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Washington-Liberty hangs on to defeat host Yorktown in football

Win over Patriots is Generals' first since the 2016 season
The Washington-Liberty Generals gather after defeating the host Yorktown Patriots the night of Sept. 14.

So here’s how it works, in recent seasons anyhow: When the football games are close, the Washington-Liberty Generals are able to defeat their biggest rival Yorktown Patriots. At least that’s been the case the two times the Generals have won those all-Arlington Liberty District high-school showdowns. Washington-Liberty on Sept. 14 came away with a 21-18 victory over the host Patriots, opening the season with a 4-0 record for the first time since 1978. Yorktown fell to 3-1.

Washington-Liberty previously defeated Yorktown by a 14-10 score in 2016. Yorktown had won the last six meetings, all by at least a touchdown or more, including a 27-0 rout in 2022.

“Yorktown is hard for us to beat,” Washington-Liberty coach Josh Shapiro said. “This year we were able to climb the mountain and win a big game against them.”

The Generals won by rallying from a 10-7 halftime deficit to take a 21-18 lead. Then, defensive lineman Ben Hughes made a big fourth-down tackle for no gain to end Yorktown’s final drive at the W-L 12-yard line with 1:39 to play. The Generals took possession and ran out the clock.

“Ben made a big play there. That was all him,” Shapiro said. “He got our defensive award for the game. Our offense was efficient in the second half and got things together, and our defense was good.”

Washington-Liberty’s two second-half touchdowns came on a two-yard run by Sean Guffey and an eight-yard pass from Jon Bhojwani to Guffey. Marcelo Carrasquillo kicked two extra points for a 21-10 lead with 9:15 left in the game.

Guffey’s running TD was set up by a 42-yard option pass from wide receiver Jackson Nowinski to John Malatesta.

Yorktown answered with a TD on a 67-yard screen pass from Drew Morgan to Owen Woodward, followed by a two-point conversion from Morgan to Michael Merritt, cutting the lead to 21-18 with 6:43 to play.

“Yorktown changes things up and hits you in a variety of ways,” Shapiro said. “They are so hard to defend, because you have to defend the whole field against them. That’s what happened on that touchdown.”

The Patriots got one final possession that ended with that failed fourth-down attempt, instead of trying a potential game-tying field goal. Yorktown coach Bruce Hanson said he was confident the team could pick up the first down on the fourth-and-one situation.

“We had a chance there to win, but we couldn’t run the ball consistently well enough against their defense,” Hanson said.

Yorktown was hurt in the second half by a turnover that helped set up W-L's first second-half touchdown to give the Generals momentum.

“We had too many turnovers,” Hanson said.

Yorktown’s 10 first-half points came on a 52-yard scoring run by Chris Montecino and an extra point and 43-yard field goal by Max Yoon for the 10-7 halftime lead. Washington-Liberty’s first-half score was a five-yard pass from Bhojwani to Michael Barber and Carrasquillo’s conversion.

Bhojwani completed 18 passes for 166 yards with two TDs and two interceptions, by Yorktown’s Anthony Rucker and Mason Yuh. The Generals’ Nowinski had five catches for 43 yards, Malatesta five for 73, Barber three for 48 and Joseph Cordaro three for 18. Guffey was W-L’s leading rusher with 14 yards and he had four kickoff returns for 42.

For Yorktown, Hudson Greene completed 11 passes for 144 yards and Morgan four with 152. Woodward had five catches for 109, Montecino four for 60 and Merritt and Adam Rafi two each. Montecino had 64 yards rushing and Coby Casalengo 28.

For Washington-Liberty on defense,  Hughes, Guffey, Zach Meehan, Connor Hurren, William Clarke and Roman Falvo were leading tacklers. Hughes had two tackles for losses. Ben Haney recovered a fumble. Valentino Antoine and Jackson Freeman-Moore were among Yorktown’s tackling leaders.

NOTE: With the win, Washington-Liberty is 1-0 in the Liberty District and Yorktown is 1-1 with the loss.