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Pack holds off Panthers

Washington TE/WR Jack Rodman in action during the Pam Pack’s 28-20 win over North Pitt on Friday at Washington High School. (WDN Photo/Ashley Vansant)

A hot start saved the Washington football team from a cold finish as the Pam Pack rode the back of its highlight-filled first quarter to preserve a 28-20 victory over North Pitt in both team’s season opener on Friday.
“We started off pretty good,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “Then we just committed a lot of penalties and mistakes and we just kind of faltered. We put ourselves in a hole today but we found a way to win.”
The Pam Pack jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter but slowed down as penalties sapped Washington of its momentum. Overall, the team drew 14 flags for 124 penalty yards.
Also hindering Washington was the second half absence of quarterback Jimmy Williams who suffered what was initially thought to be a groin injury in the first half.
Williams and the Pack offense began the 2012 season with a bang as the Pam Pack raced 67 yards up field on its first possession and took a 7-0 lead when Williams crossed the goal line from two yards out for th team’s first TD of the year.
The Pack’s first drive was everything that Sawyer dreamed of when he envisioned this year’s offense as Williams ran and threw for big chunks of yards.
Washington’s new-look 4-4 defense was just as dominant early on as senior linebacker Jack Rodman stripped North Pitt QB Chris Perry on the ensuing possession and 6-foot, 200-pound junior LB Tarahje Burke scooped up the ball and dashed 85 yards for the Pack’s second touchdown of the game.
Washington would take a 14-0 lead into the second quarter and expand it 21-0 when Williams rolled to his left and threw a 36-yard strike to Stephon Moore who hauled in the pass over a defender in the end zone with 11:05 left to go in the second.
The Pam Pack appeared to have complete control of the game but the Panthers regained momentum when running back Anthony Harris ran up the gut of the Washington defense for a 63-yard TD run that cut the Pack’s lead to 21-7 as halftime approached.
The third quarter was a sloppy one for both teams as North Pitt dominated time of possession but did nothing to change the scoreboard as the scored remained 21-7 going into the final quarter.
The Panthers continued to gain ground on Washington via big running plays as Brian Stanton exploded for a 78-yard run down the left side of the field as he shook off two defenders to trim the deficit to 21-14 with 9:13 remaining on the clock.
Needing a big play of its own, the Pam Pack turned to sophomore phenom Markel Spencer and he delivered. The speedy running back dashed 76 yards through the gut of the North Pitt defense to extend the Pack’s cushion to 28-14.
Washington did not have long to celebrate as the Panthers Cedric Razor took the ensuing kickoff and raced 81 yards to glory to once again put a scare into the Pack. However, the Washington defense stood strong and clamped down to preserve the team’s victory.

North Pitt 0 7 0 13 — 20
Washington 14 7 0 7 — 28

NP WHS
First downs 7 9
Rushes-yards 29-235 26-201
Comp-att-int 6-14-0 8-9-0
Passing yards 44 115
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-1
Penalties-yards 5-30 14-124
Punts 1-41 4-38

Scoring summary
W — Jimmy Williams 2 run (Will Cutler kick), 9:50, 1st.
W — Tarahje Burke 85 fumble recovery (Cutler kick), 5:04, 1st.
W — Stephon Moore 36 pass from Jimmy Williams (Cutler kick), 11:05, 2nd.
NP — Anthony Harris 63 run (Dijon Sharpe kick) 10:04, 2nd.
NP — Brian Stanton 78 run (Sharpe kick), 9:13, 4th.
W — Markel Spencer 76 run (Cutler kick), 8:19, 4th.
NP — Cedric Razor 81 kick return, (kick failed), 8:05, 4th.