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W-L’s Effort Not Enough

Generals fight but can’t overcome 24-point deficit.

The Washington-Lee football team trailed Mount Vernon 14-0 and faced third-and-13 from its own 17-yard line when head coach Josh Shapiro called a quarterback draw. Junior signal caller Rigo Salguero took the shotgun snap, tucked the ball away and darted through a hole in the middle of the field before breaking toward the left sideline. Nearing the goal line, he stiff-armed multiple Majors and got spun around to where he was facing the wrong direction.

Salguero’s spectacular individual effort ended with No. 10 back-pedaling into the end zone for an 83-yard touchdown, cutting the Generals’ deficit in half.

"I was a little fatigued, I don’t know why," Salguero said of the run. I "stiff-armed one dude, another guy and then another one. I was really tired, so I had to turn around to try to push them off me."

While W-L mimicked Salguero’s resiliency for most of the night, the Generals failed to follow his execution.

W-L continued to battle after falling behind by 24 points, but Mount Vernon was too much for the Generals, who lost their second consecutive game, 37-20, on Oct. 15 at W-LHS. On Oct. 1, the Generals had won three straight games and were tied atop the National District standings at 2-0. But W-L was outscored 71-27 in the last two weeks during losses to Stuart and Mount Vernon. The Generals will travel to face Edison at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.

The Majors used a physical ground game to build a 31-7 lead in the fourth quarter. W-L continued to battle, however, and pulled to within 11 after a 1-yard touchdown run by Anthony Taylor and a 58-yard scoring pass from Salguero to Nate Young made the score 31-20 with 4:46 to play. After forcing a three-and-out, the Generals drove into Mount Vernon territory but turned the ball over on downs.

"That’s the most you can ask for from a team," Salguero said. "To keep fighting until that whistle blows, whatever the score is."

Mount Vernon set a physical tone early, marching 52 yards in 11 plays — including 10 rushes — on the game’s opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Majors rushed for 260 yards, including 202 from running back Dennis Mensah. Defensively, Mount Vernon limited Taylor to 49 yards in 17 carries and applied heavy pressure when Salguero looked to throw.

"Their opening drive was our major concern," Shapiro said. "We talked all week if they were going to go north and south and we couldn’t wrap up, make tackles and come downhill and play, it was going to be a long night. …

"They controlled the line of scrimmage on both the offensive and defensive line. When you can’t get your game going offensively, and you try inside, outside, you try the misdirection and nothing’s hitting, it’s either incredibly great play calling on their defensive coordinator’s part, or we’re just not handling their men up front."

Young caught two passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Taylor led the Generals with 13 tackles and Moussa Diallo recorded 12. Rhyler Heining had one sack and a forced fumble.

Salguero rushed for a team-high 94 yards and a touchdown in 10 carries. He completed 5 of 14 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Salguero is playing quarterback for the first time in his career. He said reading defenses and trying to find open receivers while staying in the pocket have been the most difficult aspects of learning the position.

"He’s doing great," Shapiro said of his quarterback. "He’s such a competitive kid. If you stood next to him and saw his size [he’s not the biggest athlete, but] he plays like he’s 6-2, 220. When he gets his mind set, he’s going to go at you and he brings it. He’s a great competitor and a super athlete. He’s developing as a passer, part of that is just repetition for him and experience and trusting his pas protection.

"He plays quarterback like a linebacker. He’s not going to make a living playing the position, but he’s fun right now at the high school level and he’s having a good time. I think the kids rally around him because he’s a good leader and he’s as tough as nails."

After the game, Salguero’s 83-yard run was a conversation bright spot for the junior and his coach. During the run, Shapiro briefly sprinted alongside Salguero, shouting words of encouragement.

"Ten years ago, yes," I could have caught him, the 40-year-old Shapiro said. "Now I’m lucky I don’t pull a hammy."