Patriots keep to ground in stopping Jefferson

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — When Washington lost two-year starting quarterback Tyler Wilt before the season opened, it had its options limited. It searched through four quarterbacks and never found a reliable passing game.

Other options? Keep it on the ground. If possible, run all night. And then run some more the next week.

The Patriot record was only 2-7 as it completed its season on Friday at county rival Jefferson High. The Cougars had a 1-8 record to meet the Patriots.

JHS’s Cornell Holt (77) stops a Washington ball carrier. However, Washington’s ground game proved to be too much.

Washington ran all night. And they ran successfully. Time after time. Series after series. Touchdown after touchdown.After six ground-covering touchdowns, Washington had beaten the Cougars, 42-14.

It had been the legs of Colin Gustines and Dante Washington for the most part. Gustines lugged it 28 times for 231 yards and Washington had 24 carries for 191 yards … as the Patriots gouged out 457 ground yards.

Gustines had scoring runs of two yards, 23 yards, and 16 yards. Washington had touchdown runs of nine and 11 yards. And Tony Vazquez also ran 36 yards for Washington’s final score.

Jefferson hung close when some of its many passes were completed to Darrod Doleman (for a 16-yard touchdown) and Rynal Newman (for an 82-yard pass-run score). But Andrew King finished the game with seven completions in his 35 pass attempts. And the Cougars couldn’t score in the second half.

Doleman had been injured on his touchdown catch and didn’t return, giving the Cougars one fewer available and reliable target.

Washington simply owned the second half. The clock was controlled. The fumbles that plagued the Patriots in the first half were gone. And by successfully running against the one-win Cougars meant Washington could claim a “physical win” to end its season with a 3-7 overall record.

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