As seems to be the case the last several years, whenever the Washington Blue Lions host the Miami Trace Panthers in the season-ending battle of Fayette County, the rains settle in and continue unabated all evening long.
And they usually end about the time the game ends, which was the case last night.
In the 50th meeting of the two teams on the gridiron, Washington defeated Miami Trace, 34-7 Friday night at Gardner Park.
Washington ends the season with a record of 7-3 overall, 3-2 in the Frontier Athletic Conference.
Miami Trace finishes the 2018 campaign with a record of 2-8 overall, 0-5 in the FAC.
Washington will now wait and see if enough of the many other things they needed to have happen Friday night actually did happen in order for them to` make the playoffs.
Washington held a 20-7 lead at the end of the first half.
The Blue Lions put two scores on the board in the first quarter.
Dillon Steward ran for a 43-yard touchdown with 4:28 to play in the first quarter. The two-point conversion run was no good.
Late in the first quarter, with 34 seconds remaining, Steward ran for a 64-yard score.
The Blue Lions attempted a pass for the conversion, but it failed.
The Panthers got on the board at the 7:51 mark of the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Tyler Taylor. Justin Shoemaker made the extra-point kick.
Steward passed to Omar Porter for a 13-yard score with 5:57 to play in the first half.
Steward passed to Jameson McCane for the conversion and a 20-7 halftime lead.
Washington scored once in the third quarter and once in the fourth.
Steward scored on a 7-yard run with 6:57 to play in the third. The pass for two was no good.
Then, with 1:07 to play in the game, Steward connected again with Omar Porter for a 4-yard scoring pass.
Brandon Cubbage passed to Porter for the conversion, setting what would be the final score of 34-7.
“It was a miserable night,” Washington head coach Chuck Williamson said. “All the credit goes to our senior leadership. They played hard. We wish it had been a dry track, but both teams had to play in it.
“We came out and got the win and that’s what it’s all about,” Williamson said. “Now we’re scoreboard watching. I know at halftime, everybody we needed to be losing was losing.
“We’re going to go home and wait for the scores and hope everything works out for us,” Williamson said.
“That last one is always a tough one,” Miami Trace head coach Jerry Williams said. “I’m very happy with the way these guys played. They battled until the last second. They battled on each snap.
“There was no questioning their effort,” Williams said. “I’m very proud of our four seniors. It’s always a tough feeling when you say goodbye to four seniors who have been battling for you.
“I have one senior who broke his hand tonight,” Williams said. “He wasn’t going to quit. They taped him back up and he went back in. That’s the kind of guys they are. They wanted to play football until the very last minute.”
Taking a look at the statistics, Washington had 404 yards of total offense to 138 for the Panthers.
Miami Trace ran 57 plays and Washington ran 56 plays.
Dillon Steward was 11 of 19 passing for 112 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
For the Panthers, Tyler Taylor was 3 of 17 passing for 37 yards and three interceptions.
Washington had 292 yards rushing on 37 attempts.
Miami Trace had 101 yards rushing on 39 attempts.
Steward carried 14 times for 209 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Blue Lions.
Jameson McCane added 83 yards on 22 carries.
Caden Sweitzer led the Panthers with 59 yards on 15 carries.
Dalton Mayer had 25 yards for Miami Trace on five carries.
Eli Lynch had six receptions for Washington for 97 yards.
Omar Porter had five catches for 15 yards and two touchdowns for Washington.
Josh Gilmore caught one pass for the Panthers for 22 yards.
Sweitzer had two receptions for 15 yards.
Defensively, Porter had two interceptions for Washington and Jalen Pettiford had one.
Dalton Mayer had one interception for the Panthers.
The Panthers had five turnovers to three for Washington on this inclement night.
Elsewhere around the Frontier Athletic Conference Friday, Jackson defeated Chillicothe, 20-7 and Hillsboro rolled over McClain, 68-7.
Hillsboro and Jackson both finish 4-1 in the FAC to earn a co-championship in the second year of the conference.
Hillsboro goes 9-1 overall and will be in the playoffs.
Jackson finishes the 2018 season with a record of 7-3. The Ironmen appear to be in, as well, in Division III, Region 11. However, nothing is official until the Ohio High School Athletic Association releases its final computer ratings.
Chillicothe finishes the year at 7-3 and places in a tie for third in the FAC with the Blue Lions, both at 3-2. The Cavs will miss the playoffs.
McClain went 2-8 this season, 1-4 in the conference.
Note: Friday’s win was the third in a row for Washington over Miami Trace. It is only the second time in the history of the rivalry that Washington has accomplished that feat.
The previous time was 1968, 1969 and 1970.