Prep football: GW smiling again with win over DeSales
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The longest week of the George Washington Patriots' season concluded with smiles on Friday night at Steve Edwards Sr. Field, where the 2011 Class AAA runners-up vented some frustrations against Columbus, Ohio-based St. Francis DeSales in a 49-20 victory.
Souls were searched and questions were asked after Capital dropped a 35-13 whipping on the Patriots last week -- making for seven tough days as GW awaited some measure of redemption.
"It's been a tough ... several weeks," Edwards said. "Yea, it's been a tough week, but the kids answered the call. They really showed up to play. We had some talks, we got down and got honest. The kids were mature and that's what a mature team is supposed to do."
The offense was diversified for the Patriots (7-2), who were fifth in the Secondary School Activities Commission ratings entering the weekend. George Washington star running back Ryan Switzer did his part with 87 rushing yards, a scintillating 45-yard touchdown on a screen pass and a 4-yard scoring pass to receiver Jordan Clay.
It was the intention of DeSales (5-5) to take away the 2011 Kennedy Award winner, and the Stallions succeeded intermittently.
When they did, the Patriots went to the passing combination of seniors Trevor Bell at quarterback and Jordan Clay at wide receiver. Bell shook off an interception returned for a touchdown and a near-disastrous intentional grounding to complete 14-of-18 passes for 201 yards. Clay showed off for his older brother Cody, who was in attendance while his team -- West Virginia University -- is off. The younger Clay had career highs in catches (10) and yards (131).
"We were just talking in practice and thinking about ways we could beat this team," Jordan Clay said. "We saw where we could spread it out and make something happen. We knew we could spread it out, which what we're used to in double slots and stuff. Then we could get runs, and when the run wasn't there, we started throwing a little bit and then the run was there and we kept switching off."
Even when DeSales tried to stay away from Switzer on kickoffs, the Patriots made the Stallions pay. Upback Trevon Johnson fielded a high, short kickoff and returned it to the DeSales 8-yard line.
However, a grounding call on Bell pushed GW all the way back to the visitors' 34 yard line, where the Patriots faced a third and goal. Following an incompletion, they had to punt.
An opportunity for the hosts to extend to a two-score lead dissipated. DeSales responded with an 80-yard drive to cut the lead to two points with 5:40 left in the third.
Switzer, Bell, Clay and the Patriots didn't flinch.
DeSales opted to kick deep to Switzer at his own 13. He returned it to the DeSales 30. A Bell 21-yard strike over the middle to Clay on third-and-16 set up Switzer's 15-yard touchdown run on the next play.
A DeSales fumble was followed by Switzer's 45-yard catch-and-run, and the rout was on.
The Patriots rallied for a critical victory in the season's ninth game and likely ended DeSales' streak of consecutive Ohio playoff appearances at 18. The Division III Stallions needed a victory and help to extend their postseason string to 19 seasons.
George Washington played without fullback/linebacker Dustin Crouser, wide receiver/defensive back Jacob Jackson and two-way linemen Alex Jones and Jack Skidmore.
GEORGE WASHNGTON 49, ST. FRANCIS DESALES 20
First downs 16 19
Total yards 313 315
Rushes-yards 43-148 34-109
Passing 165 205
Comp-Att-Int 10-20-0 15-19-1
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-27 4-20
St. Francis DeSales 0 6 6 8 -- 20
George Washington 7 7 14 21 -- 49
GW -- Jordan Clay 22 pass from Trevor Bell (Reed Deer kick), 4:41.
DS -- Oliver Grimard 27 interception return (kick failed), 6:32.
GW -- Clay 4 pass from Ryan Switzer (Deer kick), 2:44.
DS -- Tyler West 12 run (run failed).
GW -- Switzer 15 run (Deer kick), 3:39.
GW -- Switzer 45 pass from Bell (Deer kick), 1:00.
DS -- Andrew Sparks 43 pass from Alex Perrine (Perrine run), 10:40.
GW -- Trevon Johnson 2 run (Deer kick), 5:50.
GW -- Bell 1 run (Deer kick), 4:16.
GW -- Switzer 26 run (Deer kick), :38.8.
Rushing: DeSales - J.T. Blubaugh 18-96, West 13-40, Sayyid Kanu 1-11, Perrine 9-4, Nate Biggers 1-1, Tucker Yinger 1-(minus-4). George Washington - Switzer 16-87, Johnson 5-37, Austin Blake 1-3, Austin Giacomo 1-3, Bell 11-(minus -21).
Passing: DeSales - Perrine 10-20-0-165, George Washington - Bell 14-18-1-201, Switzer 1-1-0-4.
Receiving: DeSales - Grimard 7-99, Sparks 3-66, George Washington - Clay 10-131, Switzer 2-48, Johnson 2-22, Austin Giacomo 1-4.