Patriots’ win could lead to playoff berth

CHARLES TOWN — For the third straight week, Washington showed an opponent a rock-ribbed defense and the effective ground yardage of Colin Gustines.

After pummeling Skyline (Va.) in a shutout win and then holding then-unbeaten Frankfort to just six points, the Patriots limited Musselman to just a lone TD in trimming the Applemen on Friday, 21-7.

In the span of three weeks, the Patriots have moved quickly ahead from a losing record to a 5-3 overall mark that has them in contention for a Class AAA playoff berth.

After the teams were even at 7-7 when the first half ended, it was Washington and Gustines scoring the second half’s two touchdowns. And two more Washington touchdowns were enough with the way the Patriot defense was holding Musselman.

Gustines’s first score and one by Musselman’s Steven Brown, who grabbed a 17-yard TD pass from Camden Shade, had the game tied 7-7 at intermission.

In the second half, Gustines lit out on a 53-yard run to the Musselman six. He scored on the next play. And the Patriots had a hard-earned 14-7 lead to protect.

Musselman could never score again.

Gustines and Washington did score again, taking a two-touchdown lead that was never threatened by the then-silenced Applemen.

Washington’s third TD came when Gustines gouged out eight yards. And then on the next play he went 60 yards on a third scoring jaunt.

Other than the nine penalties it suffered through and a intercepted pass in the second quarter, Washington gave away little to the Applemen.

Musselman had only 38 passing yards and only 142 rushing yards.

Washington so dominated the second half that its offensive numbers surged to 440 yards of total offense. Most of its 87 passing yards came from the five Matt Harris-to-Kendell Smith completions that totaled 47 yards. Most of its 349 rushing yards were delivered by Gustines, whose 34 carries netted him 326 yards.

The Patriots take their 5-3 record to Hampshire on Friday. The Trojans are also striving for a Class AAA playoff berth and have a 6-2 overall record with games remaining against the Patriots and once-beaten Frankfort.

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