While most of the talk from Washington’s football game against Vianney centered around the performance of Markel Smith, lost in the shuffle was the fact that the Blue Jays gave the favored Griffins all they could handle.
In the end, Vianney escaped Washington with a 48-41 victory.
“We played very well. It definitely was one of our better performances. The kids were prepared and played hard,” said Washington Head Coach Zach Schneider. “We had a lot of opportunities to pick up the win and we put ourselves in position to do that. They just made a few more plays than we did. We competed for four quarters. It was a fight.”
Vianney Head Coach Paul Day, who formerly coached at Owensville and Ft. Zumwalt West, praised the Blue Jays.
“All the compliments go out to Washington and their coaching staff. Their kids played their hearts out,” Day said. “Their coaching staff did a tremendous job getting their team prepared to play.”
Smith, the Griffins’ senior running back, set a new state record with 541 yards rushing. He carried the ball 42 times and scored all seven of his team’s touchdowns. He’s rushed for 1,531 yards on the season.
“It’s always good to have a big game. Hat’s off to my team. I appreciate them. The O-line picked me up, held their blocks and I executed when I needed to,” Smith said. “I want to tip my hat to Washington. It was a great game. I love games like this.”
Smith, 5-10 and 215 pounds, gave a verbal commitment to Mizzou last year, but has since de-committed and has yet to decide what college he will attend.
“He had a great night, there’s no question. He made all the big plays. He was dynamite,” Day said.
“We went through the same four-year cycle playing against Montee Ball (now with the Denver Broncos) and I think Markel is head and shoulders above Montee and this point (high school senior),” Schneider said. “Timberland had a little more balance than Vianney does. Everyone focuses on Markel and he still gets it done against a tough schedule. He rushed for 130 yards against a CBC team with four Division I players on defense.
“We did a lot of good things defensively. We tackled better than we have in the last couple of weeks, even tough we gave up that yardage. We stopped him in the backfield a few times. We just don’t have the kids who can run with him.”
Not to be overlooked was Washington running back Kyle Summers, who carried the ball 19 times for 220 yards and one touchdown. He had two long runs on fake punts. He’s rushed for 1,315 yards on the season.
“He’s a great player,” Day said of Summers. “I don’t know what he had from scrimmage. We did a good job from scrimmage. Where he got the big plays were the two fake punts, and he had one big run.”
Also the punter, Summers has the freedom to run when he sees an opening.
“We have a rule where if Kyle sees the back of heads on punts, he can go,” Schneider said. “He made tremendous reads on those plays. He’s a smart football player.”
It was another big night for receiver Seth Bollmann, who scored three touchdowns, two receiving on 85- and 11-yard plays, and another on a 90-yard punt return.
“Seth had a tremendous game. He’s fast and elusive. He rarely gets hit hard and runs for a lot of yards after contact,” Schneider said. “We have to find ways to get him and Austin (Finder) the ball more often.”
Quarterback Isaac Lippert was 10-21 passing for 140 yards with three touchdowns and one interceptions.
Bollmann had two touchdown receptions and Caleb Curran added a five-yard scoring catch.
The Blue Jays (2-4) were led defensively by Alex Schull, who registered 11 tackles. Nick Cunningham added 10 tackles and recovered a fumble. Teddy Harrison also recovered a fumble.
Vianney (4-2) lost the ball four times inside the Washington 15-yard line, three on fumbles and one on a loss of downs.
Both teams scored on their first play from scrimmage.
Washington struck first when Lippert tossed a quick screen pass to his left to Austin Finder, who then fired a long pass downfield to a wide-open Michael Wadlow that went for a 67-yard touchdown to make the score 7-0 just 17 seconds into the game.
The Griffins came right back and scored on their first play on a 65-yard touchdown run by Smith, which tied the game 7-7 just 33 seconds into the contest.
Five of the six touchdowns in the first half went for 46 yards or more.
Both of Bollmann’s touchdown receptions (85 and 11 yards) were in the first half.
Smith had touchdown runs of 65, 75, 46 and four yards in the first half.
Vianney led Washington at halftime, 26-21.
The Blue Jays grabbed a 27-26 lead in the third quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by Summers.
Another 65-yard touchdown run by Smith pulled the visitors ahead, 34-27.
Washington tied the game on a pass from Lippert to Curran.
Smith then answered with touchdown runs of 31 and 21 yards. Vianney led 48-34 with 2:03 left.
Bollmann returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score to make the score 48-41 with 1:49 remaining.
The Blue Jays then attempted an onside quick, which was recovered by Vianney.
Zumwalt North Preview
Washington, 0-2 in the GAC Central, returns to conference action Friday against Ft. Zumwalt North, its final home game of the regular season.
The Panthers (5-1, 2-1) rebounded from a loss two weeks ago to Ft. Zumwalt East with a 42-13 win last week over Holt.
They also own victories over St. Charles West, Mehlville, Troy and Ft. Zumwalt South.
Brenden Pierce is a dual-threat quarterback and the Panthers are deep at the running back and receiver positions.
“They’re very good offensively, a lot better than they’ve been in the last couple of seasons. Their quarterback can throw and they have good receivers. They also have a stingy defense,” Schneider said. “We have to keep their offense off the field and stop their running game when they have the ball. If we can build from the Vianney game and continue to compete, I like our chances. This is one we can get. We need to put four good quarters together.”
W-Michael Wadlow 67 pass from Austin Finder (Aaron Meyer kick), 11:43
V-Markel Smith 65 run (Kevin Reilly kick), 11:27
W-Seth Bollmann 85 pass from Isaac Lippert (Meyer kick), 4:48
V-Smith 75 run (Reilly kick), 4:26
V-Smith 46 run (kick failed), 11:09
V-Smith 4 run (pass failed), 6:59
W-Bollmann 11 pass from Lippert (Meyer kick), 2:32
W-Kyle Summers 1 run (run failed), 5:04
V-Smith 65 run (Smith run), 4:50
W-Caleb Curran 5 pass from Lippert (Meyer kick), 8:48
V-Smith 31 run (Reilly kick), 5:43
V-Smith 21 run (Reilly kick), 2:03
W-Bollmann 90 kickoff return (Meyer kick), 1:49