Michael Washington probably wouldn’t mind if all of Fox Lane’s football games were played on Friday the 13th under a full moon.
The senior running back rushed for 141 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Foxes to a 46-15 rout of visiting Horace Greeley in Friday night’s latest clash between the neighboring rivals. Three of his TDs came in the game’s opening half when Fox Lane was opening up an insurmountable 34-0 advantage en route to its second straight victory to start the 2019 season.
“He’s a big, strong running back,” said Fox Lane head coach Bill Broggy about Washington, who scored on runs of 12, 9 and 4 yards before halftime. “He’s a great back, so you’ve just gotta give him the ball. You know he’s gonna break ‘em every once in a while.”
Fox Lane took control of the contest on its first possession of the evening, using up nearly five minutes of the clock and marching 59 yards on 10 plays. Washington carried the ball half a dozen times on the drive, which ended with senior quarterback Spencer Rowley rolling to his right and passing to Lucas Friedman in the right side of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. Rowley’s point-after kick gave the Foxes a 7-0 lead just past the midway point of the opening quarter.
After Greeley went three-and-out for the second straight time, the Foxes took possession of the ball at the Quakers’ 33-yard line. Six plays later, Washington raced up the middle 12 yards for his first touchdown of the game. The PAT from Rowley gave Fox Lane a 14-0 advantage with 1:34 to go in the first quarter.
On the last play of the period, a third-and-eight pass by Greeley’s Brent Rosendorf was picked off by Randy Ventura Velasquez just past midfield. On first down, Thomas Olsen’s 46-yard touchdown jaunt was nullified by a penalty. But just two plays later, Rowley, who finished 7-for-7 throwing the ball, connected with Marcial Vasquez for a 55-yard touchdown.
The Quakers again were stopped quickly by the Fox Lane defense. Taking over at their own 39-yard line, the Foxes needed just two minutes to go 61 yards for another touchdown. The quick drive began with a 44-yard run down the right sideline by Washington and ended with him blasting nine yards up the middle. The kick by Rowley gave the Foxes a 28-0 cushion with 6:35 left in the half.
Greeley finally managed to collect a first down when Mike Meringolo scrambled for a 19-yard gain. An 11-yard pass play to Danny Meringolo moved the ball into Fox Lane territory for the first time, but the drive was ended by three incompletions and a combined sack of Rosendorf by Dean Caico and Griffin Zegras.
The Foxes all but put the game out of reach when they closed the half by moving the ball 45 yards in seven plays. Washington powered his way through the line the last four yards with just 30 seconds left on the clock, stretching the lead to 34-0.
Asked afterwards what kind of encouragement he could give his overwhelmed team at halftime, Greeley coach Joe Kearns said, “The message was actually that we could get back in this thing. We knew that we were a better team than the way we were playing. So the message wasn’t anything about pride, to be honest. It was still about winning the game, despite the score. And even though that didn’t happen, we responded in the second half with much better defense and a couple of scoring drives.”
The Quakers, still scoreless after six quarters this season, finally managed to put some points on the board five minutes into the second half. A 39-yard punt return by Mike Meringolo set up a six-play, 36-yard drive that featured two Rosendorf completions to Isak Davydov and then a 12-yard touchdown run by Thomas Brennan. An improbable Meringolo to Meringolo pass play after a high snap then provided Greeley with a two-point conversion.
But Washington’s fourth touchdown of the night, from four yards out again, three and a half minutes later enabled the Foxes to take a 40-8 lead into the final quarter. Christian Horvath, who finished with 104 yards on 22 carries, ran three yards for Fox Lane’s final touchdown of the game with 7:22 remaining. Greeley closed the scoring on Mike Meringolo’s impressive cutback 30-yard touchdown run and Brennan’s extra point with 5:42 to go.
“We played well in the second half last week (an 8-2 win at Tappan Zee) and I think we wanted to build on that, and we did,” said Broggy. ”We were a young team last week, so there was a lot of nervous energy in the first half. We made some mistakes, got some penalties. We were behind the sticks and cleaned that up. And you could see what we can do when we don’t have penalties and stuff.”
As for the Quakers, who were also crushed by Somers in last week’s opener and have already surrendered 100 points this season, there was the small consolation of finally scoring their first touchdowns of 2019.
“It was priceless,” said Kearns about finding the end zone in the third quarter. “We needed it, and it was a start to what we’re trying to do this year, which is to get better every week. We got better this week than we were last week. Our job now is to get better next week.”
Andy is a sports editor at Examiner Media, covering seven high schools in the mid-Westchester region with a notebook and camera. He began there in the fall of 2007 following 15 years as a candid photographer for the largest school picture company in the tri-state area.