Washington’s season ends in 41-21 loss at South Granville
Published 12:32 am Saturday, November 11, 2017
CREEDMOOR — After a statement win at West Craven in its regular-season finale to earn a trip to the 2-AA state playoffs, Washington’s season came to an end at South Granville. The third-seeded Vikings remained undefeated after dealing the No. 14 Pam Pack a 41-21 loss in the first round.
Washington had numerous scoring chances, especially in the third quarter. It had two trips to the red zone in the period, but came up with zero points.
“We killed ourselves a little bit between penalties and not converting in the red zone,” Washington coach Jon Blank said. “We had a lot of opportunities where this could have been a closer game early, and I think we come down to a closer fourth quarter if that’s the case.”
The end of the season came 361 days after Sport Sawyer resigned as Washington’s head football coach. The program has experienced its ups and downs, growing pains and learning experiences since. Returning to the playoffs was a goal, but only the first step forward.
“A year ago on a Monday, a lot of changes took place,” Blank said. “Since that moment, it’s been some good and some bad, some positive and some negative. I’m going to tell you what, those seniors that stuck with us — those 15 — they helped turn the course here.
“They helped reverse the trend of what’s been going on, and we’ll be forever grateful of how they battled every single Friday night out here.”
The Pam Pack defense, trailing 21-7, held South Granville after the Vikings received the second-half kickoff. The offense got the ball at its 37-yard line. Hykeem Ruffin carried Washington into striking distance by tearing through the Viking defense for 58 yards, but South Granville forced a fumble on fourth-and-goal at its own 4.
Washington got the ball back in the red zone when Tyshawn Roberson jumped on a fumble. South Granville again stood tall, though, by sending the Pam Pack attack back off the field after just four plays.
“Washington is really good. I know they didn’t have the best record, but they’re a really good team,” Vikings coach Mike Hobgood said. “They do that wedge blocking up front and they just dare you to stop it. They’re just really good offensively.”
South Granville quickly went the other direction. Quarterback Tucker Brown ended the third with a 27-yard run down to Washington’s 12, setting up Billy King to scoot in on the first play of the fourth. That pushed the Vikings’ advantage to 27-7.
Ka’ci Foreman and the Pam Pack didn’t take long to respond. The junior running back exploded for 72 yard on the second play of the ensuing drive before being chased down just shy of the goal line.
Michael Clark muscled his way in from two yards out after a series of flags thrown against the Vikings. That cut the deficit back down to 27-13 with 9:07 left to play.
A worn-down Washington defense conceded a quick 62-yard score to Allajah Mitchell. Frederick Holscher ran in the last touchdown of the season when he eluded a tackle and burst up the middle for a 35-yard score. Tyhagee Allen put the stamp on the game when he leapt into the end zone to put the Vikings ahead, 41-21, with less than two minutes to go.
Washington’s offense threatened on its first series. Foreman moved the ball well out of the gate, helping his side to reach South Granville’s 24, but it stalled out there.
The Vikings put together a 91-yard drive thanks to a 47-yard eruption by Mitchell. That set up King’s first score to give the hosts a 7-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first.
The combination of Ruffin and Foreman leveled the game shortly after. Ruffin refused to be taken down as he trudged through the middle for a 35-yard pickup that helped position Foreman for a 5-yard score.
Mitchell gashed Washington for a 50-yard touchdown on the next play, though, and the Vikings found pay dirt again in the second to take a two-score lead into the intermission.