It’s not easy to commit 16 penalties and have two field goals blocked yet still manage to win a football game by more than three touchdowns. But somehow, that is what George Washington High School managed to do on Friday against Samuel Fels.
It was as ugly as a blowout win can be, but in the end Washington still emerged as 22-0 winners over the struggling Panthers.
Fels (1-6, 1-3) came into the game with confidence, coming off a 20-18 win over Germantown the previous week, its first win of the 2012 season. Washington (6-1, 3-1) on the other hand, was coming off their first loss of the season, a disappointing 25-14 defeat at Frankford that propelled the Pioneers into first place in the Public League AAAA Gold Division.
Against Fels, Washington used three quarterbacks in the game while making their usual switch from senior Dave Gavrilov to senior Al Augustine at halftime; however, Washington also gave young junior quarterback John Santos a shot late in the game. Neither of Washington’s two senior signal callers played particularly well, and with 8:35 remaining and Washington leading 15-0, Santos got a chance to show what he can do.
Santos made the most of it, going 2-for-2 for 34 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver/corner back Rene Villafane, to make it 22-0 on Santos’ first drive of the game. Villafane, who led the Eagles in receiving with five catches for 98 yards and that fourth quarter touchdown grab from Santos, had a superb game defensively as well. Villafane was all over the field on defense, making sure he was always around the ball and involved in seemingly every single play.
The Eagles’ bread and butter is their versatile ground attack, and although they did not utilize it as much as they probably wanted to against the Panthers, Washington finished the game with 136 yards on the ground on 36 carries. The Eagles’ leading rusher was senior Marquis Edwards, who carried 14 times for 94 yards. He now leads the Eagles with 314 rushing yards on the season. Senior full back Alex Rivera, Washington’s change of pace, short-yardage back, had 6 carries for 23 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, despite committing so many penalties, Washington held Fels to only 83 yards of total offense. As usual, leading the way was 6-foot-3, 270-pound senior defensive lineman Justin Moody, who had two sacks and a forced fumble. Washington plans to honor Moody, a defensive All-American, at a Friday afternoon ceremony at the school.
The Eagles’ strong special teams unit was at it again last Friday, as Jake Wright drilled a 47-yard field goal despite getting hit by a Fels defender. A running-into-the-kicker penalty was called, giving Washington a first-down, and nullifying Wright’s extremely impressive field goal. (To put it into perspective, 47 yards is a challenging distance for NFL kickers.)