The 2017 DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. High School Player of the Week powered by Under Armour is announced each Wednesday, and featured throughout the week.
JAKE PERETTI, ATHOLTON
After electing not to play football as a high school junior in 2016 so that he could focus on schoolwork and improving as a lacrosse player, Jake Peretti faced a difficult decision this past offseason. Would he go back to the game he had played every fall since age 7?
“I still loved football and supported the team, but I decided to take a year off,” Peretti said, adding that he thought it would have been hard to compete for playing time as a junior. “After the season was over, I was just thinking about how I missed it. I had to decide If I wanted to play. But it was my senior year and I didn’t want to miss my last opportunity to play.”
Three games into the season, Peretti – and his Atholton coaches and teammates – sure are glad that he opted to play one final football season.
This past Friday, Peretti set a Maryland state high school record as he intercepted five passes – playing free safety, he also made 16 tackles – as the Raiders beat Oakland Mills, 17-14.
“We knew that they were a throwing team and they like to throw it deep,” said Peretti, who had one interception in the season’s first two games. “So I was sitting back and waiting for their quarterback to throw the deep ball. And we knew he liked to target No. 8, so I was keying him. I guess it worked out.”
Atholton Coach Justin Carey said that two of the interceptions came on overthrown balls that Peretti was in position to snag. The other three, however, Peretti went up and got the ball at its highest point, before the intended receivers could make a play. Peretti had a sixth interception negated by a penalty.
Other players considered for the Week 3 Player of the Week Award were:
Broadneck QB Shane Davis completed 18 of 22 passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns in the first half as the Bruins beat Severna Park, 49-7.
Friendship Collegiate RB Josiah Crute rushed 23 times for 174 yards and three touchdowns, including the decisive 11-yard run in the fourth quarter as the Knights beat H.D. Woodson, 25-19.
Linganore QB Ryan Leyh completed 13 of 22 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns as the Lancers beat Westminster, 50-28.
Long Reach RB KaDarrian Booker rushed 25 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-0 win over Wilde Lake.
Stone Bridge TE Daniel Thompson had nine catches for 237 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs beat previously undefeated Madison, 35-10.
Tuscarora RB Leron West rushed 13 times for 280 yards and five touchdowns and caught two passes for 108 yards and a sixth score as the Huskies beat Woodgrove, 62-40.
Paint Branch QB Norman Douglas Jr. completed 13 of 19 passes for 235 yards and four touchdowns in a 47-6 win over Whitman.
South Lakes RB Spencer Alston rushed eight times for 297 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-10 win over Dominion.
West Potomac RB Daiimon Cleveland rushed 18 times for 259 yards and three touchdowns as the Wolverines beat Chantilly, 35-24.
DuVal RB David Dupree rushed 32 times for 236 yards and three touchdowns and caught an 11-yard touchdown pass as the Tigers beat Urbana, 26-6.
Osbourn QB Chance Hollingsworth rushed 15 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 62 yards and another score in a 28-18 win over Gar-Field.
Flint Hill RB Jordan Houston rushed eight times for 211 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-20 win over Blue Ridge.
Northern QB Reese Crounse passed for three touchdowns and rushed for a fourth score in a 31-22 win over La Plata.
Good Counsel WR Cam Hart had four catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense as the Falcons rallied to beat Spalding, 37-21.
DARRIEN NEWTON, MOUNT VERNON
Darrien Newton was enjoying a breakout junior season in 2016 when, in the season’s eighth game, he made a cut and felt pain in his left knee. An MRI revealed torn meniscus. Not only did the speedy wide receiver miss the rest of the football season, he was unable to suit up for the Mount Vernon basketball team, where he played point guard and shooting guard.
The road to recovery was long. It took more than half a year for the knee to fully heal. Even then, when Newton put on his pads for the beginning of practice last month, he had some mental hurdles to overcome.
“Initially my knee felt very strong but I didn’t have confidence in making hard cuts,” Newton said. “So I was going easy at the beginning.”
But with each passing week, Newton said, his confidence has grown. And now there is little question that he is back atop the perch as one of the Washington area’s biggest offensive threats. Newton caught 10 passes for a school-record 257 yards and three touchdowns – all at least 60 yards – as the Majors beat Falls Church, 34-16, this past Friday to improve to 3-0.
Newton, who hopes to attend Army West Point – his father, Daryl, retired after 22 years as an army medic and his older brother, Daryl Jr., was recently commissioned -- has been a big reason for Mount Vernon’s success. For his efforts, Newton was named the Military Bowl Touchdown Club High School Football Player of the Week, powered by Under Armour.
“He had 1,800 yards of total offense last year,” Majors Coach Monty Fritts said. “His goal this year is 2,500 yards. I think he is going to do it. He’s obviously doing well when he has 257 yards receiving in one game.”
Other players considered for the Week 2 Player of the Week were:
Meade’s Odion Okojie intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles, returning one 50 yards for a touchdown, to lead a defensive effort that forced seven turnovers in a 47-26 win over Arundel, the Mustangs’ first win in the battle for the Mears Cup victory in 15 years.
Ballou QB Terronta Buchanan completed 4 of 7 passes for 107 yards and three touchdowns and rushed four times for 83 yards and another score in a 41-6 win over Cardozo.
Oakdale LB Maurio Goings had two sacks, an interception and two more tackles for loss in a 53-6 win over Bladensburg.
Wootton QB Grant Saylor completed 24 of 34 passes for 408 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots beat Churchill, 39-32. Elijah Trent had 10 catches for 182 yards and three touchdowns.
