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Little Prexies set sights on return to Heinz Field

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Shai McKenzie runs during heat acclimation practice on August 8, 2013 in Washington.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Chase Caldwell photographed at practice on August 8, 2013 in Washington.

The goal for Washington this season is simple: Make it back to Heinz Field.

After going undefeated in the regular season last year, the Prexies breezed through the playoffs before falling to Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class AA championship.

“That's really ultimately where we want to be,” coach Mike Bosnic said of returning to the title game. “We were able to get there last year and get a taste of it. We'd like to get back this year and take another crack at it.”

It will be a challenge, but Bosnic said his team has the pieces in place to pull it off.

“There are so many variables that go in to it,” he said. “I feel like we have some talent coming back, and the pieces are there. But it's going to depend on the kids working hard and being willing to do what it takes to get there.”

A bulk of that returning talent revolves around 6-foot, 215-pound senior tailback Shai McKenzie.

The leading rusher in the WPIAL last season, McKenzie gained a school-record 2,700 yards to go along with 42 touchdowns, piquing the interest of some elite college programs.

“He's one of the best running backs in the entire country,” Bosnic said. “He's a great football player, very explosive, and I'm sure a nightmare for opposing teams.”

The Prexies do not lack in talent around the all-state running back. Senior wide receiver Chase Caldwell and tailback Malik Wells are capable playmakers.

Defensive end Anthony Byrd will anchor the Washington defense, which will go up against stiff competition in the Interstate Conference.

“It's a tough conference, a very good conference, and there's going to be a lot of competition,” Bosnic said. “We're going to probably have a target on our back because of our success last year.”

Going 12-1 (8-0 in conference games) last season gave the Prexies a taste of success.

“It really made our town excited when we made the playoff run,” Bosnic said, “and I think the kids really enjoyed it, so I think that's something they would like to do again.”

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