With its opening two games against Dinwiddie and Amherst postponed and delayed, respectively, George Washington’s football team has had an interesting start to its 2021 campaign.
GW kept the theme going in its official season opener against bitter rival E.C. Glass on Friday night, overcoming an early two-score deficit against the Hilltoppers to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
However, Glass fought back and finished on top of the hill, using a pair of late unanswered touchdowns to defeat the Eagles 42-32.
GW (0-1) entered the second half facing a 28-18 deficit, but an interception from senior Donavan Howard got the Eagles started on the right foot and set up Howard’s 13-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion that saw him turn on his heels and switch directions to trim GW’s deficit to 28-26 with 7:44 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles’ defense recorded its second takeaway of the frame on the Hilltoppers' ensuing drive as senior Xavier Walters stepped in front of a pass for a pick that set GW up at the Glass 47-yard line. Two plays later, senior Jakobe Dixon cut right and turned on the jets down the sideline for a 47-yard score that gave the Eagles a 32-28 lead with 5:36 remaining.
Glass (3-0) responded with a methodical, 10-play, 62-yard drive to reclaim the lead on junior George White’s 11-yard strike to junior Lyvarius Gilbert with just under three minutes left.
GW went three-and-out on its ensuing possession, and Glass marched 57 yards down field before the Eagles’ defense held the Hilltoppers to a field goal attempt. Senior Jacob Trainor broke through the line, though, and blocked the attempt, and senior Ahmad Poole jumped on the loose ball with 10:59 left in the game.
Special teams play continued to be key from there, with Glass' Owen Dunlop returning a blocked punt for a 26-yard score with 6:30 left and all but sealing the win for the Hilltoppers.
Dixon had a big game for the Eagles, adding a 10-yard scoring reception in the second quarter that pulled GW within nine. Junior Omarion Hairston recorded both of his scores by hauling in TD passes of 76 and 81 yards.
Gilbert’s 75-yard touchdown reception and White’s 1-yard scoring run shot the Hilltoppers out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
After turning in a solid start in a preseason scrimmage against Heritage, GW freshman Nehemiah Cabell recorded his first varsity touchdown pass, hitting Hairston for a 76-yard score that but the deficit to 14-6 with 4:20 left in the frame.
White responded with a 26-yard TD pass to senior Markevus Graves as Glass extended its lead back to double digits.
The Eagles answered with a quick, three-play, 70-yard drive that ended with Dixon’s 10-yard reception, pulling GW within nine at 21-12.
After the Eagles’ defense stopped the Hilltoppers on the ensuing drive, GW scored on a big play. Howard found Hairston for an 81-yard TD down the right side that cut the Eagles’ deficit to 21-18 with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Glass answered as White found senior Eli Wood for an 18-yard touchdown that gave the Hilltoppers a 28-18 advantage at the half.
Gilbert paced Glass with a pair of touchdown receptions. Graves had a receiving TD, and White added a rushing touchdown to his scoring tally.
GW returns to action Friday when it travels to Rock Hill, South Carolina, for a nondistrict matchup against Nations Ford at 7 p.m.