CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington led Hurricane through the entire game between Kanawha Valley rivals Friday night, but it was not until the Redskins' final possession that GW was finally able to exhale.
Hurricane (3-3) quarterback Austin Hensley hit senior receiver Henry Sorsaia with a pass before Sorsaia was knocked out of bounds a half-yard short of a first down on fourth-and-6 from the GW 18 with 53 seconds left, sealing a wild 60-54 shootout win for the host Patriots (6-0).
"They pushed us to the limit. They did a nice job, they really did," GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. said. "I'm really proud of our kids, though. They didn't fold, and they had plenty of time to do it."
The Patriots actually jumped out to a 16-0 lead by the 6:58 mark of the first quarter thanks to a 10-yard run by Draven Riffe and a 23-yard pass from Jon Alexander to Austin Giacomo. Those scores sandwiched a safety the Patriots picked up when Hurricane's first punt attempt resulted in a bad snap that carried from the Redskin 20 all the way to the end zone.
Once the Redskins got out of their own way, however, they put on an offensive fireworks display.
Hensley, who was lifted from the team's last game two weeks ago with a separated AC joint in his throwing arm, looked no worse for wear, completing 11 of 18 passes for 208 yards.
Hurricane's running game was in fine form as well. The Redskins rolled up 352 rushing yards on 62 carries, with a game-high 224 yards from senior Zach Pate.
Pate scored on touchdown runs of 6, 9, 6 and 18 yards to help keep Hurricane from getting too far behind. The Redskins just could never get a stop of their own to counteract two turnovers at critical points of the game.
The Patriots went up 36-18 with 4:03 left in the first half when Mason Blake bulled into the end zone from a yard out. On Hurricane's first play from scrimmage after the ensuing kickoff, a lateral from Hensley to Pate was thrown wide of the receiver and scooped up by GW.
The Patriots pushed their lead to 39-18 four plays later when Reed Deer drilled a 22-yard field goal, his first of the season.
Perhaps the game's most important turn of events, however, played out midway through the third quarter.