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With 2 prospects in backfield, Washington has look of contender

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 6:36 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Washington running back Shai McKenzie. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Washington running back Jaylin Kelly. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Washington has a running attack that most Division I universities would be glad to have.

Shai McKenzie and Jaylin Kelly are being recruited by a number of major programs, including Pitt and West Virginia.

“At 6-foot-1, 226 pounds, Jaylin is a big physical kid,” Washington coach Mike Bosnic said. “He's gotten a lot of offers, and he'll get a lot more before the end of the season. Shai (McKenzie) is only a junior, but he continues to get some nice Division I offers. He's already becoming a big-time BCS recruit.”

While the visor and clipboard clad crowd of Division I scouts continue to salivate over what could be, the Prexies intend to make good on the present.

“Every year is a different year, we always try to fit our system into what type of personnel we have,” Bosnic said. “We have two great running backs, and we have every intention of running a two-back system that will take advantage of having Shai and Jaylin in the backfield.”

Like most small schools, depth is a big concern. Washington lost 14 players to graduation after the 2011 campaign, including Eric Ellis who had a school record 18 sacks.

“The strength of our offensive and defensive line play is really going to be a big factor, and that's one place depth is really going to matter,” Bosnic said. “If we can stay healthy, we have an opportunity to make a nice run.”

Opposing defenses will certainly have their hands full defending the run, as the Prexies try to improve on an 8-3 season that ended in a quarterfinal playoff loss to WPIAL champion Aliquippa.

“We feel like we can compete with anybody in Class AA,” Bosnic said. “We won a playoff game last year, and then we ran into Aliquippa, and we weren't quite ready for that. This year, we are a different, more mature team.”

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