Washington five plays from being undefeated
Talk to Washington head football coach Randy Schrader, and he’ll tell you that any football game comes down to five plays. Whoever makes those plays is going to get another notch in the win column.
His Demons, 3-2 on the season, are exactly a handful of plays away from being a perfect 5-0 this year. In fact, five plays — a bad snap, two costly penalties, a fumble and a bad call — kept Washington from winning games against Pella and Marion this season.
1. BAD SNAP — In Washington’s game at Pella on Aug. 31, the Demons led 10-3 late in the game when a snap sailed over punter Kyle Roder’s head, and the Little Dutch used that excellent field position to tie the game. Still, Washington drove to the Pella 10-yard line with just under a minute remaining, but the Little Dutch defense stiffened, forcing the Demons to try a 38-yard field goal in the closing seconds of regulation. Kicker Mason Quigley’s attempt missed just left, and the game went to overtime.
2. ILLEGAL FORMATION PENALTY — Washington got the ball first in overtime, and on second-and-goal quarterback Daryn Sebelius ran for a 10-yard touchdown. But hold the phone, because the play was nullified when the Demons were whistled for an illegal formation. Washington went on to miss another field goal, and Pella quickly scored to win the game 16-10.
3. FALSE START PENALTY — Against Marion on Homecoming on Sept. 14, the Demons trailed 13-10 early in the fourth quarter, but defensive end Craig Lillie jumped on a fumble at the Indian 7-yard line to set Washington up for what should have been the go-ahead score. Two plays later, the Demons had the ball inside the 1-yard line, but a false start penalty backed Washington up. After losing a yard on the next play, Quigley pushed a 25-yard field goal attempt to the left.
4. SACK AND FUMBLE — After linebacker Tanner Knupp chased down Marion running back Trev Biery and stripped him of the football, the Demons got another chance to take the lead. Washington drove to the Marion 11-yard line, but Sebelius was sacked, losing the football on the play. Sebelius had an open receiver in the end zone on the play, but was unable to get the ball to wideout Alan Sanchez.
5. BLOWN CALLS — Washington had one last chance in the closing seconds after forcing Marion to punt. Junior Alex Coker caught the ball at his own 25-yard line, ran to his left, and then cut across the field on his way to a winding, 75-yard return for a touchdown. But there were two questionable flags on the play, and the Demons ended up losing 13-10.
That’s how close Washington is to being undefeated midway through the 2012 season. If not for a bad snap, a couple of penalties and a fumble, this young Washington team could be 5-0 heading into tonight’s key matchup at No. 10 Williamsburg.
But the Demons have been building momentum the last couple of weeks. They played a very physical game in a contest they could have and should have won against Marion two weeks ago. Then Washington had a breakout performance in a 30-point blowout of Keokuk, one of the favorites to win the district.
Now it’s pretty much come down to Washington and Williamsburg to win the district title. Can the Demons continue their momentum into tonight’s game at Williamsburg? Maybe. As long as they can make those five key plays.