On some nights, the Washington High School football team can be its own worst enemy.
For the better part of the first half Friday night against winless Sto-Rox, Washington made things difficult for itself at Wash High Stadium. Committing 10 penalties for 88 yards often stalled the Prexies’ attack, but the hosts eventually found their stride and hammered the Vikings 54-16 in nonconference play.
The win improves Washington’s record to 5-0 overall.
“We definitely have some things to clean up,” Prexies coach Mike Bosnic said. “We weren’t thrilled with all the penalties, especially in the first half. But we got some things corrected and played better in the second half.”
Washington finished with 12 penalties for 98 yards. Sto-Rox had 53 yards in penalty yardage.
The Prexies were without linebacker Isaiah Schoonmaker, who was suspended for a game after being ejected last week in their win over Frazier.
In effort to become a more balanced attack in the postseason, the Prexies made a concerted effort to establish a passing game. Zack Swartz showed flashes of what is possible with 233 passing yards on 12 completions. He added three scoring tosses and completed passes to six different receivers.
“That’s good to hear,” Bosnic said in reference to his quarterback spreading the wealth. “He’s coming along nicely and threw the ball real well.”
Swartz’s first scoring toss was a 22-yard strike to Dan Walker early in the first quarter. It followed a Prexies safety when Vikings quarterback Eric Wilson was called for intentional grounding in the end zone.
Walker finished with 76 yards receiving on four receptions.
Swartz’s second touchdown pass closed out the choppy first half when he found Zahmere Robinson from 25 yards on the last play before halftime. The score gave the hosts a 26-8 lead.
Swartz’s third and final scoring pass was 26-yarder to Isaiah Walton in the third quarter that stretched the Prexies’ lead to 40-8.
The lone blemish on Swartz’s night was an interception by Davonte Williams late in the first half.
The second half saw the Prexies return to their noted ground game. Nick Welsh led the way as he contributed 169 yards on 16 carries. Welsh had scoring runs of five, seven and 27 yards.
“Nick has been running the ball real hard,” Bosnic added. “We’re happy with our ability to grind it out on the ground with him. It also allows us to cut back on some of the penalties on offense when we run it like that.”
Sophomore Dylan Asbury came on in the fourth quarter and capped a drive with a five-yard touchdown run.
The Prexies’ defense was solid, save for an 85-yard Wilson to Antwion Ebore scoring connection in the first quarter that cut the Prexies’ lead to 14-8.
“I thought we got after it pretty good on defense, but there we have some things to clean up as well,” Bosnic said. “We can’t give up big plays like that.”
Washington did intercept Wilson three times as Walker, Robinson and Curtis Gardner came up with the aerial thefts.
Vikings backup quarterback Deion Liddell finished the scoring when he found Sedric Riddick for a 47-yard touchdown, a score that came against the Prexies’ second- and third-string defense.