First things first - Washington gets first yards, points, win in debut (8/30)with Hedgesville

September 05, 2008|By MARK KELLER

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - No matter the outcome of Friday's game, it was sure to be a night of firsts for the Washington High School football team.

The squad representing the new Jefferson County school would be playing its first game, gaining its first yards and, hopefully, scoring its first points.

The first that mattered most to the Patriots, however, was the first win.

Washington got that out of the way, too, getting several big defensive stops and solid running from Dylan Nick to beat Hedgesville 14-6 at Mumaw Field.

"We're in the history books now," said Nick, who rushed for 147 yards on 27 carries in the Patriots' inaugural game. "We've worked so hard to get to this point. We didn't want to leave here without a win tonight. Hopefully, success will breed success."


It's probably fitting that on Washington's night of firsts that the Patriots scored on their first possession, keyed by a 21-yard punt return by Nick that gave Washington the ball at the Hedgesville 37.

Nick then carried the ball four straight times to the 25. On the fifth play, quarterback Logan Johnson made a nice play-action fake to Nick and rolled left to find Markee Smith, who made the catch and backed into the end zone for a 6-0 Washington lead which held until halftime.

Hedgesville (0-1) bottled up Nick and the rest of the Washington offense in the third quarter, holding the Pats to just 26 yards. Bryan Moler also pulled the Eagles even with a 71-yard punt return early in the third.

"We had some success running the ball right at them in the first half and they made some adjustments at halftime like any good coaching staff would," Washington coach Mark Hash said. "Their defense stepped up that period, but so did ours."

Following a Washington punt, Hedgesville began a drive from their own 19. An illegal block penalty moved the ball back to the 6, and two plays later, quarterback Zack Layhew was sacked in the end zone by John Spofford for a safety and an 8-6 Patriots lead.

Spofford wasn't finished either. With Washington still clinging to that 8-6 lead in the fourth quarter, Hedgesville gambled on a fourth-and-2 play from the Washington 40, handing the ball off to 275-pounder Mo Adams. Adams put his head down and was met squarely at the line of scrimmage and stopped by Spofford.

"Those are the signs of a good defense," Hash said. "They stepped up when they needed to. They deserved what they got here tonight. I'm so happy for the kids."

After Spofford stuffed the Eagles, Nick got loose again, carrying four times for 46 yards and moving the ball to the Hedgesville 8. Bradley Jackson finished the job with an 8-yard touchdown run.

The Eagles were done in by penalties. They had several long runs negated by flags, including a 48-yard TD run on the first play of the drive which eventually ended with Spofford's big tackle.

They also had two chances to score following Jackson's touchdown, but couldn't move the ball into Patriots territory.

"We beat them all over the field except on the scoreboard," said Hedgesville coach Paul Plott. "We kicked ourselves in the butt with the mistakes and penalties, but they didn't quit. They went right down to the last second trying to get down the field."

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