By listening to Churchill Coach Fred Shepherd, you'd think the 14th-ranked Bulldogs lost to Wootton last night.

However, Churchill was just good enough to defeat the Patriots, 20-16, in a Montgomery AA game at Wootton.

"We stunk. We were awful," Shepherd said. "Our defense stunk, our offense couldn't make a big play and our special teams were awful. We're very fortunate to win."

The Bulldogs, who looked bad in last week's loss to Bethesda-Chevy Chase, are 7-2. Wootton fell to 2-7.

Jim Kemp, Mark Mason and Reggie Shepherd each ran for touchdowns, but Churchill had to hold on in the final two minutes.

Trailing, 20-16, with 3:37 left, the Patriots drove from their 27-yard line to Churchill's 37. But the Bulldogs' Matt McClellan intercepted Tom Arata's pass at the 29 to kill the drive with 1:13 left.

The Bulldogs had 14-3 and 20-10 leads. Wootton junior Kendall Evans scored two long touchdowns to keep the Patriots close.

Evans' 29-yard scoring catch from Arata late in the third quarter got the Patriots within 14-10. Arata needed only three plays to get the Patriots in the end zone. He completed two passes to Brian Nisula for 33 yards and then threw to Evans on the right side.

However, the Bulldogs scored on their next possession on an 11-play, 50-yard drive capped by Reggie Shepherd's six-yard run.

On the ensuing kickoff, Evans went 92 yards for a touchdown, making it 20-16. The kick failed.

"I saw a hole on the left side," Evans said. "It wasn't much of a hole, but all I needed was one block and I knew I was going to make it."

The Patriots struggled offensively in the first half, but Arata was six of 10 for 83 yards in the second half. Churchill lost fumbles on consecutive plays in the first quarter, but it put together three scoring drives.

Kemp's fumble deep in Churchill territory set up Matt Buchanan's 20-yard field goal for a 3-0 Wootton lead. The Bulldogs finally moved the ball late in the second quarter as Kemp scored from one yard out. It was a 15-play, 76-yard drive, keyed by Kemp's six runs for 33 yards.

Mason's 11-yard run on Churchill's first possession of the second half gave the Bulldogs a 14-3 lead. The 12-play drive included 10 rushes.

Kemp was two of 10 for 15 yards. Arata was seven of 13 for 99 yards. Churchill (7-2) 0 7 7 6 20 Wootton (2-7) 3 0 7 6 16

W -- FG Buchanan 20

C -- Kemp 1 run (De Guzman kick)

C -- Mason 11 run (De Guzman kick)

W -- Evans 29 pass from Arata (Buchanan kick)

C -- Shepherd 6 run (run failed)

W -- Evans 92 kickoff return (kick failed).