A week after Rockville quarterback Chuck Reese threw for 480 yards in a win over Magruder, Ellis completed 22 of 36 passes for 541 yards and six touchdowns in a 58-40 win over Rockville. The yardage mark would not only set a new Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association record, it would become the new overall state record.
Former St. John’s Catholic Prep quarterback Keith Ricca set the record in 2003 with a 515-yard performance against Riverdale Baptist.
Sheldon Shealer, a liaison for the MPSSAA who keeps state football records, will need to review a copy of the Wootton-Rockville game film before Ellis’s total becomes official. If confirmed before the playoffs begin, Ellis’s name and yardage total will enter an updated record book in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, Shealer confirmed that Reese’s eight-touchdown performance against Magruder is now a new state record. Shealer said he needed to review Reese’s yardage total a second time to determine if it was accurate or not.
Ellis will now wait to find out if he set a state passing record.
Both Montgomery County quarterbacks have been terrors for opposing teams this season.
Reese has thrown for 2,688 yards and 36 touchdowns, and Ellis has thrown for 2,762 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Northwest’s utility man Josh Gills wasn’t playing quarterback when he scored his first touchdown of the night in the first half of Friday’s upset win over Quince Orchard. But he was still scanning the line of scrimmage like one before a snap, lined up as a slot receiver.
“At first no one was over top of me. And at the last second they put a linebacker on me,” Gills said. “And a linebacker against me on a slant route is very difficult for the opposing team to cover.”
The play resulted in a touchdown pass from Mark Pierce, and Gills added another on a simple out pattern later in the first half to help propel Northwest to a 35-21 win. It marked the third win against a top-level opponent this season, as the Jaguars now have collected wins over No. 10 Quince Orchard, heated rival Seneca Valley and No. 20 Paint Branch.
Northwest (7-2, 2-2 Montgomery 4A West) has earned a berth into the Maryland 4A West region playoffs, and has done it with an offense that has been productive down the stretch. With the exception of a 14-13 loss to Clarksburg two weeks ago, the Jaguars have won four games in the past five weeks while scoring at least 30 points in each of those wins – and put more points up against the talented defense of Quince Orchard (35) than the Cougars had allowed in its previous eight games combined (26).
“We just wanted it more than they did. They were 8-0 going into this game, and I think they were overlooking us, to be honest. They just weren’t expecting us to come out like that,” Gills said. This week “we’re going to practice just like we practiced for QO, Seneca and Paint Branch. With the same intensity . . . and hopefully on Friday night it will all come together.”
Friday’s season finale will be against desperate Springbrook (5-4, 3-2).
The Blue Devils, whose postseason chances took a blow three weeks ago in a loss to Whitman, have responded with two consecutive wins by a combined score of 62-10 over Churchill and Kennedy. On Friday against the Cavaliers, Springbrook used two big plays to break away with the win — a 60-yard Baki Akbar fumble return for a touchdown and a 70-yard touchdown pass from Neiman Blain to Sherwyn Benjamin. But the key difference the past two weeks, according to linebacker and fullback Tatah Ndeh, has been taking care of the ball. The Blue Devils had five turnovers in the loss to Whitman and five in a loss to Paint Branch earlier this season.
“The turnovers. That’s our downfall,” Ndeh said. “We just have to keep working hard, keep winning games. I honestly feel like we can beat Northwest. I feel like we can play with any team in the county if we just minimize the mistakes.”
Whitman, Clarksburg playoff scenario
Clarksburg holds a 70-61 MPSSAA points advantage over Whitman heading into the final week of the regular season.
If the Coyotes win, they’re in the playoffs. If Richard Montgomery pulls off an upset and Whitman defeats Blair, then it will come down to the last few bonus points to determine which team advances.
“If they lose and we win, it’s virtually a dead heat,” Whitman Coach Jim Kuhn said. “I think that’s what has to happen for us to have a chance to get in.”
In the event of a Whitman win and a Blair loss, the Vikings will be awarded eight points and close the gap to 70-69 before bonus points are counted.
Clarksburg would also receive an automatic bonus point due to Springbrook and Northwest, both teams the Coyotes beat (Springbrook due to forfeit), battling each other. This would move the points race to 71-70 in favor of Clarksburg.
For Whitman to receive this week’s maximum bonus points, it would need Blake to beat Seneca Valley, Springbrook to beat Northwest, Churchill to beat Damascus and Richard Montgomery to beat Clarksburg — the latter needed for this scenario to take place.
For Clarksburg, it would need Blake to beat Seneca Valley, Wootton to beat Quince Orchard, Bethesda-Chevy Chase to beat Walter Johnson and Magruder to beat Randallstown.
With the bonus points possibilities available for both teams, a Whitman win and a Clarksburg loss wouldn’t assure the Vikings a spot in the playoffs.
Both Whitman and Clarksburg are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. kickoffs and neither team will likely know what the other is doing until after each game.
“We need to control the things we can control and that’s our game against Blair,” Kuhn said. “We can’t worry about the game Clarksburg has against Richard Montgomery.”