Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jayhawks in Prime-Time Battle

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jayhawks in Prime-Time Battle

Article excerpt

High school football fans around Western Pennsylvania may have been looking forward to seeing one of the WPIAL's premier running backs display his abilities live on television this week.

Unfortunately, Washington High School's Shai McKenzie will not be on the field at McKee Stadiumin Jeannette this evening when the Little Prexies travel to Westmoreland County to face the Jeannette Jayhawks.

McKenzie, a senior and Division I prospect, sustained a season- ending injury (torn anterior cruciate ligament) to his right knee two weeks ago against Charleroi Area and underwent surgery that ultimately ended his high school career.

Root Sports penciled in live broadcast coverage of this Class AA Interstate Conference showdown as its McDonald's High School Football Game of the Week. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Even without McKenzie being a factor, a lot is on the line for both the Little Prexies and Jayhawks, considering Washington (4-0, 4- 0), Jeannette (4-0, 4-0) and Mount Pleasant (4-0, 4-0) are tied for the conference lead.

"From my experience of coaching for 29 years, I've seen a lot of teams rally when one of their big stars go down [to injury]," Jeannette coach Roy Hall said. "Sometimes when you're faced with adversity, the team comes together and becomes more of a threat."

Ranked No. 3 in the Post-Gazette's weekly Class AA rankings, Washington picked up a 35-13 victory last week against Yough. The Little Prexies are outscoring opponents by an average of 43.8-14.3.

"We are definitely pushing forward," Washington coach Mike Bosnic said. "I am very pleased with how the kids handled our game last week. It's very emotional, but everyone stepped up and played through and handled the adversity."

McKenzie was a driving force behind the Little Prexies' offense and averaged an eye-popping 18.1 rushing yards a carry. He ran for 650 yards in three games this season and finished his career with 4,656 yards.

Quarterback Jonathan Spina led Washington last week by completing 10 of 15 passes for 137 yards and one touchdown pass against Yough. …

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