It’s official. Sam Ellis holds the new Maryland state single-game passing record.
Though Wootton’s coaches credited Ellis with 541 yards, Sheldon Shealer, who confirms state football records in Maryland, watched the game film and believes Ellis possibly threw for 561. He referenced three plays that might account for the difference but said he’ll need to talk with the Wootton coaches once more before deciding on an official number.
Regardless, the total tops the mark previously held by former St. John’s Catholic Prep quarterback Keith Ricca, who threw for 515 yards in a 2003 game against Riverdale Baptist.
The top recipient of Ellis’s targets last Friday was sophomore wide receiver Trevon Diggs, who caught 10 passes for 293 yards. That total was just 18 yards shy of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s single-game record of 311, set by Linganore receiver Josh Gontarek in 2012.
Ellis’s name will enter an updated record book that will be released before the state semifinals. Also entering the book will be Rockville quarterback Chuck Reese, who set a single-game overall state record with eight touchdowns two weeks ago against Magruder.
Given that Morton has run for 1,382 yards and 15 touchdowns, he’s each defensive coordinator’s top priority. That’s led to Kuhn thinking of ways to get other playmakers on offense involved, potentially using his star running back as a decoy.
That’s when Kuhn catches himself.
“More into the week, I start thinking, why am I trying to out-coach myself?” Kuhn said. “Just give the ball to Zac first.”
That simple philosophy has paid off over the last three weeks. After a 21-6 loss to Damascus on Oct. 14 dropped the Vikings to 3-3, Morton has accounted for 482 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in three consecutive wins that have kept Whitman’s playoff hopes alive.
Whitman will need another strong performance from Morton Friday against Blair and a Clarksburg loss to have any hope of extending their season. A Vikings win combined with losses from Clarksburg and Wootton would guarantee a playoff berth for Whitman. If Whitman and Wootton both win but Clarksburg loses, it would come down to bonus points.
Kuhn understands why he wants to develop other schemes during a week of preparation. But in Whitman’s case, most teams are game-planning to stop Morton but have been unable to do so.
“He’s been outstanding in all facets of the game,” Kuhn said. “We’ve tried to be a little creative with how we got him the ball. He’s been incredible and impactful in games.”