WASHINGTON — Playing without their starting quarterback, Washington took to a simple but effective offensive game plan in Friday’s Class 2A playoff opener — a steady dose of pounding away with its run game behind an experienced and physical offensive line.
The result was pretty efficient, as tailback Luke Ladlee and new quarterback Brady Kulbeth hit for big plays throughout the first half, staking the Warriors to a four-touchdown halftime lead and eventually a 41-20 triumph over Lexington at Reed Field.
The numbers were impressive for the Warrior pair — Kulbeth finished with 161 yards on 12 carries, while Ladlee added another 152 yards on 22 carries on a night their team totaled 361 yards on the ground. Each found the end zone three times, and each praised the work of the linemen paving the way.
“The holes were everywhere,” Ladlee said. “We could pretty much run it where we wanted.”
Added Kulbeth, “that’s the best I’ve ever seen our line block.”
The Warriors played without star quarterback and defensive back Brock Harmon, who suffered a season-ending knee injury a week ago against Lindsay.
But a year-in, year-out power like the Warriors — who are in the postseason for a 23rd consecutive year — are far more than a one-man team, as they proved Friday night.
“We knew that was a big loss, but we knew Brock would be right there with us, just like another coach on the sideline,” Ladlee said.
Kulbeth moved from receiver to quarterback for the Warriors and also entered the defensive starting lineup at safety as the Warriors had to shift things around there also. While he’s been around plenty of big games in his high school career, Kulbeth admitted this week was a little different.
“Getting back on the field as a quarterback, I felt nervous, a lot more than when I was playing slot receiver,” he said.