Washington County football (0-5) opened district play at home against Christian Academy-Louisville (3-2) on Friday night, and the Centurion defense stepped up in a big way, picking off four passes in a 27-3 drubbing of the Commanders.
WC accumulated 91 yards rushing and completed 11-of-27 passes for 109 yards en route to the loss, while allowing 155 yards on the ground and 70 yards on 7-of-17 passing.
The Washington County defense held its own, allowing CAL just one scoring drive of more than 30 yards on the game and keeping the Centurions off the board until midway through the second quarter.
“I thought we played our best game defensively by far, against a good team,” said Washington County Head Coach Eric Sagrecy. “The kids played aggressive and got to the football and stuck to their assignments for the first time all year, so it was definitely pleasing to see that.”
After the teams traded punts to start the game, WC marched downfield for a 14-play, 56-yard drive that resulted in a 31-yard field goal by David Patton to give the Commanders the lead with 18 seconds left in the first quarter. The big play of the drive was a 30-yard completion from junior quarterback Morgan Churchill to junior wide receiver Tylyn Byas that set up the field goal try.
CAL responded in the second quarter with a drive that included a successful fourth-down conversion on their way to a 12-yard touchdown run by David Schmidt. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 6-3 in favor of the Centurions.
Two consecutive WC drives then resulted in interceptions, turning the game firmly in CAL’s favor. They converted a short field into a 16-yard touchdown run by Austin Chelf following the first interception, and Colton Talley returned the second pick 60 yards for a Centurion score, pushing the score to 20-3 at the half.
Washington County continued to make it tough for the CAL offense to put points on the board, stuffing them on fourth-and-three at the Commander eight-yard-line, halting a drive that included a 23-yard completion on a previous fourth-down attempt.
The Commanders appeared to break through for a big play on the ensuing possession, when senior Alex Marshall spun free from a would-be tackler and tight-roped the sideline for a 60-yard gain, but the play was wiped out on a controversial WC penalty.
“I saw what the referee threw his flag on and knew it was wrong and I told him that. Looking at the film it was fairly obvious it was a poor call, but that’s part of the game.” Sacrecy said. “(The officials) make mistakes too, but we can’t turn the ball over so that those mistakes aren’t as magnified.”
Washington County came up with another big stop early in the fourth quarter despite CAL’s Nick Payne breaking off a 53-yard run to the WC 15-yard-line. The defense held again and the Centurions’ field goal attempt was wide.
The following Washington County possession was cut short on the third interception of the day, with CAL unable to convert the turnover into points.
In a late attempt to make one last run, Talley picked off a Churchill pass and returned it 50 yards for his second defensive touchdown of the game with 1:31 on the clock, accounting for the final margin.
Sagrecy discounted the final turnover as a desperation play with time running out, but said his team still needs to take better care of the ball going forward.
“I’ve got to make sure to keep guys in position to keep their confidence up, because sometimes one turnover can turn into two,” he said. “We didn’t fumble the ball like we did against Marion (County) and that was a focus in practice, but we just have to make better decisions.”
Up next for the Commanders is their first district road game at DeSales (3-2) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.