By Bonta Hill
Stopping Washington High School’s running game has been a struggle for nearly every team in the Academic Athletic Association this season, and this week was no different for Galileo Academy.
The Lions were unable to slow the visiting Eagles’ single-wing attack, as Washington churned out 444 rushing yards in a runaway 62-14 win.
Senior running back Lajarie Mabrey showed off his power and speed, leading the Eagles (7-2, 6-0) with 220 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries to help Washington clinch the AAA regular-season championship.
“I’m just running hard in practice and it’s paying off. The offensive line is playing well and they make it easy for me,” said Mabrey, who also recovered a fumble in the end zone for another touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The lone bright spot for Galileo (3-6, 1-5) was sophomore running back Ronzel Fox, who ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
But after his 51-yard touchdown run cut the Washington lead to 28-14 early in the third quarter, the Eagles exploded for 34 unanswered points.
It was the third consecutive game that Galileo has allowed more than 50 points and its fifth consecutive loss after starting the season 3-1.
“We talked about [Washington’s] run game and if you can’t stop it, this is what happens,” said Galileo head coach Mark Huynh. “It was the same as last week. We couldn’t tackle and if you can’t make the plays, the other team scores. In the end, a loss is a loss.”
The Eagles have appeared to learn from the slow start they had against Burton two weeks ago, and they started strong again on Friday.
Washington senior quarterback Aram Gevandian connected with his favorite target, tight end Phillip Montgomery, on a 46-yard touchdown pass to put the Eagles up 7-0 late in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Mabrey and fellow senior Jamie McHenry reached the end zone on consecutive drives to put the Eagles up 21-0 with 5:51 remaining in the half.
Even with the quick start, it was second-half burst that had Washington head coach Karl Finley feeling at-ease after the game.
“In the second half, we really dialed in and we got everybody into the game,” Finley said. “We haven’t put together that complete game yet, but we are getting better each week. This is a nice win.”
For Galileo, Huynh will try to rally his troops against Marshall next week to finish what has been a bumpy season with a win.
“We just have to come to practice, work hard and finish this season off strong,” Huynh said. “It’s going to be a tough game against Marshall. They’re going to come and hit hard, and if we don’t match their intensity, it’ll be the same result [as today].”
W: 2:49 — Phillip Montgomery 46-yard pass from Aram Gevandian (Adam Badi kick good)
W: 8:46 — LaJarie Mabrey 11-yard run (Badi kick good)
W: 5:51 — Jamie McHenry 24-yard run (Badi kick good)
G: 4:59 — Ronzel Fox 76-yard run (kick blocked)
W: 11:39 — Mabrey 55-yard run (Badi kick good)
G: 10:57 — Fox 51-yard run (Josh Lu pass from Kyle Nelson on conversion)
W: 10:24 — McHenry 10-yard run (Badi kick good)
W: 4:44 — Dequan Carter 28-yard run (Badi kick good)
W: 2:36 — Carter 40-yard run (Badi kick good)
W: 8:04 — Jerron Williams 8-yard run (Badi kick good)
W: 4:55 — Mabrey recovers fumble in end zone (kick failed)