Washington scores 6 TDs as Warriors rout Colonels

STEPHENS CITY — Now that’s how you make a lead stand up.
After Sherando junior T.J. Washington opened the game with an 97-yard kickoff return, the Warriors defense held James Wood to minus-36 yards in the first half and nine yards for the game as Sherando defeated James Wood 58-8 Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
Washington’s kickoff return touchdown was the first of his six scores on the night. He also added five TDs rushing and gained 92 yards on 19 carries.
The Warriors had been dominant in winning five of their last six meetings with the Colonels by 34 points or more.
But in the first season-opening game in the 25-year history of the Frederick County and Northwestern District rivals, the Warriors simply never gave the Colonels a chance to get into the game because of the way they swarmed on defense against James Wood’s pistol wing-T offense.
“We’ve been working on pressure all week,” said Sherando senior linebacker Mike Perry, who had two of the Warriors’ five first-half sacks. “That was our game plan, and I think we executed pretty well tonight.”
To say the least. Sixteen of James Wood’s 22 plays in the first half went for negative yardage, one went for no gain and two resulted in interceptions. Sherando scored touchdowns off of all three Colonel turnovers in the first half.
James Wood had minus-18 yards rushing on 30 carries, and 27 pass yards. The Colonels lost 27 yards from its total yardage when a snap went over punter Jacob Sortino’s head and he was forced to kick the ball out of the end zone for a safety on the first play of the second quarter.
James Wood’s only touchdown came on an 82-yard kickoff return by William Crowder on the last play of the first half. A two-point conversion made it 51-8 at the break.
The Warriors (1-0 overall and district) did all this without standout two-way junior linemen Isaiah Allen, who was not dressed to play on the first day of the preseason and remained sidelined in Friday’s opener.
“I thought [defense coordinator T.J.] Rohrbaugh did a great job with the game plan,” Sherando coach Bill Hall said. “The guys did a good job being aggressive, reading keys, and executing the calls.
“I think our outside edge guys, [linebackers] Mike [Perry] and Joe [Kelliher] did a great job keeping everything bottled in so our guys could flow well.”
James Wood (0-1 overall and district) decided to test what the Warriors’ defense was about right from the start.
After Washington’s return, the Colonels’ lost one yard on their first play from scrimmage and two on their second trying to run the ball. Quarterback Mike Zebarth connected with Jordan Loy on a eight-yard pass over the middle to set up a fourth-and-5 at the Colonel 30.
James Wood decided to go for it because head coach Ryan Morgan wanted to establish an aggressive tone, but the Warriors broke though quickly to drop Zebarth for an eight-yard loss.
Washington fumbled the ball on the next play to give James Wood the ball at its own 22. But that opening possession turned out to be the beginning of a pattern. The Colonels lost 14 yards in going three-and-out on their next possession before punting.
“They’re big and aggressive up front, and they were blitzing,” said Morgan, who was making his varsity coaching debut after guiding the Colonels’ JV team to a 9-0 record last year. “They were sending a lot of guys, and they were hemming us in with the outside linebackers.
“We have to play better up front. I mentioned the other day that this game was going to be won and lost up front, and it was. They were coming off the ball harder than we were. When you don’t have time in the backfield to run your offense, there’s not much you can do. It was a frustrating night, but we’ll get better.”
Washington provided all the momentum the Warriors needed at the outset. He retreated to grab the kickoff at the 3-yard line, ran to the left and surged through a hole at the 33-yard line, and blazed the rest of the way in with no problem.
“Everybody did their job on their blocking, I saw a hole, and I hit it and scored,” Washington said.
Washington said he couldn’t more pleased with the blocking he had on offensive plays too. The Warriors’ starting line on Friday was Nick Corbit at left tackle, Joel Santmier at left guard, Daniel Boespflug at center, Zach McCarty at right guard and Zach Kales at right tackle.
They helped Washington score from 11 yards and five yards out in the first quarter to make it 21-0, and from six, three and seven yards out in the second quarter.
“If we were giving out a game ball, I’d give it to my line,” Washington said. “They did a great job for me, [quarterback] Hunter [Entsminger], and [running back] JoJo [Doleman].”
Sherando gained 306 yards total. Entsminger completed 10 of 11 passes for 120 yards and a 17-yard TD pass to Doleman. Doleman also had a one-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Doleman’s cousin Malachi Doleman had two interceptions to set up touchdowns, and new kicker Stone Garver made all eight of his extra points.
The Warriors now lead the all-time series 26-2 (3-0 playoffs).
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