Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — Time was not on Washington side Friday night as Grinnell found the end zone in the waning moments of the game, to hand the Demons their first Class 3A district 5 loss.
The Tigers took the district opener 28-21.
Neither team wasted any time putting points on the board as both scored on their opening drives.
Washington (2-3, 0-1) opened the game with a large quantity of runs, which included a number of carries from leading back Tayven Stuart.
Stuart and the Demons would cap off the opening drive with a three yard punch in to make it 7-0.
“We marched right down the field,” Washington head coach Nick Ehret said. “That was good to see and a good way to start the game. We had not done that in a couple of weeks.”
Grinnell wasted no time answering back with a kick off return that put the Tigers inside the Washington 20. The drive was ended with a Tiger touchdown to make it 7-7.
The Demons wouldn’t get anything going on the offensive end until the final minutes of the second quarter, as they were forced to punt twice and turned the ball over on an interception.
In the mean time, Grinnell sophomore quarterback Brady Coffman went to work, putting the Tigers up 14, on a pair of back-to-back 21 plus yard touchdown passes.
While it was looking like the Tigers were going to head into the locker room with a 21-7 lead, the Demons special teams came up huge before the end of the half.
On 4th and long, Grinnell was set to punt, but the ball slipped through the hands of the Tiger’s punter and the Demons were able to jump on it, setting up a short field.
Washington quarterback Ethan Patterson then darted home from three yards out to cut the Grinnell lead to seven, 21-14, before the half.
The Tigers nearly scored as time expired as Coffman found the end zone with zero on the clock from about 30 yards out, but it was called back on holding.
Out of the locker room, the Washington special teams came up with the Demon’s biggest play of the night.
Grinnell was set to punt once again deep in their own territory, when Washington sophomore Jude Carter darted toward the punter and blocked the kick sending into the Tigers end zone. Carter then proceeded to fall on the ball, giving Washington the equalizing score, 21-21.
“Special teams has been a struggle for us for most of this year so it was good to see us make big plays tonight,” Ehret said. “Our guys battled hard and came back down two scores.”
The 21-21 score would stick until the final minutes of the game as neither team could get anything going up, as both punted back and forth.
The Demons had a great chance to take the lead late on fourth and 11 in Tiger territory, but the pass was dropped three yards from the goal line.
Grinnell would be the first to break the offensive spell and it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.
Coffman got the Tiger’s pass game going once again as they connected on a 41 yard completion that put them down at the Demons 25.
A penalty then put Grinnell back to 1st and 22, but they connected on a 32 yard pass to put them at the five with 53.9 to go.
Coffman would give the Tigers the lead from six yards out to, 28-21, which would be the winning score.
Washington would get a couple chances with under 40 seconds to go and two and back-to-back penalties brought them a little closer, but the Tigers brought pressure and the Demons couldn’t complete the pass.
“They didn’t do anything that we weren’t prepared for,” Ehret said. “We knew they were going to be physical. They had some athletic receivers that made some plays. They made plays and we just didn’t at times. Hats off to them, they played a good game. I’m really proud of how our kids fought. They fought the whole game. We battle back.”
Grinnell topped Washington in total yards 342 to 184 and 215 to 63 in the passing game.
Patterson completed seven passes on the night for 63 yards and ran for 45 more. Stuart had 62 yards on the ground. Alec Ulin finished with eight tackles on the defensive end.
Washington drops to 2-3 with the loss and 0-1 in district play. The Demons will head out on the road in their next matchup with Solon.