With how the season developed, Bruce Hanson is now very happy the shortened six-game high-school football campaign was played after being postponed from the usual fall timeframe because of the pandemic.
The longtime Yorktown Patriots head coach was working his normal routine along the sideline the night of April 1 when his team (4-2) defeated the McLean Highlanders, 28-10, for its fourth straight win. The winning streak followed a pair of opening-game losses when the Patriots struggled on both sides of the ball, combining for just four first downs on offense.
Prior to those two contests, Hanson wondered if the season would be worth playing with so many pandemic protocols to follow and he was concerned the Patriots wouldn’t be able to improve with so many restrictions.
“I really didn’t know if we could be any good or get better,” Hanson said.
After those two losses, Hanson made a big change on offense – basically grounding an ineffective passing game in favor of a power running attack.
The four-game winning streak proved the switch worked very well. Yorktown’s ground game has been potent in those four games, and the defense has stiffened and improved, as well.
“In that [second] loss to South Lakes, we were a hopeless team,” Hanson said. “We couldn’t move the ball. So we had to figure out what we could do, and that was run the ball. Once we started running the ball, we started moving.”
The win over McLean (4-2, 3-2) in a Liberty District showdown was Yorktown’s biggest this season, because the loss knocked the Highlanders out of the region playoffs. Yorktown did not make the playoffs either.
“That was a huge win. We built it up like it was a playoff game,” Hanson said. “I’m so happy for our team that we won.”
Yorktown took advantage of three McLean turnovers and multiple dropped passes by the Highlanders.
The Patriots led 7-0 in the first quarter, 14-10 at halftime and added two fourth-quarter touchdowns, as Yorktown gained 224 yards rushing and only 41 passing.
Han Miller ran for 109 yards on 17 carries, including a 45-yard touchdown run down the right sideline. Christian Mulumba gained 70 yards on 18 attempts and had short TD runs of three and five yards. Quarterback James Yoest had 45 yards rushing, including a 19-yard scoring run.
Yoest was 2 of 3 passing for 29 yards and Matt Larsen had one completion for 12 yards. Liam Andersen had two catches for 29 yards and Gabe Miller one for 12.
Asher Creskoff kicked four extra points.
Yorktown’s defense was led by two interceptions from Andrew Evans, which he returned for some 40 yards. Charlie Rowe, Colby Distaso and Sam Keenan had tackles for losses or a sack.
Yorktown has one remaining game, an extra contest added for non-playoff teams. That will be against the Annandale Atoms (4-2) at Yorktown.
n The Bishop O’Connell Knights (1-2) lost 40-9 to the Carroll Lions on April 1 in a football game between Washington Catholic Athletic Conference rivals.
The high-school football game was at the St. James indoor facility in Springfield.
“It was a tough outing for us,” O’Connell coach Ken Lucas said.
O’Connell’s points came on a Cole Jackson 38-yard field goal and Job Grant’s 91-yard kickoff return.
O’Connell quarterback Gus Bayer was 9 of 20 passing for 113 yards. Grant caught three passes for 16 yards and Brendan Robinson five for 97. Robinson had an interception on defense.
Andrew King was the Knights’ leading rusher with 10 yards and Davis Spielman gained nine.