Elijah Wroten is a 6-foot-4, 312-pound gentleman, beloved by his teammates and held up as an example by his coaches.
To call the Germantown Academy senior lineman a "people person" might even be an understatement.
So, those who know him won't be surprised that, when Wroten made the game's definitive play Friday night, the gregarious and gifted player was more fatigued running back to the bench to celebrate with teammates than he was immediately after munching on the Simon Gratz quarterback.
The play helped the Patriots to a 36-24 victory at Gratz, which had thumped Wroten and Co. at home last season.
"We're on a revenge tour now," said Wroten during a celebratory postgame huddle.
Stop No. 1 on the tour took an emotional detour after Germantown Academy senior Liam Rosato suffered a leg injury that delayed the game about 30 minutes early in the third quarter while an ambulance was called. A fire engine was first on the scene. An ambulance arrived later.
As Rosato, a first-year player playing in his first football game, lay on the ground, Wroten and a few teammates went to console him. Rosato cracking jokes, however, may have comforted his teammates instead.
"That's the one thing about Liam," Wroten said. "He's always lighthearted. That made it a little easier for us going into the rest of the third quarter."
Gratz wasted no time, scoring on a 30-yard pass from Rodniel Passapera to Jordan Mariney on the first play after the stoppage.
The Patriots (1-0) responded on their next play from scrimmage: a 70-yard run by junior running back Trae Vance, who finished with 140 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Gratz (0-1) eventually responded to get within, 27-24, with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
Passapera, a junior quarterback, finished 13-of-20 for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
Mariney, a senior, added 126 yards, two scores and six catches.
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Longino gave the Patriots some insurance with a feathery touchdown pass to fellow sophomore receiver Jerry Griffen-Batchler early in the fourth.
Longino finished with 93 yards and a touchdown in the air, while adding two more ground tallies on seven attempts (10 yards).
Sophomore Lacey Snowden also made plays on both sides of the ball as a receiver and cornerback.
Wroten then shut the door on Gratz for good.
After he feasted on Passapera, Wroten ran toward his teammates and nearly ran out of gas before he found a seat on the bench.
"Man, I'm more tired running over here than I was making the play," he told a teammate.
"This game means a lot to me and my guys because last year they beat us, 31-7," he said. "To start the season with this one means a lot to us. A lot of momentum now."