By Graham Henderson
Going into halftime, the Bell was still up for grabs.
Lincoln was just trailing Washington 7-6 in the 65th annual Bell Game between the two teams.
But halftime was just what Washington head coach Karl Finley needed to make adjustments.
Finley’s hafltime pep talk team paid off, as the Eagles scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to defeat rival Lincoln 28-6.
“They came out a lot stronger in the second half, made some good drives, didn’t turn the ball over, and we played a little better defense,” Finley said. “We told them they needed to play a little harder, a little more controlled football [with] a little more focus.”
The Bell Game is the yearly matchup between the cross-town rivals. The winner gets to keep the Bell until next year’s game and ring it after a victory.
“The second half, we got a little pep talk in, and everybody was hungry and ready to go,” said Washington running back Jeremy Jetton.
Jetton was a threat on offense, defense and special teams. In the third quarter, he found an opening and scored easily on a 2-yard run to put the Eagles up 13-6.
Jetton followed up his touchdown run with a fourth quarter interception, setting up a six-play Washington touchdown drive from the Lincoln 20-yard line. Running back Galen Hall finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Finally, with less than two minutes remaining in the game, and with an Eagles win nearly in the bag, Jetton sealed the win with a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown, and then caught a pass to convert the following two-point conversion, setting the final score at 28-6
Jetton was part of the trio of running backs that anchored the Eagle offense. Jetton had 67 yards rushing 10 carries, Peter Tran added 82 yards on 12 carries and Hall rounded out the trio as the Eagle’s leading rusher, with 95 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
Lincoln’s play, however, was not without highlights.
Lincoln sophomore quarterback Derek Morrell threw for 189 yards on 8-for-18 passing and Lazare Gubeladaze had three receptions for 68 yards, to go along with another 68 rushing yards on 18 carries.
“I think we competed hard,” said Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno. “We tried our best. My hat’s off to them, they kicked our butt. Hats off to both teams, they both played hard. They were just better today.”
Along with the rivalry, this weekend marked the start of league play for both Academic Athletic Association teams.
Still, the win keeps the Bell at Washington for the second consecutive year.
“It’ll stay here forever,” Jetton, a senior, said. “I might come back and visit it again, it’s ours.”
W: 8:49 — Galen Hall 10-yard run (Adam Badi kick good)
L: 5:48 — Nick Neutall 53-yard pass from Derek Morrell (Juan Velasquez kick blocked)
W: 4:24 — Jeremy Jetton 2-yard run. (Badi kick missed)
W: 2:01 —Galen Hall 1-yard run. (Badi kick good)
W: 1:14 — Jetton 55-yard punt return. (Jetton pass from Aram Gevandian on conversion)
Photo slideshow by Tawnya Gray and Denise Chiang