Washington’s three GAC Central football games this season certainly have been entertaining.
Two of the games have been decided in the final minute, including the Blue Jays’ 14-10 victory last Friday at Ft. Zumwalt North.
“It was a back-and-forth game all night with a lot of punting and field position battles,” said Washington Head Coach Zach Schneider. “Both defenses played well. We were fortunate to break a couple of big plays. Our defense won the game for us. We needed them and they stepped up. Our defense doesn’t get the credit it deserves.”
Trailing 10-7, Washington quarterback Luke Hasenjaeger tossed a 54-yard touchdown pass to Randall Flotte with 54 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the game-winner.
The Blue Jays (4-3, 2-1) sealed the win on an interception by Michael Wadlow with 43 seconds left to play.
“We got the ball with about three minutes left to play, trailing 10-7. We started the drive by running the ball. We were close to breaking one all night,” Schneider said. “We kept plugging away until we faced a fourth and six at around midfield.”
On the fourth down play, Max Phinney caught a first down pass from Hasenjaeger.
“It was the play of the game,” Schneider said of Phinney’s reception. “Max made a great catch and got the first down by a couple of yards.”
Two plays later, Hasenjaeger and Flotte connected for the game-winning touchdown pass.
“Randall was in the backfield and beat an outside linebacker on a swing route,” Schneider said. “Any time we have Randall one-on-one with a linebacker, I’ll take that. Luke threw a good ball and Randall did the rest.”
Ft. Zumwalt East Preview
Washington plays a homecoming game Friday against Ft. Zumwalt East.
The Blue Jays can gain a share of the conference championship with a win and a Holt loss to Ft. Zumwalt South.
“South has a good team, so that could happen,” Schneider said. “We have to take care of our own business. We have our hands full with Ft. Zumwalt East.”
The Lions (5-2, 2-1) suffered their first conference loss Saturday to Holt, 35-13. They’ve also lost to Francis Howell, 14-0.
Wins have come against Howell Central 34-20, Howell North 42-20, Cape Central 21-7, Ft. Zumwalt North 38-26 and Ft. Zumwalt South, 48-30.
FZE runs a spread option offense, which revolves around sophomore quarterback Shane Barrett, who by far is the team’s leading rusher.
“The quarterback runs the ball a lot. They also have a running back who can break one at any time,” Schneider said. “They’ll take shots down field with the pass. They are big up front. We have to control their size.”
The Lions’ player to watch on defense is senior outside linebacker Mason Burnett, who is being recruited by Division I schools.
“Burnett is 6-4, 220 pounds and runs well. He was a step behind (Ft. Zumwalt South’s) Chase Abbington in the 100-meter dash last spring,” Schneider said. “They move him around. He’ll also play inside linebacker and also on the end to come off the edge. He’ll run the ball sometimes for them as well.”
Washington currently stands in third place in the Class 5 District 4 standings, less than two points behind second-place Camdenton. Lebanon tops the standings. The first two seeds receive a first-round bye district play.
“We have a lot to play for,” Schneider said. “We have a chance for a share of the conference and a chance to get that second seed, which would be huge to get a bye.”
Washington accumulated 317 total yards against Zumwalt North, 179 rushing and 138 passing.
Hasenjaeger was 16-25 passing for 138 yards and one touchdown.
Flotte scored both of the Blue Jays’ touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. He carried the ball 15 times for 134 yards and had four receptions for 79 yards.
Phinney rushed for 19 yards on four attempts and had two catches for nine yards.
Kyle Summers carried the ball five times for 12 yards. Brock Hopkins had four receptions for 34 yards.
Alex Monehan (16 yards) and Caleb Curran (eight yards) both had three catches. Curran also rushed for eight yards on five attempts. Ben Gratza had one catch for five yards.
Defensively, Jared Walde led Washington with 11 solo tackles and four assists.
Caleb Summers finished with seven tackles. Dilan Bollmann added five solos and three assists. Alex Schull had a sack. Wadlow had an interception.
The Panthers (3-4, 1-4) accumulated 226 yards, 157 rushing and 69 passing.
Quarterback Zach Hilliard was 8-15 passing for 69 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Deon Lewis carried the ball 14 times for 78 yards.
Washington grabbed a 7-0 lead on a 69-yard touchdown run by Flotte with 5:25 left in the second quarter.
The score remained 7-0 at halftime.
FZN tied the game with 10:53 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Hilliard to Justin Fitzpatrick.
The Panthers then took a 10-7 lead with 3:09 left to play on a 30-yard field goal by Jake Crowder.
Ft. Zumwalt North 0-0-0-10=10
W-Randall Flotte 69 run (Luke Hoemann kick), 5:25
F-Justin Fitzpatrick 14 pass from Zach Hilliard (Jake Crowder kick), 10:53
F-Jake Crowder 30 FG, 3:09
W-Flotte 54 pass from Luke Hasenjaeger (Hoemann kick), :58