HEDGESVILLE — Back in the day. Back to the day.
As a middle school football player at Charles Town, Colin Gustines played quarterback. Beginning with his freshman season two years ago at Washington High, he has been a starting defensive back.
This year, Gustines might just find himself doing multiple tasks on both sides of the football that can help the Patriots find wins.
Last Thursday in Hedgesville, Gustines and Washington were nearing a crisis situation. The Patriots trailed by a touchdown. They hadn’t scored and had already lost two pass interceptions and a fumble with the three quarterbacks that had been employed.
Then with the fourth quarter clock at six minutes, Gustines recovered a fumble inside the Hedgesville five.
Gustines moved to quarterback for the first time. He immediately scored on a run from shotgun formation. Just minutes later, Gustines batted away a fourth-down Hedgesville pass and Washington had possession at the Eagle 29.
On his second ground-gaining run of the “drive”, Gustines ran in from the 19 . . . and the one-time eighth-grade quarterback had tallied two touchdowns in a matter of minutes as Washington’s late-game comeback gave it a 14-6 win over the stunned Eagles.
Both teams had nothing but inexperience at quarterback. And the offensive struggles of both sides followed thoroughout.
The Eagles scored first when Lane Riner found Austin Graham. That was in the first quarter. And the same score was there under the Mumaw Field lights with just about six minutes remaining in the last quarter.
But Gustines recovered a fumble. He scored on a short run. He broke up a fourth down pass. And he ran a combined 34 yards in two plays to score a second time.
In three minutes, Washington had dissolved everything it had taken Hedgesville 42 minutes to build and then hold.
Both teams lost three turnovers. Both teams were repeatedly penalized.
But only Washington will be unbeaten when it faces Strasburg (Va.) this Friday at home at Marcus Stadium.
The Patriots and their musical chair rotation of quarterbacks had found one who could help them to count enough points to win their opener.