Turning the ball over five times is not the best recipe for winning, but George Washington made it work Friday night.
Abe Fenwick threw for two first-half touchdowns and three different Patriots ball-carriers ran for scores as GW posted a 35-14 victory against Hurricane at Steve Edwards Sr. Field in South Hills.
GW (3-0) was able to remain unbeaten despite all the mistakes, thanks in part to three turnovers and 10 penalties by Hurricane (1-2), which led early and was tied until the final stages of the first half. Fenwick threw three interceptions and GW also lost two fumbles, with the Redskins returning a pick and a fumble for their only scores.
“A win’s a win,’’ said GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. “I’m not going to apologize. They’re going to get tougher ever week, and [wins] are harder to get.’’
Fenwick had thrown for seven touchdowns and no interceptions in the first two games, but found the going rougher on Friday, completing 10 of 21 attempts for 138 yards. A balanced ground game provided 245 yards on 42 carries, led by Klay Matthews (six carries, 54 yards) and Hasten Pinkerton (nine carries, 53 yards), helping the Patriots rack up 20 first downs.
Matthews and Keegan Sack ran for second-half TDs after GW led 21-14 at the break.
“We’ve got a lot of learning to do,’’ Edwards said. “We’ve been playing pretty good, and you don’t do that all the time, especially with a young team with not very many games under their belt. But we hung in there, we persevered and that’s all you can ask kids to do, and they did a good job. Anytime you can win, a win’s a win.’’
Hurricane, meanwhile, crossed midfield just once in the first half, but that fizzled with a fourth and 17 at the GW 45, forcing a punt. In the second half, a first down at the GW 20 eventually turned into fourth and 31 at the 41 and later the Skins faced a fourth and 33.
“We had penalties,’’ said Redskins coach Jeremy Taylor, “and we had two linemen go out in the second half with injuries, and we can’t catch it. It’s just back to the drawing board, I guess. It’s all we can do.’’
Hurricane ended up with minus-4 yards on 23 rushing plays and Ismael Borrero completed 14 of 27 passes for 145 yards with two interceptions and was sacked three times. The Skins were flagged 10 times for 91 yards.
GW led 21-14 at halftime despite four turnovers. Some of those mistakes provided Hurricane with its only points of the half as Cam Carney returned an interception 32 yards for a score and JT James scooped up a fumble and brought it back 25 yards for a touchdown.
Fenwick accounted for all three Patriots’ scores with TD strikes of 5 yards to Anthony Valentine and 18 yards to Taran Fitzpatrick and his own 1-yard touchdown run.
At halftime, Hurricane had gained just 1 yard on nine rushing plays. Because of the Redskins’ defensive scores, GW ran 36 of the game’s 56 first-half plays.
The teams had been evenly matched in recent years: each of the three previous games in the series were decided by one possession — two of them overtime games — with GW winning two of the three.
With the win, Edwards moved into a tie for second in Kanawha County career coaching victories with 176, matching the total of former East Bank and Riverside coach Ralph Hensley. The late Dick Whitman, who coached at DuPont and Riverside, leads with 181 wins.
GW now faces back-to-back Class AAA contenders in Huntington (at home Sept. 17) and South Charleston (on the road Oct. 1). Hurricane visits Cabell Midland next Friday.