Eagles drop home opener

Adam Larck
Peter Sperry checks to make sure he is on the line during Friday night’s game against Washington. The Panthers handed Dunlap its first loss of the season, 35-14.

Going into the fourth quarter on Friday, it looked like Dunlap still had a chance to come away from their home opener with a win.

A tired Eagles defense in the fourth quarter let No. 2-ranked Washington get three scores to go on to win, 35-14.

“Our defense was just out there too long and by the fourth quarter we were worn down defensively,” Dunlap Coach Brett Cazalet said. “We just started missing tackles and doing things we just didn’t do earlier in the game.”

The two teams traded off interceptions early on, with Washington’s Brad Kuchenbecker capitalizing with a 22-yard one handed interception for a touchdown.

Play was halted just a minute later for several minutes when the Panthers’ Austin Reel went down with a dislocated ankle. Washington coach Darrell Crouch said he was taken for X-rays to make sure there was no ligament damage.

“It was a tough character builder,” Crouch said. “When you lose four guys that have been starting for you, that’s pretty tough. It just shows you the caliber of the hitting that was going on tonight.”

The next scoring would not be until the second quarter, when Dunlap’s Conner Currier connected with an 11-yard pass to Darnell McDowell. A conversion pass to Nick Mangieri put Dunlap  up, 8-7.

The Panthers would get one more score to end the half after intercepting Dunlap at their own 21-yard line and running a few plays.

Dunlap started the scoring in the third quarter with an 18-yard fumble recovery by Lucas Weatherington to tie the teams at 14.

Two rushing TDs by Kyle Zimmerman and one by Isaac Fisher gave Washington the final 21 points of the game in the fourth.

“Isaac did a great job with some of the reads on the midline,” Crouch said.

Overall, Fisher finished with 66 yards rushing at 67 yards passing.

“We’ve got good guys in the secondary, we’ve got some good athletes,” Cazalet said. “Fisher, I don’t think he hurt us passing the ball at all tonight.

“He’s a good quarterback. He hurt us more running the ball, but that was late in the game when our defense was tired.”

Currier finished with 68 yards passing, and Mangieri had 40 receiving yards. Byron Jordan rushed for 60 yards.