The battle for the Times Herald Highway 57 Helmet stretched over two days and an overtime before Washington defeated county rival North Daviess 13-7 on Saturday at Hatchet Hollow.
A game which began and was halted under stormy skies on Friday ended on a beautiful September evening on Saturday when Tyler Edmiston’s three-yard plunge on Washington’s second play from scrimmage in overtime gave the Hatchets’ a 13-7 victory.
Colton Lengacher, who led all rushers with 146 yards on 24 carries, had broken a 0-0 halftime tie with a 73-yard touchdown run just 3:30 into the second half which, coupled with the extra point by Ezra Thompson, had staked North Daviess (1-3) to a 7-0 lead. That lead had held until senior Kyle Pfender, who got the start at tailback for Washington (2-2) coach Kelly Brashear’s team and responded with 133 yards on 25 carries, had capped a six-play, 53-yard drive with a 17-yard run with 6:07 to play in the fourth quarter. Tyler Walls converted the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
The turning point for Washington may have been Lengacher’s long touchdown run. Brashear saw something in his defense when the Hatchets came off the field following that run that foreshadowed what was to come.
“We rebounded really well from that. The thing is, defensively, we had them right were we wanted them on that play, it was third down and long, and we let him rip off a fullback dive for a long touchdown run,” said Brashear.
“But watching the kids as they were coming off the field after that play, I didn’t see any kids hanging their head.
“I think we still knew as a team that we could score, and rebounded back and did that.”
North Daviess would gain just 33 yards over the remaining 20:30 of play and the overtime period. Lengacher missed the two Cougar drives after his touchdown run with a knee injury, though the junior returned to the fold for ND’s final drive of regulation and the Cougars’ overtime possession.
“He (Lengacher) hurt is knee a little bit. The doctor looked at him, it wasn’t serious, as soon as he could run well enough, he came back in the game,” said North Daviess coach Scotty Helms.
“I’m sure that with the knee being sore he wasn’t 100 percent, but he’s a battler, a tough kid, and I really appreciate his fortitude to get back in the game. He wanted back in the game.”
North Daviess won the toss and elected to go on offense first in the overtime, but the momentum the Hatchets gained from tying the game in the fourth quarter carried over into the extra session.
Starting at the 10-yard line per overtime rules, North Daviess promptly lost 13 yards in three plays before quarterback Brady Helms, under heavy pressure from the Hatchet defensive line, threw incomplete on fourth down.
Washington took over and Brashear called Pfender’s number, which netted WHS seven yards on first down. Edmiston, who added 74 yards on 15 carries, then bulled his way into the end zone from three yards out, sending the Hatchet sideline erupting onto the field and ending the game nearly 24 hours after it began.
For Pfender, one of 14 seniors on the Hatchet roster, getting the win and keeping the traveling trophy was important.
“It’s awesome. We really needed this win, it’ll give us a lot of momentum,” said Pfender. “We won the trophy back when I was freshman, and now we’ll have it all four years.”
Washington returns to Big 8 Conference play on Friday with a trip to Mt. Vernon. Washington will take a 2-2 overall record into that game after a 25-19 Evansville Bosse victory over the Hatchets in Week 2 became a WHS win by forfeit when it was discovered Bosse used an ineligible player in that contest.
North Daviess will remain on the road with a Southwest Seven Conference game at Union (Dugger) on Friday.