Bowsher running back Mark Washington is built like a Tonka truck and ran like one Friday night.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound ran over and around Maumee defenders for 117 yards on 13 carries — including touchdown runs of 6, 39, and 34 yards — to lead the Rebels to a 24-20 comeback victory in a season opener.
Bowsher fell behind 13-0 in the first half.
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“That was a different team in the second half, and it was the team I thought we would be in the first half,” Bowsher coach Craig Lubinski said of the Rebels, who gained 239 rushing yards in a second half led by Washington and Khane Collins.
Washington battered his way to 100 yards on eight carries after halftime. His 39-yard TD run came late in the third quarter and helped the Rebels take a 16-13 lead. He broke free of six would-be tacklers on the way to the end zone.
“I just always keep my feet moving and when I get past the second level it's hard to stop me,” Washington said.
Collins also contributed to the big ground game, leading the Rebels with 136 yards on 24 carries.
Maumee first-year coach Marc Gibson said his team is disappointed about the loss, but he's encouraged about the effort.
“I give them [Bowhser] a ton of credit because, obviously, they went in at halftime and made some adjustments,” Gibson said. “They went to their power running game. Certainly, they have the size and athletes to hurt us. They found something that worked and they took advantage of it.”
Alex Wagener, a senior, kicked field goals of 48 and 34 yards to give Maumee a 6-0 lead.
His first came with 8:03 left in the first quarter after the Panthers recovered a Bowsher fumble. The second was with 9:53 left in the second quarter.
Quarterback Brian Utter, who passed for 141 yards and rushed for 30, made it 13-0 by scoring on a one-yard keeper in the second quarter. It capped a seven-play, 67-yard scoring drive.
Meanwhile, the Rebels went through the first half struggling to find any offense against a swarming Panthers defense led by Jeff Goatley, Joe Szymanski and Steven Hill. Bowsher was held to 81 total yards in the first half on 29 plays.
But the Rebels regrouped at half.
Washington closed out the Rebels' first possession of the second half with his six-yard TD scamper. Collins converted the two-point conversion.
Bowsher took the lead late in the third quarter on Washington's next TD. Mac Jewell connected with Willie Richburg for a completion on the two-point conversion for a 16-13 advantage.
Yet, the Panthers struck quickly when Utter found Brian Autry behind the Bowsher secondary for a 60-yard TD completion, giving Maumee a 20-13 lead with 11:50 left in the fourth quarter.
That lead didn't last long as Washington plowed his way to the end zone with 9:22 left. Collins carried in the two-point try.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302, or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade