It was a disappointing way to end a tough football season for Washington.
Playing in the opening round of Class 5 District 4 last Friday in Sedalia, fourth-seeded Smith-Cotton used a steady rushing attack and a stingy defense to knock off Washington, 36-7.
The Tigers (4-6) visit top-seeded Camdenton (8-1) in the district semifinals Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Playing on a grass field for the first time this season, Washington (2-8) never got anything going consistently on either side of the ball.
“We had some things going in the first half. We just made too many mistakes,” said Washington Head Coach Zach Schneider. “It’s a rough way to go out. I hate that for these kids. I’m going to miss the seniors dearly.”
Smith-Cotton scored nine points in the final 21 seconds of the first half.
A 30-yard field goal by Chance McMullin gave the Tigers a 10-7 lead with 21 seconds left in the second quarter.
Washington then got the ball back after recovering an onside kick.
After the Blue Jays ran a couple of plays, time appeared to run out in the first half, but Washington called a timeout with two seconds left.
Half of Smith-Cotton’s team was off the field and toward the locker room, but was called back for the final play.
Washington then attempted a hook-and-ladder, which was broken up and recovered by McMullin, who raced 45 yards for a touchdown to make the score 16-7 at intermission.
“He made a heck of a play. Then he picked it up and did something with it,” Schneider said of McMullin. “They have some good football players. Coach (Mark) Johnson does a heck of a job. He’s a guy I look up to. He’s done it for a long time. He had his kids ready to go.”
The final play of the first half turned out to be a momentum killer for the Blue Jays.
“I’m an aggressive guy. I want to score every play. At some point, you can’t do that,” Schneider said. “We had two situations where we gave them 14 points in the first half. That’s all on me.”
Washington accumulated 220 yards, 164 rushing and 56 passing.
Playing in his final game of his WHS career, Kyle Summers carried the ball 23 times for 130 yards and scored the team’s lone touchdown.
Quarterback Isaac Lippert was 7-13 passing for 56 yards and an interception.
Austin Finder collected three receptions for 36 yards. Seth Bollmann added two catches for 16 yards. Calvin Blaylock and Summers both had one catch for two yards.
Defensively, Michael Wadlow paced the Blue Jays with eight tackles.
Nick Cunningham, Alex Schull and Summers each had seven tackles.
The Blue Jays led 7-0 after one quarter, but were outscored 36-0 for the remainder of the contest.
Washington got on the scoreboard first when Summers ran 15 yards for a touchdown to make the score 7-0 with 32 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Smith-Cotton tied the game with 5:42 left in the second quarter on a two-yard touchdown run on fourth down by Dakota Brown, who barely crossed the goal line for a score.
Leading 16-7, the Tigers put the game away in the third quarter and early into the fourth, outscoring the Blue Jays 20-0 in a span covering 12:05.
Quarterback Caleb Reed tossed a 44-yard touchdown pass to McMullin and Jacob Weeks ran nine yards for a score to increase the lead to 30-7 after three quarters.
Just five seconds into the fourth quarter, Brown ran 10 yards for a score to make the score 36-7.
McMullin and Brown both scored two touchdowns for Smith-Cotton.
“We just made too many mistakes. It’s kind of been the theme of the year,” Schneider said. “We didn’t take care of the ball and we didn’t do a good job tackling. That goes back to us as coaches.”
Seniors, Looking Ahead
Schneider gave credit to his senior class for leading the team this season.
“Kyle (Summers) is going to be a big one to let go. He’s a four-year varsity letterman and a four-year varsity starter,” Schneider said. “Just the whole class, you can go right down the list. Austin Subke and Nathan Kopp played several years on the offensive and defensive lines. Alex Schull, DJ Quaethem, I can go on and on. They’ve all done a lot of good things for us and will be truly missed. I hate that they went out on a year like this.”
Schneider is encouraged by what the future holds.
“We’ve got some talented guys coming back. Austin Finder is a tremendous player. He’s a kid who didn’t play last year, but came back this year. He’s got a bright future, as does Seth Bollmann,” Schneider said. “We’ve got to get better with the basic stuff. We’ve got to have variety in our offense. We were kind of a one-dimensional team this year and that killed us. We’ve got to look at a lot of things offensively and defensively.
“We’ll see how much work the kids put in during the offseason and see where we want to be. Do we want to be in this position again or be somewhere different? There’s a lot of work ahead of us and we’ll get started on it very soon.”
W-Kyle Summers 15 run (Aaron Meyer kick), :32
S-Dakota Brown 2 run (Chance McMullin kick), 5:42
S-McMullin 30 FG, :21
S-McMullin 45 fumble return (kick failed), :00
S-McMullin 44 pass from Caleb Reed (McMullin kick), 8:31
S-Jacob Weeks 9 run (McMullin kick), 4:00
S-Brown 10 run (kick failed), 11:55