It was never a matter of if, but when for Lem Wash.
Playing both quarterback and running back this fall, Wash has proved capable of impacting a game out of the backfield. On Friday, however, it was special teams that the junior hopes can help wash out the taste of early turnovers this season.
Wash tallied four touchdowns, including the game-opening kickoff, to lead Derby (3-0) in its 63-7 home-opening win against Newton (1-2).
“After the four early fumbles [the last two games], it felt like I had let my team down,” Wash said. “It feels good to help the team out and get a win.”
Wash was joined by running back Tre Washington to combine for six rushing touchdowns. The senior now has 11 scores through three games.
The Panthers did not punt until the fourth quarter and held Newton scoreless until the final minute of the game.
In effort to keep the ball away from Washington and junior wide receiver Davin Simms, Newton kept its kickoff short and it fell in Wash’s hands at the Derby 25-yard line. The junior busted down his opponent’s sideline and became the second-straight Panther to return the opening home kickoff for a touchdown. Now graduate Hunter Igo scored on the opening kickoff against Garden City in August 2018.
“All he needed was a little bit of confidence,” coach Brandon Clark said of Wash. “He’s a fantastic football player and it’s key for him. Now he’s got it back.”
Senior quarterback Grant Adler threw his lone touchdown pass on the Panthers’ ensuing drive, finding senior wide receiver Cavion Walker from 34 yards out.
Following Washington’s first score of the night, senior defensive back Terry Ginyard returned a Newton punt for Derby’s second special teams score of the game. The 54-yard return gave it a 28-0 lead with 3:55 remaining in the first quarter.
Derby kept its foot on the gas pedal on its following drive, scoring in just two plays after taking over at midfield. On Newton’s next possession, senior safety Ladell Clemons picked up Derby’s third interception of the season, giving it the ball at the Railer 33-yard line.
The Railers were forced to pass in long down and distances due to an evolving Panther defense. They were held to 49 yards on just 25 carries after Clark’s crew limited Salina Central to -6 rushing yards a week ago.
“We’ve got a few things to shore up there,” Clark said. “… [Defensive coordinator] Austin Wuthrich has done some amazing things with this group and they’ve grown up real quick.”
Wash’s five-yard score gave Derby a 49-0 lead in just under 16 minutes of game action.
Washington scored his final touchdown with 6:19 remaining in the first half. Freshman running back Dylan Edwards stepped in and nearly made it a 60-plus point half, but was stopped short of the goal line as the clock expired before the break.
Derby’s 56 first-half points were its most since scoring 62 against Wichita North on Oct. 28, 2016.
Stepping in at quarterback for Adler in the second half, Wash orchestrated Derby’s lone touchdown of the second half on a 19-yard run.
DRBY: 35 21 7 0— 63
NEWT: 0 0 0 7— 7
D: Wash 75-yard kickoff return (Simmons kick)… 7-0
D: Walker 34-yard pass from Adler (Simmons kick)… 14-0
D: Washington 9-yard run (Simmons kick)… 21-0
D: Ginyard 54-yard punt return (Simmons kick)… 28-0
D: Wash 9-yard run (Simmons kick)… 35-0
D: Washington 1-yard run (Simmons kick)… 42-0
D: Wash 5-yard run (Simmons kick)… 49-0
D: Washington 2-yard run (Simmons kick)… 56-0
D: Wash 19-yard run (Simmons kick)… 63-0
N: Dutcher 26-yard pass from Schmidt (PAT good)… 63-7
DERBY TEAM STATISTICS—
Passing: Adler, 8-8-153-1
Rushing: Wash, 8-109-3; Washington 10-86-3; Edwards, 7-73; Bryant, 1-8; Thatcher, 1-2
Receiving: Karsak, 3-65; Walker, 3-60-1; Simms, 1-22; Larson, 1-6
NEWTON TEAM STATISTICS—
Passing: Schmidt, 10-24-115-1-1
Rushing: Forest, 18-58; Schmidt 6-(-9)
Receiving: Dutcher, 3-45-1; Edson, 4-35; Medina, 3-35