One week after Anthony Taylor carried the Washington-Lee football team to a playoff victory against Yorktown, the senior running back tied the score in the regional semifinals against Hayfield with a second quarter touchdown.
Taylor’s 20-yard run evened the score at 7 with less than five minutes to play in the first half. Hayfield had a quick response, however, shifting momentum and putting an end to the Generals’ memorable season.
Hayfield’s Cody Whitlow returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and the Hawks added two third quarter scores en route to a 28-7 victory on Friday at Hayfield Secondary School.
"I thought the momentum was going back toward us," W-L head coach Josh Shapiro said, "and then we kicked off."
W-L, making its second postseason appearance since 1975, entered the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and fell one win shy of reaching the regional title game. The Generals finished 6-6, including their first win against rival Yorktown since 1982.
"I’ll remember the little things — how hard they worked, consistently," Shapiro said of the Generals in 2010. "When I took over at W-L (in 2007), in the middle of October kids started dribbling a basketball getting ready for basketball season. I’m a big fan of kids playing multiple sports but [the kids weren’t focused]. We didn’t lose any significant players (this year) and the seniors provided great leadership."
Taylor was largely responsible for the Generals’ success in 2010. The National District Offensive Player of the Year rushed 277 times for 1,574 yards and 25 touchdowns during his senior season, including 84 yards and a score against Hayfield. In 12 games, he averaged more than 130 yards and two touchdowns per contest. His most memorable effort came during the win over Yorktown, when he carried 42 times for 255 yards and four scores.
For his career, he totaled 2,686 yards and 37 touchdowns.
"We’re never going to replace a kid like Anthony," Shapiro said. "He’s such a great person. … He’s so dedicated and so athletic and fun to coach. He left behind what it is to be great. [We’ll show future players Taylor’s numbers and say], ‘If you want to be great, this is what you’ve got to do.’"
Finding a way to replace Taylor’s offensive output will be difficult for W-L in 2011, but the Generals’ signal caller will return with a year of much-needed experience under his belt. Five-foot-8, 155-pound junior Rigo Salguero accounted for 1,388 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns during his first season playing quarterback.
Senior Nate Young led W-L in receiving with 15 catches for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense, senior Moussa Diallo led the Generals with 104 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Mudsar Iqbal totaled 87 tackles and Marshall Anders finished with 85. Taylor tallied 77 tackles and three interceptions.
While W-L fell short against Hayfield, beating Yorktown the week prior should give the Generals something to build on for next season.
"Obviously, it was great to beat Yorktown and end the 28-year streak," Shapiro said. "… It was nice to get that taken care of. To win a playoff game and go to the semifinals in the tournament was a huge positive step for our kids."