Heroes emerged last night for Bethesda-Chevy Chase, and for the first time this season, none of them were running back Yinka Adeboyeku.
Senior wide receiver Trip O'Connell returned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown, caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Andrew Eastman on the senior's first play of the game, and ran in the ensuing game-winning two-point conversion with 8 minutes 16 seconds remaining to give the Barons a 20-19 victory at Whitman.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for B-CC (2-3). Whitman fell to 0-5.
"Up until now, we'd been riding Yinka's back," B-CC Coach Eugene Wilson said of his senior running back, who has rushed for 634 yards this season but was held to nine yards on 11 carries last night. "Trip stepped up for us. We always knew he had that kind of ability."
Trailing, 19-12, starting quarterback Oliver Duncan was knocked out of the game after a 12-yard scramble on first and 34. On the next play, facing a second and 22 from the Whitman 44-yard line, Eastman, who started the first two games of the season, threw a deep, wobbly pass that hung in the air. O'Connell squared up against a Whitman defensive back, made the catch and scampered into the end zone.
"I wanted it," O'Connell said. "When you need to get something done and you want it, you get it done."
On the two-point conversion attempt, O'Connell took the handoff on an end-around and dragged Whitman defensive back Matthew Jones over the goal line by an inch.
"It was just something I needed to do," O'Connell said. "My instinct took over. It was inches, but it got me in there."
Whitman, which had been outscored 154-14 in its first four games this season, had one final chance to win. After stopping B-CC on fourth and one at the B-CC 36, the Vikings drove to the 9, but a 27-yard field goal attempt by senior Ben Ratner fell short and wide left with 1:20 to play.
"The boys showed a lot of heart," Wilson said. "There's got to be an easier way to win than that, but we made plays tonight that we had to make."
Whitman took an early 7-0 lead when senior Chris Dennig blocked a punt and Noel Siagian returned it 14 yards for a touchdown. After the teams traded touchdowns--a 26-yard run by Duncan and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Whitman quarterback Erik Paisley to Kyle Laughlin--O'Connell returned a kickoff 81 yards up the middle of the field to bring the Barons to 13-12 with 20 seconds remaining in the half.
"You see the opening and go," O'Connell said. "We planned to have a wedge up the middle. You take whatever opening you can."
Defensively, the Barons sacked Paisley seven times, including four by junior defensive back Sean McNeil. The game was McNeil's first varsity start.
"He won the starting job this week," Wilson said. "It was his youth that made us a little reluctant to put him in. After a third loss we thought it was time to make some changes."
CAPTION: B-CC quarterback Oliver Duncan, who scored on a 26-yard touchdown run but was later knocked out of game in fourth quarter, eludes tackle on scramble.