Special deliveryPublished 11:57pm Friday, November 15, 2013
Special teams taketh and special teams giveth away, but in the end there was more take than give as Washington was able to top North Pitt 24-14 in the first round of the NCHSAA 2-AA playoffs on Friday.
The Pam Pack special teams wreaked havoc on the Panthers punting unit in the second quarter, blocking two punts and forcing a bad snap to help bank up a 21-point lead as the end of the first half drew near.
However, with 8.9 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Pam Pack special teams dropped its guard and allowed Brian Staton to return a kickoff 64 yards, restoring hope to the Panthers’ sideline.
The third-seeded Pack (9-2) would eventually prevail over No. 14 North Pitt (6-6), but it was no cakewalk into the second round.
“I’m excited about the win, but I’m not too excited about some of our play,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “We’re up 21-0 and we give up a special teams touchdown with eight seconds left in the half. You can’t do that. That gave them life.”
Touchdowns were hard to come by on Friday as both teams’ defenses held court for a majority of the game.
After a scoreless first quarter, Stevie Green was able to block the first punt of the night to give the Pam Pack possession of the ball at the Panthers’ 23-yard line.
Three players later Washington faced 4th-and-six at the 19, when Sawyer put Green in for Brodie West at quarterback and Green delivered a 19-yard strike to Javon Whitney to take a 6-0 lead with 9:18 left in the half.
Seven minutes later, Karim Topping blocked the second punt of the game and recovered it at the 44-yard line. This time there would be no need for trickery, as running back Markel Spencer ripped off a 44-yard run on the next play to take a 14-0 lead after Green scored the two-point conversion.
Washington’s lead would balloon to 21-0 minutes later thanks to another botched punt attempt by the Panthers. This time it was a high snap that sailed over the punter’s head, giving the Pack the ball at the 17-yard line to set up a Green 17-yard TD run.
The crowd roared as Washington appeared on its way to a laugher, but somebody forget to tell the Panthers to quit. On the ensuing kickoff Staton raced 64 yards to the end zone to recapture momentum at the break.
The Panthers would score again in late the third quarter to cut the lead to 21-14.
Unable to sustain any drives in the second half, Washington turned to placekicker Christian Crompton for points and he delivered. The senior booted a 25-yard field goal on his first attempt of the year to go up 24-14 with six minutes left in the game.
From there, the Pack defense closed the door on the Panthers as Wilfredo Marrero picked off a pass with three minutes to go to cement the victory.
North Johnston 0 21 0 3 — 24
Washington 0 7 7 0 — 14
First downs 5 8
Rushes-yards 36-112 43-176
Comp-att-int 3-6-1 4-6
Passing yards 26 41
Fumbles-lost 4-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-20 4-25
Punts 4-27 4-29
W — Javon Whitney 18 pass from Stevie Green (Christian Crompton kick failed), 9:18, 2nd.
W — Markel Spencer 44 run (Green two points), 1:37, 2nd.
W — Green 17 run (Crompton kick), 8.9, 2nd.
N — Brian Staton 64 kick return (kick), 0:00.
N — Davion Council 11 run (kick), 2:09, 3rd.
W — Crompton 25-yard field goal, 5:39, 4th.