By Eric Goldwein | The Gazette Newspapers
Just minutes into his tenure with The Avalon School, Trevon Diggs demonstrated why he’s one of Maryland’s top recruits, and why the Black Knights — with a new coach, and a dozen-plus transfers — are going to be a contender in the Capital Area Football Conference.
In the first quarter against Potomac School, the junior transfer jumped a pass and returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown, one of his three on the evening. Diggs, a cornerback and receiver, added another interception and two receiving touchdowns to lead the Black Knights to a 33-0 victory Friday in McLean, Va.
“I just read it. Just read it. I knew if I played deep he was going to throw short. He did it the first time and I missed it but the second time I knew I was going to get him again,” Diggs said.
Under new coach Tyree Spinner, Avalon, an all-boys Gaithersburg private school, has gathered some of the area’s premier talent, drawing ire from Montgomery County coaches. Diggs came from Thomas S. Wootton, where Spinner used to coach, while senior quarterback Bryan Strittmatter, who had two passing touchdowns and one on the ground, came from Potomac’s Winston Churchill.
The influx of transfers allowed the Black Knights — who lost to the Panthers 24-12 last year en route to a 5-5 season — to dominate both sides of the ball.
“It was a big deal for us,” Strittmatter said. “First game of the season … a pick 6. Just a great momentum builder for us.”
Quarterback Isaiah Robinson, a transfer from Prince George’s County’s St. Vincent Pallotti, engineered a lengthy second-half scoring drive that was capped off by a short touchdown run from Watkins Mill transfer Daqwan Hill. Idris Patterson, from Albert Einstein, anchored an offensive line that left Avalon’s quarterbacks untouched, Spinner said.
On offense, the Black Knights punted just once and had one turnover on downs, Spinner said. Defensively, Avalon forced Potomac away from the run game and relied on its athletic secondary to secure the lead, and the shutout.
But from start to finish, it was the Trevon Diggs show.
“When Trevon caught that touchdown and our defense started clicking and they couldn’t score, I knew we had it locked in,” senior cornerback Mike Gladney said.
The All-Gazette defensive back — and younger brother of University of Maryland’s Stefon Diggs — caught two long touchdowns from Strittmatter and finished with 100-plus yards receiving.
“He’s one of those guys where he can always bail you out and he just has the instinct that you can’t teach or coach or anything,” Strittmatter said. “When he gets the ball, you don’t know what can happen, he can always go to the house. You throw it up, he usually catches it.”
Avalon is scheduled to play against St. Vincent Pallotti at Fairland Regional Park on Sept. 11. The game was moved to a Monday night because Pallotti (2-0) plays Severn on Thursday.
“[We need to] keep doing what we’re doing, in the weight room, on the field, off the field,” Diggs said. “Keep doing what we’re doing.”