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Prep football: GW rallies around healthy star

By Nick Brockman

ST. ALBANS, W.Va. -- When words fail to explain, actions and statistics speak loudly. George Washington's Ryan Switzer posted numbers in his return Friday night that might have been blared from a bullhorn.

After missing most of the season's first two contests with concussion symptoms, Switzer returned to the Patriots lineup with a big statement against St. Albans in a 68-23 GW win.

Switzer jump-started the Patriots offense as he tallied three rushing touchdowns and ran 10 times for 231 yards - more yards than GW had averaged offensively as a team during its first two games.

"It was awesome," Switzer said assessing his feelings on his return. "I really can't put it into words. I had those first-game jitters, and these guys have already played two games, but I'm just really blessed to have a second chance."

Coach Steve Edwards Jr. said he was pleased to see Switzer back to form, as well as the Patriots' play around and behind him.

"(Switzer) came out of here unscathed and played hard and showed a sign of being healthy again, and that's what we're looking for, and the team rallied around it," Edwards Jr. said.

The team needed Switzer's offensive jolt after struggling in a 21-14 Week 2 loss to Ashland (Ky.) Paul Blazer. The loss snapped the Patriots' 27-game regular-season winning streak. In the defeat, GW amassed just 176 total yards.

On Friday, Switzer collected 204 yards in the first quarter alone.

"We were just very fortunate that we had the right play called and the kids blocked to perfection, and he's tough to deal with when he's get into space," Edwards said.

Tough, indeed. Switzer scored on plays of 60, 56 and 76 yards. In each instance, Switzer used his speed, whether it was finding the edge and turning up field or bursting through the line of scrimmage and secondary at full blast.

Beyond his own individual skills, Switzer's presence provided opportunities for his teammates to make plays.

"It makes people have to guard the whole field on us," Edwards Jr. said. "That's a fact.

"That's what great players do, and we have a lot of great players around him, and that brings out the best in everybody. It really does help. It helps us, plus we're not very big, so spreading the field helps us out a lot. Get out of the phone booth. That's what we're looking to do."

The field wasn't so stretched for the Patriots without Switzer.

"They really missed that when I was out," Switzer said, "because when I'm in there I draw a lot of attention and a lot of other guys, they're in space, and we got a lot of guys who can do a lot of things in space."

In addition to Switzer, running back Jacob Jackson carried five times for 94 yards and two touchdowns. The pass offense also clicked as Trever Bell threw three touchdowns to three different receivers.

GW scored on its first six offensive possessions, with each drive taking five plays or fewer.

For Switzer, he said it felt great to contribute to that success, because watching from the sidelines was miserable.

"It felt knives were going into my stomach," Switzer said.

"I tried to do my best to support them and cheer them on, but I'll tell them I hated watching them play, because that's not (any) fun, so hopefully I can stay healthy. I'm 100 percent, so we got that out of the way."

Back on the field, Switzer's once again the one driving knives into the opposition's defense.

That's just the familiar position Switzer and GW prefer.

"I'm back and we'll just take it day-by-day," Switzer said.


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