Pack rallies past Falcons

Published 10:57 pm Friday, October 21, 2011

Washington running back Keane Graham (3) runs with the ball during the Pam Pack’s 21-13 win over South Central on Friday at Washington High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

It’s been a long time since Washington has scored a touchdown, but the Pam Pack relocated the end zone just in time to pull off a 21-13 homecoming coming victory over Coastal Conference rival South Central on Friday night.
Leading into the game, the Pam Pack had been shutout for three consecutive contests, and after a scoreless first half, it appeared to be headed towards a fourth. However, after trailing 13-0 late in the third quarter, Washington was able to break its dry spell and score 21 unanswered points to pick up a much needed victory.
“Words can’t describe how happy I am,” Sawyer said. “I’m so proud of the guys for not giving up and staying in there. They made plays when we needed them, I’m proud of them. It was a good job by the coaches and players.”
Though it had a pretty ending, the game got off to an ugly start as both teams fumbled on their first possession. Washington (5-4, 3-3) and the Falcons (3-7, 1-5) would go on to fumble five times each, with both teams losing two of them.
After a scoreless first quarter, South Central was able to break the stalemate as C.J. Burney returned a punt to the Washington 4-yard line, which allowed quarterback Ethan Rogerson to score on a keeper on the very next play giving the Falcons a 7-0 lead at the 7:37 mark.
South Central would expand that lead late in the third quarter when it engineered 67-yard drive that ended with running back Trey McNeill dashing into the end zone from 7 yards out to put his team up 13-0.
Missing quarterback Jimmy Williams, along with eight other players due to injury, the Pam Pack struggled mightily on offense for the better part of three quarters.
Washington started out the game running a wing-T offense, then shifted back to its spread attack in search of something that would work. Washington also rotated quarterbacks as freshman Patrick Thompson, the younger brother of former Pack QB Austin Thompson, took turns behind center with D.J. Bell.
After two quarters of play, the Pam Pack tallied a mere 18 yards on 19 rushing attempts and had zero passing yards.
That all changed in the third as a few key passing plays energized the team, helping it capture the momentum.
“We came out very conservative in the first half because of field possession and inexperience,” Sawyer said. “Then when we opened it up it changed things a lot.”
After McNeill’s 7-yard score, Washington answered with a 56-yard drive highlighted by Bell’s 23-yard pass to Jack Rodman that brought the team to the Falcons’ 31-yard line. Three plays later Thompson connected with Rodman over the middle for a 10-yard score with :09 left in the third to break the Pack’s scoreless quarters streak at14.
“That was like a huge monkey off our back,” Sawyer said. “Getting some points got that off our back.”
As the Washington defense continued to suppress the South Central offense, the Pack attack began percolating. A few big runs by Keane Graham were the foundation of a 60-yard drive that ended when Thompson found Rodman along the left side of the end zone for a 14-yard score and a 14-13 lead with 4:31 to play in the game.
Overall, Washington connected on 5-7 pass attempts for 57 yards and two touchdowns, both thrown by Thompson.
“As a freshman he was a little nervous starting off, but he stuck with it,” Sawyer said.
The Pam Pack gave itself some breathing room as the defense came up with a huge stand as it forced and recovered a fumble at the Washington 49-yard line on the Falcons’ ensuing possession.
The Washington defense had a strong night as it held South Central to 114 rushing yards and only 49 passing.
Just a first down or two away from sealing the game, Washington looked like it was going to half to punt it back to the Falcons when it faced a 3rd-and-long situation at their own 47-yard line, but Graham danced up the gut of the defense and then burst by it for a 53-yard score with 1:48 left in the quarter.
Washington would clinch the game when linebacker Quashon on Davis intercepted a Rogerson pass on the Falcons’ final possession.

South Central    0    7    6    0    —    13
Washington    0    0    7    14    —    21

SC — Ethan Rogerson 4 run (kick good), 7:37, 2st.
SC — Trey McNeill 7 run (kick failed), 2:11 3rd.
W — Jack Rodman 18 pass from Patrick Thompson (kick good), :09, 3rd.
W — Rodman 14 pass from Thompson (kick good), 4:31, 4th.
W — Keane Graham 53 run (kick good), 1:58, 4th.