Salisbury rolls past Washington in 2AA playoffs, 32-12

Published 12:55 am Saturday, November 23, 2019

Staff report

WASHINGTON, N.C. — Salisbury’s defense put 13 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter, igniting a 32-12 second-round state 2AA playoff victory over Washington, here Friday night.

Coach Brian Hinson’s Hornets are now 11-2 and will head east again next week, traveling to Hertford. Washington, the No. 2 seed, ends its season at 9-4.

Salisbury, seeded seventh, turned the ball over on downs on its first series but then the defense held the Pam Pack and forced a punting situation. Washington faked the punt but fumbled, and Hornets’ linebacker Jabril Norman scooped it up and sprinted 45 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

On Washington’s very next possession, the offense fumbled again. Just like Norman’s play, Salisbury defensive back Lawon Blackwell picked up the loose ball and scored from 20 yards out. The extra point was good and suddenly, Salisbury led, 13-0.

Salisbury running backs Mike McLean and JyMikaah Wells picked up chunks of yardage for the remainder of the first half. Quarterback Vance Honeycutt hit receiver Patrick Taylor for a 10-yard touchdown pass and then Wells had a scoring run. It was 27-0, the Pam Pack was stunned and the Hornets were not finished.

Before halftime, defensive end Dontez Witherspoon sacked the Washington quarterback, Antwone Godley, in the end zone for a safety. Then kicker Josh Portillo nailed a field goal for a 32-0 advantage at intermission.

Salisbury coasted in the second half and the Pam Pack finally hit pay dirt on its second drive in the third period. Godley found Walt Gerard on an out route and the receiver raced down the sideline for a 70-yard TD.

An onside kick was then recovered by Washington and two plays later, Godley turned up field on an option play and went 55 yards for a touchdown. That score cut the home team’s deficit to 32-12, but that would cap all scoring.

The Washington defense held the Hornets offense to modest numbers, but the Salisbury defense is as real as its statistics. After holding opponents to 8.2 points per game in the regular season, Salisbury has yielded just seven points (Mount Pleasant) and 12 points to playoff foes.

The Pam Pack offense faced tough starting positions for a large part of the night. It started inside its own 10-yard line three times, and once inside the 5. Salisbury, meanwhile, began the majority of its drives, including all of the scoring drives, in plus-territory.

“Great win and I’m very proud of the kids,” Hinson said, on the WSAT Memories 1280 broadcast. “The defensive scores early were huge for us. They (Washington) were home and those plays shifted the momentum our way. Offensively, we didn’t execute very well in the second half, but the defense continued to play well the entire game.”

Mitchell Thomas of the Washington Daily News and WSAT Memories 1280 contributed to this article.