By Mike Myers
WASHINGTON — Despite a 42-20 loss on a rainy homecoming night at Hatchet Hollow on Friday, Washington coach Kelly Brashear found a silver lining in the Hatchets’ performance.
“I saw some improvement tonight in a lot of areas. People sitting here in the stands may not have heard nor seen the improvement, but there were little wrinkles of improvement tonight that I saw as a coach,” said Brashear.
The score was more lopsided than what it appeared it might be just before halftime. Washington (0-5, 0-3) tied the score at 20-20 just 2:05 before halftime when Jade Arvin capped a 15-play, 86-yard drive that took 9:00 off the clock with a 14-yard touchdown run. It was the second touchdown run for Arvin, who topped the 100-yard mark with 147 yards on 14 carries.
But Mt. Vernon struck back before halftime, getting a seven-yard run from Austin Guthrie to finish off a five-play, 66-yard drive in just 1:20. Guthrie, who finished with 220 yards on 25 carries and four touchdowns, also ran in for the 2-point conversion to give the Wildcats a 28-20 lead heading into halftime.
The game quickly turned to Mt. Vernon’s favor in the second half. Guthrie again scored on a two-yard run on the opening possession of the half, finishing off a 12-play, 65-yard drive that ran nearly 6:00 of the clock. The Wildcats then recovered a Hatchet fumble on the ensuing kickoff, one of four WHS fumbles for the game. This time it was Mt. Vernon quarterback Riley Snodgrass who did the honors on a five-yard run five plays later to give his team a commanding 42-20 lead.
Mt. Vernon scored first on a four-yard run by Guthrie after the Wildcats recovered a Hatchet fumble on Washington’s second play from scrimmage. But the Hatchets roared back, as a 92-yard kickoff return from Jake Brashear set up a three-yard run by Edrwin Revolorio. Revolorio finished with 63 yards on 14 carries, while Brashear would add a 32-yard kickoff return later in the first half.
Washington’s Cameron Meade recovered a Mt. Vernon fumble at the WHS 46 on the Wildcats’ next possession. Three plays later the Hatchets took the lead when Arvin raced 48-yards for a touchdown. Brashear’s pass to Austin Moody for two points gave WHS a 14-6 lead midway through the first quarter.
But that lead was shortlived as Mt. Vernon’s Kaleb Grabert took the kickoff and scampered 72 yards for a touchdown. A Snodgrass pass to Kris McKinney tied the score at 14-14 with 6:10 left in the first quarter. Guthrie added a 43-yard run late in the first quarter for a 20-14 Wildcat lead.
Brashear felt his team was its own worst enemy, including the four fumbles and 35 yards on five penalties.
“We killed ourselves with penalties, turnovers, just shooting ourselves in the foot. We drive all the way down and fumble, we get a big penalty and back us up,” said Brashear. “Those little things continue to plaque us week in and week out.”
Several Hatchets had solid nights. Senior Dillon Brower got the start at defensive back and was a “pleasant surprise” according to Brashear before suffering a shoulder injury in the second half. The extent of Brower’s injury was unknown following the game. Sophomores Tyler Guy and Jansen Shake started at the split end slots for WHS and helped free up the Hatchet ground attack with their blocking.
And Brashear was happy with the performance his quarterback and kick returner.
“Jake kind of broke out tonight. He had a couple of big kickoff returns, he had a couple of nice runs, and he did a good job running the offense tonight,” said Brashear.
In addition, a pair of freshman starters - Max Lancaster and Moody - continue to excel for Brashear. Lancaster came up with a big hit on fourth down that stopped a Mt. Vernon drive deep in Hatchet territory in the first half.
“To throw in Max and Austin Moody as full time starters … I can remember being a freshman and just being scared to death, so I can empathize with them,” said Brashear. “I told both of them they don’t have time to be true freshman this year, they’re going to be thrown right into the fire.”
Washington will host Mt. Carmel on Friday.