On one of the nicest weather nights for a Miami Trace vs Washington game in the last several years the Panthers visited Gardner Park to take on the Blue Lions Friday night.
Washington entered the game at 7-2 overall, 3-1 in the FAC.
Miami Trace was 4-5 going in, 2-2 in the conference.
In what turned out to be a very close game, one with many penalties on both teams, the Blue Lions emerged with a 33-28 victory.
Both schools will make the playoffs next week.
The pairings for the playoffs will be announced Sunday afternoon.
Miami Trace got on the board first with a 15-yard run by Landen Cope at the 9:01 mark of the first quarter.
Zach Warnock’s kick gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
The Blue Lions responded at the 2:41 mark of the initial period on a 27-yard pass from Troy Thompson to Calum Brown.
R.J. Foose tied the game with the extra-point kick.
In the second quarter, Thompson connected with Tanner Lemaster for a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Foose made the kick to put Washington in front, 14-7 with 5:14 to play in the first half.
Asher LeBeau and the Panthers responded with a 1-yard touchdown run. Warnock completed the score with his extra-kick with 39 seconds to play in the half.
Washington’s Mason Coffman had a very long kickoff return for a touchdown on the ensuing play.
However, an illegal block by the Blue Lions nullified that score.
It remained 14-14 at the half.
After an entertaining halftime show by both bands, it was time for the exciting second half of play.
Cope had a 25-yard touchdown run at the 6:57 mark of the third quarter. Warnock’s kick was true.
Washington’s Michael Bearden had a 78-yard touchdown run and Foose’s kick at the 6:32 mark tied the game, 21-21.
In the fourth quarter, Thompson hit Isaiah Haithcock for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
However, the extra-point attempt, which was a run after a bad snap, failed, leaving the Blue Lions with a 27-21 lead with 7:12 to play.
As the flags continued to fly, the Panthers had a nice kickoff return to give themselves the ball near midfield.
The Panthers scored on a pass from Trey Robinette to Garrett Guess, good for 22 yards. Warnock’s kick gave the Panthers a 28-27 lead with 2:03 to play in the game.
Washington got the ball on their own 32-yard line.
Several plays and a few more penalties later, with just 8 seconds to play in the game, Thompson hit A.J. Dallmayer for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Blue Lions went for two, but the play was stopped. Washington held a 33-28 lead.
The Panthers had the ball with just a few seconds left. A pass was batted down, ending the game.
“The thing is, our kids are resilient,” Washington head coach Chuck Williamson said. “Last week was a real downer, but we bounced back.
“I think I was more nervous than anyone,” Williamson said. After the Panthers took the lead, “They looked me right in the eye and said, ‘coach, we’ve got this. We’ll go down and score’ and they did.
“Troy, what a great read by him,” Williamson said of the winning pass to Dallmayer. “He read the defense, surveyed it and hit him for the touchdown.”
“I just hate this for my seniors,” Miami Trace head coach Jerry Williams said. “These guys just played their hearts out. These guys played so hard. They left it on the field. They gave me everything they could this week.
“It’s just one of those games,” Williams said. “It’s always been real close like that. Almost every time it comes down to the last play of the game. It didn’t work in our favor tonight.”