Washington runs all over Yough
Friday night's game against Washington did not start out well for Yough.
On the opening kickoff, the Cougars were hit with a penalty for an illegal block and, instead of the 10-yard mark-off, the ball was moved back half the distance to the 14.
And it just got worse from there.
Washington's Shai McKenzie ran 19 times for 209 yards and three touchdowns as the Little Prexies rolled up 315 rushing yards in their 42-12, running-clock victory in an Interstate Conference matchup at Cougar Mountain.
“That (McKenzie) kid, he'll be playing on Sundays. He's a good player,” Yough coach Mark Crovak said. “I thought our kids were physical, but they beat us with athleticism.”
Both teams struggled after touchdowns: They combined to miss eight two-point conversions and the lone extra point try. Washington (4-0, 4-0), ranked the No. 5 team in Class AA by Trib Total Media, was called for one penalty on a two-point attempt and had three others that were declined after the Little Prexies missed the try.
“We had penalties and we were just kind of flat all night,” Washington coach Mike Bosnic said. “That's how we practiced during the week, and we'll evaluate it and maybe find a kicker. But we have to execute better.”
Yough (2-2, 2-2) had to play most of the game without starting running back Christian Williams, who left with about six minutes left in the first quarter after he was leveled by a swarm of defenders.
Williams was helped off the field with what was diagnosed as a hip injury.
“We wanted to wait until halftime to give him a chance to stretch it out,” Crovak said. “But with (Washington leading, 30-6), we just figured, ‘Why take a chance on it?' But he'll be all right.”
McKenzie, who came into the game with 30 carries for 551 yards and 10 touchdowns, shook loose for 30-yard touchdowns on two of his first four attempts. By the time he reeled off a 53-yard scoring run on the Little Prexies' first play of the second quarter, he already had eight carries for 148 yards.
“He's terrific, and he's really emerging as one of the top talents in Western Pennsylvania,” Bosnic said. “This week alone I got calls from Pitt, Duke, Georgia Tech, and everyone in the country's slowly starting to come to the doorstep.”
Even Washington's change-of-pace backs had success against Yough.
Chivar Brown gashed the Cougars for a 51-yard touchdown on his only first-half carry, and quarterback Josh Wise scrambled for a 15-yard score on fourth-and-goal with 15.1 seconds left in the first half.
Yough might have made a game of it had it not been for several critical mistakes in the passing game in the first half. Quarterback Tyler Donahue, who scored the team's lone first-half touchdown on a 24-yard scamper, missed on his first 10 attempts, but more than half were easy catches that were dropped.
“Our biggest thing was the dropped passes in the first half,” Crovak said. “It killed us. ... I thought we played hard the whole game, but we can't have those drops.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.