The Miami Trace Panthers visited Gardner Park Friday night for the 52nd meeting with the Washington Blue Lions.
The Panthers were looking to break a four-game losing streak against their Fayette County rivals.
On a cool, but rain-free Oct. 2, the Panthers and Blue Lions battled to the end.
The Panthers began the game with a 27-0 lead.
However, the Blue Lions scored 31 unanswered points to take a 31-27 lead.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the final three minutes, with the Blue Lions posting a dramatic 38-33 victory, extending the streak to five in a row over the Panthers.
Miami Trace took the opening kickoff and drove the ball down the field.
Sophomore Jayden LeBeau capped the initial possession with a 1-yard run with 9:54 to play in the opening quarter.
Sophomore Zach Warnock converted the extra-point kick to make it 7-0.
On Washington’s first possession, they had the ball near mid-field. With a fourth down and one situation, the Blue Lions went for it, but were stopped, giving the ball back to the Panthers on downs.
On Miami Trace’s next possession, a pass from junior quarterback Westin Melvin was tipped by a Blue Lion defensive lineman and intercepted by sophomore Traeton Johnson with 4:02 to play in the quarter.
The Blue Lions began at their own 36-yard line, but soon had to punt.
A long gain by LeBeau set the Panthers up for a 9-yard touchdown run by LeBeau.
Warnock’s kick made it 14-0 with 10 seconds to play in the quarter.
The Panthers scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter.
With 5:27 to play in the half, Melvin ran for a 15-yard touchdown. The extra-point kick was blocked.
At the 4:03 mark of the second quarter, Melvin hooked up with senior Josh Gilmore for a pass play that covered 74 yards and resulted in a touchdown.
Warnock’s kick was good, putting the Panthers in front, 27-0.
With just four seconds to play in the half, Washington senior quarterback Ethan Rogers-Wright found sophomore Trevaughn Jackson for a touchdown pass of 20 yards. The extra-point kick by Washington was blocked, making it 27-6.
With 8:51 to play in the third quarter, the Blue Lions hit pay-dirt once again as Rogers-Wright connected with sophomore A.J. Dallmayer for a 59-yard touchdown.
The Blue Lions tried a two-point conversion pass, which was no good. The Panthers led 27-12 with 8:51 to play in the third quarter.
After recovering an on-side kick, the Blue Lions went down and scored on a 23-yard run by Rogers-Wright with 6:37 to play in the third quarter.
Washington tried running the ball in for two, but it was no good, setting the score at 27-18.
Once again, the Blue Lions attempted an on-side kick, which was recovered by junior Tyler Tackage of Washington.
However, on this possession, the Blue Lions had to punt back to the Panthers.
The score remained 27-18 at the end of the third quarter.
Following a long drive by the Panthers that stalled in Blue Lion territory, junior Tyler Tackage ran for 62 yards for a touchdown.
An extra-point pass by the Blue Lions was no good, setting the score at 27-24, Panthers with 8:47 to play in the game.
The teams traded scores in the final 5:14 of the game.
Tackage had a 5-yard run for a touchdown and sophomore R.J. Foose made the extra-point kick to give the Blue Lions a 31-27 lead.
The Panthers answered right back with a 59-yard pass play from Melvin to Gilmore. The Panthers went for a two-point conversion that was no good.
Miami Trace led, 33-31 with 3:05 remaining.
The Blue Lions converted on a crucial fourth-down play to keep the final scoring drive alive.
The Blue Lions connected for a touchdown pass, but a penalty on Washington nullified that score.
With seven seconds remaining in the game, Rogers-Wright found sophomore Tanner Lemaster in the end zone for a touchdown of 24 yards.
Foose made the extra-point kick to set the score at 38-33.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Blue Lions recovered a fumble by the Panthers and ran one play to end the game.
Taking a look at the team stats, the Panthers ran 55 plays for a total of 460 yards.
The Blue Lions ran 64 plays for 438 total yards.
The Panthers carried the ball 38 times for 238 yards.
Washington had 28 carries for 184 yards.
Rogers-Wright complete 21 of 36 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Melvin was 11 of 17 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
LeBeau led Miami Trace with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Rogers-Wright led Washington with 108 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries.
Gilmore had five receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Jackson had 10 catches for 96 yards and one touchdown.
Washington finishes the six-game regular season at 3-3 overall, 3-2 in the FAC, good for third place.
Miami Trace goes 3-3 overall, 2-3 in the conference, placing fourth.
The Chillicothe Cavaliers won the 2020 FAC title with a 30-27 double overtime win at home over previously undefeated Jackson.
Chillicothe is now 5-1 overall, 5-0 in the FAC.
Jackson places second at 4-1 in the FAC. They are 5-1 overall.
Hillsboro rallied to defeat McClain, 21-16.
Hillsboro places fifth in the FAC at 1-4, 1-5 overall.
McClain goes into its playoff game at 0-6 overall, 0-5 in the FAC.
Washington will now get ready to host Thurgood Marshall Saturday at 7 p.m.
Miami Trace will travel to Chillicothe to play the Cavaliers next Friday at 7 p.m.