Shai McKenzie leads Washington to win over Mt. Pleasant
TribLIVE Sports Videos
With a chance to clinch at least a share of the Class AA Interstate Conference title, Washington, led by junior running back Shai McKenzie, turned in perhaps its best performance of the season Friday at Mt. Pleasant.
McKenzie rushed for 295 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, as the No. 3 Prexies hammered out a dominating 34-14 victory.
“It feels great,” Washington coach Mike Bosnic said. “We accomplished something that will be there forever, and our kids can feel good about that, but we have to be ready to go back to work.”
McKenzie did plenty of work for the Prexies. On his second carry of the game, he scored on a 69-yard TD midway through the first quarter.
“That set the momentum,” said McKenzie, who also caught a two-point conversion from quarterback Josh Wise to make it 8-0.
But the momentum shifted back to Mt. Pleasant (5-2, 5-2) as Taylor Allison, who scored a pair of touchdowns for the Vikings, capped an eight-play drive with a 13-yard touchdown run to make it 8-7.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, that was as close as they would get as McKenzie was just heating up. In the second quarter, McKenzie carried the ball seven times on a nine-play drive that concluded when he scored on a 9-yard run. Then late in the second quarter, Wise bulled in for a 1-yard score with just five seconds left in the half.
“I don't think you could say they ran anything that we weren't prepared for,” Mt. Pleasant coach Bo Ruffner said. “Give them credit. They came out with the purpose of winning the conference championship and they executed.”
Washington (7-0, 7-0) led 28-7 in the fourth, but Mt. Pleasant got a 4-yard run from Allison to make it 28-14. McKenzie closed the game with a 1-yard TD run to seal the win,
“I knew I would have to get a lot of yards,” McKenzie said. “They are a good defense and I didn't think I would have this many yards.”
Washington's defense was also solid, recording three interceptions, including two by Wise. Washington also limited 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Mellors to just 66 yards on 12 carries.
Unlike the game two weeks ago against Jeannette, the Prexies did not need a big rally to beat one of the conference's strongest teams as they built a comfortable lead and never looked back.
“The kids sensed we had them where we wanted them,” Bosnic said. “We got into trouble against Jeannette, but we didn't let that happen tonight.”
For the Vikings, it was the second tough loss to the Prexies in less than a calendar year. Washington also beat Mt. Pleasant, 30-14, in the first round of last year's playoffs. More importantly, it was Mt. Pleasant's second straight loss, which drops the Vikings to third place in the conference.
“We need to keep getting better,” Ruffner said. “I believe we have a good team, and if we want to be great, we have to continue to find a way to get better and it starts with me.”
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.
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.