Madison RB Casey Koshuta rushed 37 times for 176 yards and two touchdowns and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass on a trick play in a 38-16 win over West Potomac.
Eleanor Roosevelt QB Jaden Faulkner rushed 23 times for 203 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 45 and 49 yards in the fourth quarter as the Raiders beat Pallotti, 30-15.
Freedom-Woodbridge RB A.J. Felton rushed for four touchdowns and returned a kickoff 85 yards for another score in a 58-7 win over Lake Taylor.
Bullis WR-DB Bryson Shaw caught an 80-yard touchdown pass, returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown and rushed five times for 32 yards in a 33-9 win over Fork Union.
Northern QB Reese Crounse passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-7 win over his former school, Patuxent.
ARIS HILLIARD, TUSCARORA
As Tuscarora took the field for its season opener this past Saturday, Aris Hilliard was admittedly nervous. A 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior, he was being given tremendous responsibility for a player who had never suited up for a varsity game.
In recent years, the Titans had leaned heavily on all-purpose offensive standout Rodney Dorset. But with Dorsey now a freshman in the mix at Towson University, Tuscarora Coach Vince Ahearn was looking for Hilliard – whom he jokingly refers to as “Rodney 2.0” because of his on-field ability and the way he comports himself off the field – to take a leading role.
Still, as Tuscarora trotted out to return the opening kickoff, Hilliard had butterflies.
“I should have run under the ball, but I was kind of hoping it wasn’t going to get kicked to me,” Hilliard said.
As the ball bounced near the 20-yard line and scooted past Hilliard, it seemed like everything was happening in slow motion.
How could this happen on his first play on the varsity?
But by the time Hilliard retreated to pick up the ball and started up the field, his outlook had changed.
“I was glad I had the opportunity,” Hilliard said. “It was a wide-open hole.”
Hilliard did not stop until he reached the end zone. Now in his comfort zone, Hilliard went on to enjoy a sensational debut. In addition to his 95-yard kickoff return, he rushed 24 times for 301 yards and three touchdowns, leading Tuscarora to a 38-14 victory at Milford Mill. It was a big victory for the Titans, as Milford Mill has made the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. For his efforts, Hilliard was named the Military Bowl DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank High School Football Player of the Week, powered by Under Armour.
“You don’t know necessarily what to expect, you don’t even know your team this early,” Ahearn said. “But yes, we were expecting him to do well this year. He’s got great grades, too. He’s the whole package.”
While Dorsey earned Frederick News-Post Offensive Player of the Year honors last season, Hilliard is doing his best to make sure Tuscarora’s offense keeps operating at a high level. He usually lines up at running back and also works some as a slot receiver, though the inclement weather dictated that the Titans kept the ball on the ground Saturday. Hilliard, who was one of the fastest players at the University of Maryland’s football camp this past summer, did most of the damage.
“I did not expect to get a kickoff return touchdown, I did not expect to get four touchdowns,” Hilliard said, noting that he had played plenty of cornerback on defense and was not featured in the team’s preseason scrimmages. “I didn’t know what to expect from my first varsity game. It came out of nowhere.”
Other players considered for the Week 1 Player of the Week were:
Severna Park WR Josh Coffman caught four passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead 91-yard score with two minutes left, and returned a punt 45 yards for another score in a 49-48 win over North County.
National Collegiate QB Eugene Dunmore completed 11 of 14 passes for 220 yards and seven touchdowns in a 50-0 win over Phelps.
Howard LB Ryan Kearney led a strong defensive effort as the Lions limited 2,000-yard rusher Wande Owens to 39 yards on 17 carries in a 34-0 win over Glenelg.
Woodgrove RB Josh Johnson rushed 26 times for 256 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-14 win over Massaponax.
Northwest RB Junior Farri returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, rushed 15 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns, caught a 10-yard touchdown pass, intercepted a pass on defense and kicked extra points in a 53-36 win over Wootton.
Wakefield RB Rodney Lee rushed 22 times for 193 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-27 win over Washington-Lee.
Gwynn Park WR-DB Terrell Lindsey scored on an eight-yard run and returned an interception 30 yards for another touchdown in a 24-12 win over Potomac (Md.).
Battlefield QB Trevor Walker threw two touchdown passes, rushed seven times for 117 yards and two touchdowns and returned a kickoff 85 yards for another score in a 55-19 win over Colgan.
Georgetown Prep RB Jalen Hampton rushed 14 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 win over O’Connell.
Northern QB Reese Crounse completed all 13 of his passes for 317 yards and five touchdowns, including four to Xavier Harris, in a 49-7 win over Calvert.
Each week, members of the Coaches Committee submit a nominee from their regions for the DC Touchdown Club High School Player of the Week. The Executive Committee considers nominations and announces the weekly winner each Wednesday. Players of the Week earn strong consideration for High School Player of the Year awards, which are highlighted at the Club's annual Awards Dinner in late winter/early spring.
Elijah Brooks, DeMatha: WCAC/Independents
Mike Neubeiser, Northwest: Montgomery
Rick Conner, Linganore: Frederick
Steve Crounse, Patuxent: Southern Maryland
Tom Green, Eleanor Roosevelt: Prince George's
Mark Martin, Wilson: Washington, DC
Chris Haddock, Centreville: Fairfax
Dan Paro, Georgetown Prep: IAC
Tony Lilly, Hylton: Prince William
Mike Skinner, Woodgrove: Loudoun
Justin Carey, Hammond: Howard