Blocked punt in final minute lifts Washington over Jeannette
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Washington won a football game even its players didn't believe they would.
The fifth-ranked Little Prexies trailed by a field goal with 30.6 seconds left.
But Daron Whitaker blocked a Mike Wise punt ,and Shai McKenzie scooped it up and raced 47 yards to give Washington a shocking, 18-15 victory against No. 3 Jeannette (4-1, 4-1) on Friday in a WPIAL Class AA Interstate Conference first-place showdown at Wash High Stadium.
McKenzie, who rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns for the Little Prexies (5-0, 5-0), said his teammates were a little down before the punt.
“This is unreal,” McKenzie said. “Some of the players felt it was over. I can't believe we blocked it and the ball bounced to me. Thank God it did. I just picked it up and started running.”
McKenzie was bothered by shin splints, cramps and a shot to his thigh during the game. He'd limped off the field a couple times, only to return.
“Our coaches told us someone had to make a big play and (Daron) did, and we needed it,” said Washington linebacker Jaylin Kelly, who made a touchdown-saving tackle on Jeannette's Shavonta Craft on the ensuing kickoff. “I was just trying to wait for him, but I felt the blocker so I came up to meet him.”
Washington coach Mike Bosnic said the win was unbelievable.
“We got lucky at the end, and it just feels great,” Bosnic said.
“Give our kids credit because they made an incredible play. Believe it or not, we've had a couple miracles, but nothing dramatic like this in a big game.”
Bosnic said it looked like Whitaker shot the gap and got so much penetration that he either he blocked it or blocked someone into the ball.
Early on, Washington's offense controlled the game behind McKenzie. He scored on a determined fourth-and-goal run from the Jeannette 4 to give Washington a 6-0 lead.
Washington was driving again late in the first quarter, but Jeannette safety Seth Miller intercepted a Josh Wise pass and returned in 64 yards for a touchdown.
Miller then hit Brandon Krautz for a two-point conversion to make it 8-6.
Jeannette took advantage of two Washington turnovers and a couple of costly penalties to grab a 15-6 halftime lead on a 9-yard run by Anthony Canady in the second quarter.
But Washington's defense stoned Jeannette in the second half despite the Jayhawks starting drives in Little Prexies territory. Jeannette had only one first down, by penalty, in the second half and finished with 121 yards of offense, 24 coming on the final play of the game.
“I shoulder the whole blame for this loss,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said.
“We were a little too conservative, and Washington's defense outmanned us at times.”
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-836-5095.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Through the years: Bell-Avon rings out in program’s finale
- High school notebook: WPIAL adjusts to accommodate Armstrong merger
- Close loss in title game cannot diminish Clairton’s ‘great season’
- Central Valley prepares for ‘big’ test against Archbishop Wood O-line
- Pine-Richland falls short in PIAA Class AAAA final
- High school notebook: Records tumble during PIAA football title games