One tipped-extra point kick attempt.
One two-point try thwarted by the defense.
Two big plays that ultimately led to Escambia High’s hard-fought 28-26 homecoming victory over Washington Friday night at L.D. McArthur Stadium at Emmitt Smith Field.
With only pride on the line for both teams as season’s end draws near, the Gators and Wildcats played as if postseason was still a possibility.
“It was a good effort — our defense came up with the big play at the end,” Escambia coach Mike Davis said. “We had some young guys step up on offense when Frye got hurt, so overall, it was a good job tonight. We played with pride — that’s all we’ve got going on right now. We’ve just got to get better. Next week’s a big game for us, as we play for ‘The Tub (against Pensacola High)’.”
Escambia got on the board first as Ray Samuel, a sophomore replacement for starter Jabir Frye scored on a 35-yard run and Emilio Maldonado notched the PAT.
Washington evened the game as Garrett Foley connected with Rashaun Roby for a 50-yard touchdown pass just before being hit, and Anthony Hulion kicked the extra point at the tail end of the quarter.
With newfound momentum in the second, the Cats used a heavy dose of Tyree Jackson, who carried his team down to the 40 of Escambia. After a pass play, Jackson capped off the drive with a 31-yard scamper to make it 14-7 Washington with 6:36 until halftime.
However, the lead was short-lived, as Escambia soon took over.
A long Gator drive ended with a diving touchdown grab by Steven McGhee from Trea Berry from 8 yards out to even the score. After a Washington punt, Samuel took control with a 46-yard TD run for a 21-14 lead.
With time winding down in the half, Foley was picked off by Darius Grandison, who rumbled down to the Cats 13. With just 21.4 seconds on the clock, Berry found Samuel in stride to make it a two-score game.
In the second half, Washington’s defense held its ground, not allowing a point the last two quarters.
After a defensive struggle in the third, the Cats broke through in the fourth as Washington took advantage of a roughing the passer penalty and a fourth-down conversion before Jackson found the end zone untouched from 4-yards out with 9:32 left in the game.
But Escambia’s special teams came up big, as Aundre Pleas tipped the extra-point try just enough to keep it a 28-20 game.
After stopping Escambia’s offense, Washington had the last shot to score. Andre Hunt hit Roby on a long pass play to the Gators 19 as time ticked under two minutes.Washington soon faced fourth-and-goal, and Hunt delivered a scoring strike to Jackson with 20.1 second remaining. But the Gators came defense loomed large again, as a host of tacklers including Grandison and Corey Roberts stuffed Jackson before he reached the goal line.