When you play a team as explosive as George Washington with Kennedy Award-winning running back Ryan Switzer, you'd better be prepared to slap a few points on the scoreboard if you want to stay in the game.Certainly, Hurricane needs to put up more than 15 points, which is what happened the first time the two teams met this season, a 41-15 victory for the Patriots on Sept. 14.The Redskins (6-4) get another shot at GW (8-2) Friday night in the opening round of the Class AAA playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7:30 at Steve Edwards Sr. Field in South Hills."We'll have to figure out a way to score a few more points than last time,'' said Jeremy Taylor, Hurricane's first-year coach. "But as good as they are offensively, they're just as good defensively, so it's going to be a tough task.''
The Redskins barely ran for 100 yards the first time around against GW, but at least they put up two touchdowns back in September. When the teams met twice last year, the Patriots came away with wins of 35-0 (in the regular season) and 33-6 (in the playoff quarterfinals)."A lot of times, it's just an execution thing you're trying to do,'' Taylor said. "Really, every play is designed to score - it's just the execution of it. They've got athletes on the other end, and a lot of times the better athlete wins no matter what scheme you're in.''Hurricane certainly needs to get lead running back Zach Pate more into the offensive flow. In the first game, Pate was limited to 71 scrimmage yards - 19 yards on five carries and 52 yards on three catches. In the Redskins' other nine games this season, Pate averaged more than 130 yards from scrimmage.GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. wonders if the defense his team used against Hurricane the first time will have the same effect this weekend.
"I think the one thing to remember,'' Edwards said, "is that they're better now than they were early in the season. Certainly, they're running a lot more things. They've got a lot more experience."They replaced a lot of guys in the beginning of the season and had a lot of new guys out there. Being that early in the season, I don't think we're going to see the same ballclub [on Friday]. They're playing with a lot more confidence.''Edwards knows that whatever Hurricane decides to run on Friday, quarterback Austin Hensley will play a big part.Hensley handles the ball on virtually every play, so the offense goes through him. He's attempted 275 passes already this season and run the ball 87 times, so he's figured into 362 offensive plays in 10 games. He's thrown for 2,156 yards and 21 touchdowns."He's a really good quarterback,'' Edwards said. "He's got a strong arm and does a really nice job. He's got a good supporting cast to go with him, too, and a scheme that makes it all work.''In the first game with GW, Hensley hit on 11 of 29 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. It was the second-most amount of passing yardage allowed by the Patriots in the regular season.Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org