Washington falls just short

Published 7:19 am Saturday, October 20, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
The Washington Pam Pack came within about a foot of snapping a 37-year winless drought against New Bern.
Unfortunately for Washington and its 15 seniors on Senior Night, Justin Meekins’ potential game-winning 47-yard field goal with 47 seconds remaining was off the mark, giving the New Bern Bears a 14-13 victory on a breezy Friday evening at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium.
It would have been sweet redemption for Meekins, who missed a game-tying extra point late in the first half.
A win by the Pack (6-3, 3-2) would have forced a three-way tie with New Bern (7-4, 5-0) and J.H. Rose for first place in the Coastal Conference standings, but the loss leaves Washington in third place. However, the Pack is in first among the Class 3-A teams.
Washington controls its own destiny. If the Pack can beat Havelock next week and West Carteret on Nov. 2, both road games, Washington will win the 3-A portion of the conference.
All of the game’s 27 points came in a wild second quarter. The Pack got the scoreboard first when quarterback Austin Thompson sprinted in from 21 yards out. Thompson (10-of-21 for 184 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) hit Jamont Jones for a 22-yard gain, while running back Travis Daniels ran for 47 yards on four carries to set up the score.
On an option, Thompson faked a pitch, tucked the ball under his arm and then had daylight to the end zone. Meekins tacked on the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
New Bern answered, scoring on a fourth-and-21 play. New Bern quarterback Brett Williams handed the ball to Rod Sawyer, who then fired a pass down the field to a wide open Dante Sellars for a 36-yard scoring strike. Williams (7-of-19 for 135 yards and an interception) hit Demarcus Howell (four catches for 71 yards) for 17 yards while also scrambling for gains of 18 and 14 yards to set up the score.
Miqguel Cruz nailed the PAT to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:02 to play in the half.
The Bears struck again about two minutes later. Williams hit Mike Price (two catches for 46 yards) on a 36-yard strike, then found Howell open for 11 yards to get deep into Pam Pack territory. Williams followed by scampering into the end zone from 11 yards out on an option and, with Cruz’s PAT, it was 14-7 with 56 seconds to play in the half.
That left Washington with just enough time to respond, covering 80 yards in 53 seconds. Like New Bern did earlier in the game, Washington went to its bag of tricks. At the New Bern 28, Daniels took the snap from center, handed the ball off to Thompson and the Pack signal-caller then lofted the ball into the end zone. Jones made a spectacular grab at the back of the end zone by leaping over a New Bern defender and coming down with the ball.
Jones, who finished the night with eight catches for 128 yards and the score, hauled in a 15-yard reception and Daniels broke off a 25-yard run earlier in the drive.
Meekins missed the PAT, leaving New Bern with a 14-13 lead.
Both defenses stood tall in the second half. Washington threatened twice in the third quarter, but Thompson was picked off both times. The first came after Washington got as close as the New Bern 15 and the second came in the end zone after the Pack had moved to the Bear 20.
After another defensive stand by Washington, the Pack took over at its 26 with 2:44 to play. Daniels, who finished with 119 yards on 26 carries, broke of runs of 11 and seven yards to get the ball near midfield.
Jones made a nifty 29-yard grab and followed that up with an acrobatic 16-yard reception to get Washington to the New Bern 26. After a four-yard loss by Daniels and a pair of incompletions, Meekins went in to try the long field goal. The junior just missed.
Washington’s 15 seniors football players — Jamont Jones, Travis Daniels, James Corey, C.J. Jefferson, Ekias Trimble, Roray Razor, Austin Evans, Ron’Dayle Floyd, Cody Cunningham, D.J. McKinney, Steve Kendall, Jeremy Holland, Anthony Clark, Derek Chapman and Steven Whitfield — played their final regular-season home game.
The Pam Pack’s eight senior cheerleaders — co-captain Sara Tate, co-captain, Allison Barnes, Lauren Allen, Alicia Alton, Amanda Benston, Maegan Doss, Lauren Patrick and April Woolard — were also honored during the game.
The Pack will be on the road for the final two regular-season games, including next Friday’s contest at Havelock. Washington wraps up the regular season Nov. 2 at West Carteret.
After two tough losses, Jones said the Pack will be ready to play.
New Bern Washington
15 First Downs 19
39-167 Rushes-Yards 38-152
171 Passing Yards 184
20-8-1 Pass-Comp-Int 21-10-2
5-30.0 Punting 5-42.0
2-0 Fumbles-Lost 3-0
13-118 Penalties 7-45
New Bern 0 14 0 0 — 14
Washington 0 13 0 0 — 13
Scoring Summary
W — Austin Thompson 21 run (Justin Meekins kick), 2nd, 7:34
NB — Dante Sellars 36 pass from Rod Sawyer (Miqguel Cruz kick), 2nd, 3:02
NB — Brett Williams 11 run (Cruz kick), 2nd, 0:56
W — Jamont Jones 28 pass from Thompson (kick failed), 2nd, 0:03