CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Hurricane raced off the field as the first half clock expired, proud of its efforts against heavily favored George Washington in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.
Playing against a Patriot team that defeated them soundly 41-15 during the regular season, the Redskins held GW and Kennedy award winner Ryan Switzer scoreless in a 0-0 game at halftime.
The second half proved to be a different story.
GW made several key halftime adjustments and imposed their will on the Redskins, pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 35-10 victory in South Hills in a game that wasn't nearly as lopsided as the score would indicate.
The GW coaching staff moved Switzer all over the field from his normal tailback position, and the move worked to the tune of 35 second-half points, including 28 in the fourth quarter. The Patriots only led 7-3 entering the fourth.
Switzer, the favorite to win the Kennedy Award for the second straight year, finished with 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns to go along with 89 receiving yards and two more TDs.
Most of the yards, though, came in the decisive second half, including 63 on the ground and 83 through the air.
"We did a lot of things good in the second half," GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. said. "We were able to move him (Switzer) around, and it was effective. We told the kids they needed to make a statement."
Switzer, who will play collegiately at North Carolina next season, didn't mind moving to mostly the slot receiver, a position he is expected to play with the Tar Heels.
"I'm capable of it," Switzer said. "That's where I will play next year. They stacked the box and had nine or 10 guys in the box every play. We opened it up and Trevor (Bell, the Patriots' quarterback) showed a lot of poise in the pocket. I'm hard to guard one-on-one."
Hurricane Coach Jeremy Taylor was proud of his team's performance, especially the first three quarters, but knew holding GW all throughout the game would be difficult.
"Tick, tick, tick, they are a ticking time bomb," Taylor said. "You can't hold them forever. I was real conservative on offense. I was trying to get in the fourth quarter, keep it close, and pull it out. You can only hold players like that for so long."
GW took the second-half kickoff and scored the first points of the game, marching 78 yards in just five plays, culminating in a 13-yard TD pass from Bell to Switzer. On the drive, Bell threw for 72 of his 196 yards.
Hurricane, though, seemed to score the game-tying touchdown twice, but were called for penalties on both, and had to settle for a 21-yard field goal from Michael Molina to make the score 7-3 with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter.
On the first apparent Redskin touchdown on the drive, quarterback Austin Hensley seemed to score from two-yards out but Hurricane was flagged for illegally assisting the runner into the end zone. Three plays later, Hensley scored from one yard out but this time, were called for a false start.
"That aiding call," Taylor said with a groan. "I went out and smiled real big. I told the ref 'You're killing me man.' That happens every day and you never see it called. Then there was a false start on the other touchdown."
The 7-3 score held up until the fourth quarter when GW scored four straight touchdowns, including three in a three minute and 25 second span.
Things got chippy late in the game, especially after the Patriots kicked an onside kick, and recovered with 7:56 left in the game. Two Hurricane players eventually got ejected from the game and neither team shook hands after the game.
It marked the second time in three seasons that Hurricane players were ejected from the end of their playoff loss.
GEORGE WASHINGTON 31, HURRICANE 3
First downs 11 18