The emotion of being a big Arlington neighborhood rivalry game didn’t take on quite as much importance and passion this season.
Instead, just winning the football game was the main focus for the Washington-Liberty Generals and Yorktown Patriots, because each high-school team entered the March 13 showdown with 0-2 records.
The Patriots (1-2, 1-1) won the Liberty District clash at Yorktown, 27-14, after falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter. The go-ahead touchdown came with 11:36 left in the game on a 25-yard interception return by Andrew Evans, followed by Asher Creskoff’s third of three extra points. The Patriots added an insurance TD with 3:51 left on a three-yard run by Han Miller, who rushed for 142 yards on 18 carries and sparked a previously dormant running game, which amassed 211 yards against W-L (0-3, 0-2).
“You had two 0-2 teams. So to get a win was the most important thing for us,” Yorktown coach Bruce Hanson said. “We had not played well, so we really had to play better and win.”
In practices the days prior to the contest, Hanson said lineup changes were made, including eliminating two-way starters, in hopes that would give the Patriots an edge and “get them going.” The coach believed that was a factor regarding Yorktown’s running game.
In addition to Miller, Christian Mulumba had 63 yards rushing and Jake Morgan 32, including a 25-yard second-quarter scoring run to help Yorktown tie the game at 7. Mulumba started at linebacker and runningback in Yorktown’s previous two games.
“The plan was to run the ball and we were better in this game,” Hanson said.
In contrast, Yorktown threw just seven passes, completing two for 25 yards. One was a 20-yard second-period touchdown pass from James Yoest to Liam Andersen on a rollout to the right. Morgan had the other catch from Matt Larsen.
“We know W-L is a tough team and coached well, so we had to do things better,” Hanson said.
On defense, Yorktown limited W-L to minus-one yard rushing, including 29 yards in sacks. The Generals did move the ball through the air. Senior quarterback Andrew Bolfek was 18 of 32 passing for 216 yards, but was intercepted three times.
Bolfek engineered the Generals’ two long scoring drives, the first a seven-play, 71-yard march capped by a seven-yard Ahmad Williams run on the game’s opening possession. Multiple Yorktown penalties aided W-L.
The second drive came in the third quarter, when Jack Myers’ two-yard run ended a nine-play 55-yard trek. Pedro Palacios booted the extra points.
“We had something going early, then the turnovers and interceptions obviously hurt, and we didn’t sustain enough of anything,” W-L coach Josh Shapiro said. “We just didn’t run the ball well enough.”
The Generals were shorthanded with key two-way players Davion Owens (sick and did not play) and Bryson Files and Kenji McCartney leaving the game with injuries.
Turnovers hurt each team, as W-L had four and Yorktown lost two fumbles.
The teams also combined for 163 yards in penalties, with Yorktown having 16 for 98 yards.
Sam Hughes had five catches for 44 yards for W-L, Myers four for 52, Evan Brown three for 13, Files two for 51, Jack Leonard two for 40 and Williams two for 11. Williams had 23 yards rushing and Myers four.
On defense for Yorktown, Jack Flood and Charlie Rowe had the other interceptions. Rowe added a sack and another tackle for a loss. Sam Keenan and Colby Distaso had two sacks each, Gabe Miller broke up a pass, Marcus Romero recovered a fumble and Evans had a tackle for a loss.
For W-L on defense, Soren Timura had a sack, Myers and Elijah Hughes had tackles for losses and Myers recovered a fumble.
Palacios had two long punts.
Yorktown’s next game is Friday, March 19 against the host and winless Herndon Horneets at 7 p.m. in another district clash.
Washington-Liberty hosts the Langley Saxons on March 19 at 7 p.m. in league play.
* The Wakefield Warriors (2-1, 1-1) did not play this past week. The Warriors return to action Friday, March 19, on the road in Springfield against the Lewis Lancers in National District action.
Wakefield needs to win its remaining district games to have a chance of repeating as league champion. The Warriors lost to the Marshall Statesmen, 19-18, for its one district loss.