. Byrd finished the strong drive for the Wildcats with a two-yard touchdown to put the first score on the board. An extra point attempt was made by junior kicker Seth Stein, giving the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.

The Wildcats defense held their own in this game as they forced a punt on the first Whitman drive. Successive to this stop, the Cats once again were moving the ball down the field as Blessing threw a beautiful ball over the top of the Whitman defense to senior receiver Nick Zampardi. Zampardi then reeled in the ball for a 35-yard Wildcat touchdown.

“Charlie and I kinda had that connection where we knew that we were gonna throw the ball there; Charlie had a great throw and I was lucky enough to catch it,” Zampardi said

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The extra point was once again good by Stein increasing the lead to 14-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Heading into the second quarter, senior linebacker Dylan Minnick layed out a huge hit forcing the Vikings to punt on the next play. The Cats took advantage of the decent field positioning, as Blessing again connected to Wisniewski for a 13-yard touchdown. Stein converting the extra point put the Cats up 21-0. Zampardi once more made his presence known on the field as he made a string of impressive plays made up of a 2nd down pass breakup and an impressive punt return to the opposing 6 yard line. The Wildcats again capitalized as Byrd punched in a 3 yard touchdown run, with Stein on fire making 10 consecutive extra points through the last two games.

The next drive, junior defensive lineman Jonny Fisher returned a punt which was blocked and hit up into the air by Jay Williams for a touchdown. With Stein converting WJ sits pretty going into the half with the score standing at 35-0.

“Credit to Jay and Sean, they both shot off the edge and blocked the punt. I was lucky enough to be under it and with a few blocks behind me I walked right into the end zone. Good feeling, good stop on special teams and I’m proud of them for making the play,” Fisher said.

Following the halftime break the third quarter was relatively slow paced as the clock was turned into a running clock at the start of the third quarter because of the scoreline. To make it more interesting Zampardi just couldn’t stop making plays this game as he perfectly jumped an out route towards the sideline, plucking the ball out of the air for the interception.

“[We’ve] been watching film all week so we knew certain plays that they ran. Daniel Kenvo and I saw a play that was coming. We both called it out and I jumped it [and] picked it off which was great,” Zampardi said.

The Wildcats offensive line has been absolutely outstanding as no sacks have been allowed by the first team starters through the first three weeks.

“Watching film on the opposing team’s Dline (defensive line) and getting a good look against our scout team Dline at practice has helped us,” senior Shane Moreland said.

As the game was winding down in the fourth the Wildcats put in some of their back ups like junior quarterback Carter Maury who threw a touchdown to senior receiver Daniel Kenvo. Stein surprisingly missed the kick, but the Cats still led by a mile at 41-7. With less than seven minutes to go, Whitman put up their first points of the game on a touchdown to the deep pylon. Concluding the game, the Cats walked away with another W, 41-7. WJ will play their toughest opponent yet as they face off against Paint Branch on Thursday looking to improve to 4-0 on the season.

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Mateus Bouquet
Mateus Bouquet, Print Sports Editor
Junior Mateus Bouquet is extremely excited to get started in his first year with the Pitch as a Sports Editor. Along with writing for the pitch, Mateus is a huge football fan and his weekly mood is based on how the Commanders played.
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