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GCC manhandled by Washington in Interstate Conference opener

| Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, 11:01 p.m.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Nate Stone blocks Washington's Nathan Swart for GCC teammate Zach Guiser during a game at GCC on Friday, August 31, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Washington running back Shai McKenzie runs the ball during a game at GCC on Friday, August 31, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic quarterback Chase Keller scrambles during a game against Washington at GCC on Friday, August 31, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Washington's Chivar Brown runs the ball during a game at GCC on Friday, August 31, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
GCC's Eddie Kilkeary tackles Washington's Chivar Brown during a game at GCC on Friday, August 31, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review

Greensburg Central Catholic opened the season without its former longtime football coach. The Centurions played like they were minus a lot more, too.

Shai McKenzie rushed for 202 yards on just 12 carries, while scoring three touchdowns, and No. 5 Washington made a successful return to the Interstate Conference with a convincing 28-7 victory at No. 7 GCC on Friday night.

“We don't ever bring it up,” GCC co-coach Dan Mahoney said of the dismissal of legendary coach Muzzy Colosimo in the wake of an alleged hazing incident at a summer camp in New Jersey, resulting in multiple player suspensions. “That's the way it was all through (training) camp. We're about who's here now. That's what we'll hang our hats on, and that's what we told the kids after the game.”

Mahoney, who is coaching GCC this season along with Matt Federico — two former assistants on Colosimo's previous staffs — remained optimistic.

The Little Prexies, behind the 6-foot, 215-pound junior McKenzie's bullish running, outgained GCC in total yards, 333-119. McKenzie, who rushed for 1,202 yards as a sophomore last season, already has been attracting a lot of interest from colleges, prompting Washington coach Mike Bosnic to say before the start of the season that McKenzie is “becoming a big-time BCS recruit.”

Washington, which played the past two seasons in the Century Conference, was coming off an 8-3 record and a trip to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

The Little Prexies, who scored on their first possession, built a 22-0 halftime lead on runs of 41 and 7 yards by McKenzie and a 1-yard keeper by quarterback Josh Wise. McKenzie capped their scoring with a 77-yard run in the third quarter.

“He's big-time. He's a special player,” Mahoney said of McKenzie. “You don't see many players like that come through here, and we're glad we've gotten him behind us. We'll get back to work this week and decide how to handle our next opponent (Mt. Pleasant). We struggled up front. They're size was a big difference. We'll figure out a way somehow to overcome that.”

GCC averted a shutout with 40 seconds left on a 3-yard run by Nate Stone.

Bosnic said he wasn't pleased with Washington's second-half effort.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” he said.

Mahoney, meanwhile, expressed more satisfaction than what he saw from his team in the first half.

“I was happy with the way we responded because we looked a little nervous in the first half,” Mahoney said.

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dmackall@tribweb.com or 412-380-5617.

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