By Graham Henderson
While the rest of the Academic Athletic League’s playoff-bound football teams will have to be content watching the tape, Washington High School and Galileo Academy got to warm up for the playoffs against the real thing.
Washington beat the visiting Lions handily 55-13 on Thursday, but Galileo will have a shot at redemption next week, when the teams meet again at Washington for the league semifinals.
Both teams were tied for second place in the league coming into the game, and with the win, Washington (8-2, 6-1) secured the second seed, but more importantly, also earned home-field advantage for the semifinal game.
The Eagles fumbled on their first play of the game, but forced a Lions (6-5, 5-2) fumble just four plays later, and then let their run-heavy offense go to work.
“We worked on our run game all week,” Washington head coach Karl Finley said. “We set a tempo in the run game. Hopefully that’s going to carry into the next week, and hopefully the week after that.”
Seniors Galen Hall and Jeremy Jetton set the pace for the Washington offense. Hall finished the game with 105 yards on seven carries and also caught the ball twice for 69 yards. Jetton, for his part, led the Eagles with 150 yards on 17 carries and also ran a kickoff back 77 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.
“Our line played way better than we played before,” Jetton said. “We just came out hungry and wanted to fight hard to the end. This win is very important because we want to host them here for the playoffs.”
Neither Jetton nor Hall played much during the second half, as the Eagles led 41-7 at the break.
Galileo was without standout running back Quincy Nelson, who remained sidelined with a knee injury.
That left senior quarterback Jonathan Lu to lead the Lions offense. While he struggled with accuracy, going 8-for-20 with two interceptions, Lu did rack up 213 total yards.
Lions head coach Mark Huynh said that missing one good player is not an excuse for such a lopsided loss.
“It didn’t matter if we’d had Quincy, because we still gave up 41 points [in a half],” Huynh said. “Quincy’s not going to score 41 points, and [the team] needs to understand that. Right now, they’re still thinking that they’re missing people, but they need to do their jobs.”
Nelson was on the sideline in a knee brace during the game, but won’t figure to return until the AAA title game on Thanksgiving, if the Lions can beat Washington next week.
“What we have is what we have,” Huynh said. “We just need to be tougher, they were just tougher than us today.”
W: 9:25 — Jeremy Jetton 3-yard run (Adam Badi kick good)
G: 9:17 — Erik Wilson 75-yard pass from Jonathan Lu (Haroon Mohammed kick good)
W: 6:57 — Galen Hall 1-yard run (Badi kick good)
W: 1:05 — John DeGuzman 12-yard run (Badi kick no good)
W: 10:05 — Hall 31-yard pass from Adam Gevandian (Badi kick good)
W: 5:54 — Jetton 11-yard run (Badi kick good)
W: 0:46 — Hall 2-yard run (Badi kick good)
W: 10:47 — Lajarie Mabrey 43-yard run (Badi kick good)
G: 9:25 — Wilson 5-yard run (Mohammed kick blocked)
W: 9:15 — Jetton 77-yard kickoff return (Badi kick good)