Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 26, 2018

Washington can't catch momentum, fall to visiting Indians passing game

Aug 27, 2018
Photo by: Doug Brenneman Washington’s Ethan Hunt (84) tips the ball away from the Marion defender, preventing a touchdown.

By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports


Momentum is a large part of sports.

Momentum was one major thing that Washington High School could never get a grasp of Friday when the Marion Indians came to town and left with a 40-14 victory.

“I don’t know what it was,” Washington head coach James Harris said. “I know there was a lot of execution things. The thing about execution things is it comes down to preparation. That comes down to me as the head coach. I don’t think we were prepared. I don’t question our kids’ effort in any way.”

The first chance at a momentum swing was when the Demons’ Trashaun Willis caused a fumble and Luke Turner recovered to stop the first Indians’ drive.

A complete pass and a run picked up a first down, but a run and two incomplete passes led to a punt.

Five Marion plays later, it was 7-0 on a pinpoint pass from quarterback Trevor Paulsen.

Washington fumbled on its second play and five plays later, it was 14-0 with 3 minutes, 38 seconds left in the first quarter. The TD pass was to the corner of the end zone and the receiver barely got one foot down.

The Demons couldn’t pick up a first down and the Indians kicked a field goal for a 17-0 lead.

Another chance at a momentum swing was when Ethan Hunt returned the kickoff 22 yards to start the Demons on the 30, but a 15-yard penalty and a sack ended the drive.

The Demons finally found some momentum when the defense forced a punt with a massive stop on third-and-1.

Taking over at their own 47, Washington got an 11-yard run from Garrett Ikerd. Two incompletions were followed by a defensive pass interference. On first down at the 27, Luke Turner found Tristin Westphal-Edwards for 11 yards. A penalty on the Indians put Washington at the 8. Ikerd ran it to the 1 and Turner bulled his way in for the first Washington touchdown of the season.

The momentum from the score melted away, however. Going for a two-point conversion after the touchdown, WHS was called for a penalty twice, then missed the kick.

Fifteen seconds later, momentum was Marion’s. The Indians had run the kickoff back for a 24-6 lead with 7:22 left in the half.

“You cannot give up special-teams scores, especially when you’re trying to get back into the game,” Harris said.

The Demons went 3-and-out on the ensuing possession.

“We have a lot of guys that don’t have a lot of experience. I think that showed early in the game,” Harris said. “It all comes back to the head coach and it is his job to make sure the guys are prepared.”

Marion put together a 15-play drive for a field goal with 1:22 remaining that was kept alive by a roughing-the-passer penalty on fourth down.

Marion got the second-half kickoff and went 84 yards on 10 plays (five passes and five runs) that was capped by Paulsen’s third TD pass for a 34-6 lead.

“We did not go into it with a specific run-pass balance in mind,” Marion coach Tim Lovell said. “We let Trevor call a lot of plays at the line. He is a super competitor. He brings everyone up to another level.”

It was 40-6 with 4:32 remaining in the game on a 12-yard run right up the middle.

“Hats off to Coach Lovell,” Harris said. “I think they have a very talented team. They have some physical guys in the line and that quarterback is very talented. He does a nice job.”

Paulsen was 18 of 30 for 222 yards passing and ran 10 times for 56 yards.

With 3:00 remaining, it was 40-12 as Ikerd capped a 79-yard TD drive with a 16-yard touchdown run.

Marion snapped the ball out of the end zone on a punt for a safety.

Marion totaled 273 passing yards and 133 rushing.

Trashaun Willis led the Demons defense with 11 tackles. Wilx Witthoft and Tristan Allender each had two tackles for loss.

Washington had 140 rushing and 65 passing. Turner went 8 for 19 with one interception. Ikerd carried 16 times for 88 yards while Turner picked up 41 on 10 rushes.

“What we are going to do is show up at weights, get better prepared, and keep preparing on our kids,” Harris said. “I am going to spend a lot of time in the film room but then that is just what I do. There aren’t any coaches anywhere that don’t spend a lot of time in the film room.”

Washington plays at Oskaloosa Friday.

“Our kids are playing hard,” Harris said. “No one quit. They battled until the end of the game. That is all we can ask out of our kids.”

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