It was the annual Homecoming football game for Washington (3-1) as they hosted the visiting Monroe Hornets (1-3) on Friday, Sept. 15 at Gardner Park.
Washington received the opening kickoff and a great return by Mason Coffman set the Blue Lions up near midfield. A big third down conversion from quarterback Gavin Coffman to Mason got the ball inside the Monroe 30-yard line. Another big completion from Coffman to Coffman put the ball inside the five-yard line. Two plays later, Coffman found sophomore Noah Haithcock in the back of the end zone who went up and made a contested catch for a touchdown. The extra point was good, giving the Blue Lions a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
A big play from Brayeson Self on the ensuing kickoff backed the Hornets up inside their own 20. Washington would get a stop on third down, but a personal foul on the Blue Lions would extend the drive. Moments later, Monroe broke off a big run and got the ball inside the red zone. The Hornets would cap the drive off with a rushing touchdown and convert the extra point to tie the game.
On the third play of Washington’s next series, Coffman hit Rocky Jones deep down the middle of the field for a 74-yard touchdown. The PAT was good to make it 14-7 which was the score at the end of the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Gabe Perez intercepted a Monroe pass and returned it into Hornet territory. A deep pass from Coffman to Coffman set the Blue Lions up with first-and-goal from the eight-yard line. A penalty and a negative play had Washington looking at fourth-and-goal from the 32-yard line. The Blue Lions would turn the ball over on downs to give the ball back to the Hornets.
Monroe was driving into Blue Lion territory on the next drive but had to settle for a 36-yard field goal attempt. The try was no good as Washington regained possession.
Washington was forced to punt on the next drive but converted a fourth down inside their own 30 on a fake punt. Unfortunately, the conversion was nullified by a penalty to push the Blue Lions inside their own 20. They would attempt another fake punt but the pass fell incomplete to set up the Hornets inside the red zone.
On the very next play, Monroe ran an option and the pitch was intercepted by Mason Coffman, the 31st of his career. On the first play of the possession for Washington, Coffman hit Isaiah Haithcock deep downfield to get the ball in Hornet territory. Coffman would look for his older brother on the next three plays but all attempts were incomplete, forcing a punt late in the second quarter.
Monroe would run out the last moments and take the game to halftime with Washington ahead 14-7.
The Hornets possessed the ball to begin the third quarter but were forced to punt the ball away.
Back-to-back big plays by Mason Coffman got the Blue Lions just outside of the red zone on their next possession. Washington was later looking at a fourth-and-seven from the Hornet 23-yard line and were unable to convert, turning the ball over on downs.
Monroe quickly got the ball to midfield on a couple of long runs and a personal foul against the Blue Lions had them just outside the red zone. Three plays later, the Hornets would find the end zone and and convert the PAT to tie the game at 14 with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter.
A long run on an end around to Mason Coffman had the Blue Lions in business on the next drive as the clock wound down in the third quarter. The score remained knotted at 14 going into the fourth. As Washington was driving toward the end zone, a pass from Coffman was deflected and intercepted by a Hornet defender and returned for a touchdown to give Monroe their first lead of the game. The PAT was successful to make it 21-14.
A big catch by Rocky Jones had Washington at midfield early in the next drive. Moments later, Isaiah Haithcock was thrown a jump ball and went up and snatched it out of the air with a defender draped all over him, putting the Blue Lions inside the red zone. Two plays later, Coffman threw Haithcock another jump ball that he went up and caught for a touchdown. The extra point was good to tie it at 21 with under eight minutes left in the contest.
Monroe moved quickly down the field on the next series following a long kick return and two long runs. A big run by the Hornet quarterback got the ball to the Washington 14-yard line and on the next play, Monroe would break off a 14-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good to make it 28-21 in favor of the Hornets.
There was a personal foul on Washington after the PAT that Monroe elected to enforce on the kickoff. With the Hornets kicking off already in Blue Lion territory following the penalty, they elected to try an onside kick which was successful to give possession right back to Monroe.
A few plays later, Monroe ran a counter play that went for a touchdown and the extra point was good to make it 35-21.
The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by the Blue Lions and recovered by Monroe just outside the red zone. The Blue Lions were able to force Monroe to attempt a 35-yard field goal on fourth-and-ten, but an offside penalty would make it fourth-and-five from the 13-yard line and the Hornets elected to go for it. They would score on the play from 13 yards out but the PAT was unsuccessful, making the score 41-21.
After Washington turned the ball over on downs, Monroe was able to milk most of the remaining time off of the clock and scored a rushing touchdown on fourth-and-goal with just 10 seconds remaining in the game. The PAT was good to make it 48-21 in favor of the Hornets, which ended up being the final score.
Washington (3-2) is back in action at home next week as they begin play in the Frontier Athletic Conference by hosting the Jackson Ironmen (4-1).
Monroe (2-3) will play at home against Franklin (1-4) next week.