LONDON — Old blood and guts.
In the history of the United States Army, there is arguably no more notoriously tough leader than George S. Patton. The Military general may be best known for leading his troops in the invasion of France and Germany in World War II.
When the Washington Court House Blue Lions football team hit the shores of London High School on Friday, they had a dynamic leader of their own in quarterback Jarett Patton.
Blue Lion Patton showed his toughness from the beginning, connecting on three first half touchdown passes — and four for the game — to pace visiting Washington Court House to a 35-22 victory over the host Red Raiders.
“He had the pieces around him,” London coach Kyle Cutler said of the Court House offensive attack. “They have a lot of quality athletes that can make you pay.”
To start the game the London defense bent but did not break. Fine plays, led by Jacob Jones and Tavian Tyree, stymied the Blue Lions as the Red Raiders took over on downs.
The Blue Lion defense was stout as well, forcing the home squad to punt.
It didn’t take Patton long to wage his attack.
The QB took just three plays to get into the end zone — connecting with receiver Kory Proby from 44 yards out for the score.
Not to be outdone — following a nifty 16-yards scamper by Aaron Cremeens — London signal caller Josh Handley hit JT Martin with a slant pass across the middle. Martin outraced the entire Court House defense to tie the score.
“We got better as the game went on, and we missed some things,” Cutler said. “But no excuses.”
While the first Blue Lions score was quick, the second was slow and tactical. This time it took 13 plays, but the result was the same. Patton connected with Dillon Steward on a rare untimed down at the end of the first quarter from 15 yards away.
With an early game injury to starting London running back KJ Price, Red Raider Cremeens was pressed into action in the backfield — and responded admirably.
“The first word that comes to my mind is commendable,” Cutler said. “It speaks to the pride he has in his school and London football.”
Although Court House got the ball back, they returned it just eight plays later as Red Raider Colten Winters intercepted a Patton pass. The drive also marked a fine defensive play by London’s Dustin Massie.
After a three-and-out, the visitors took over again. Again it was Patton connecting on a trio of mid-range passes — the last of which resulted in second scoring strike to Steward, giving the Blue Lions a 21-7 advantage at the break.
In the second half both teams had a difficult time getting into any offensive rhythm due to penalties. For the first eight minutes of the third quarter the field was littered with yellow flags.
With four minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Red Raiders had a chance to seize momentum as an errant exchange between Court House center and punter gave London great field position.
The Blue Lions had a strong defensive stand, but the home team has kicker Miller Kronk. The London junior connected from 40 yards out to salvage the drive.
As the seconds ran off in the third quarter, Blue Lion Caleb Rice returned a punt 40 yards straight through the London defense to open the Court House lead to 28-10.
Unwilling to concede a loss, the Red Raiders kept fighting. With eight minutes in the game, Handley orchestrated a drive that resulted in a five yard TD run for Cremeens.
But, Patton wasn’t finished — one more time to Steward, this time from 64 yards away.
London counter-punched again as Red Raider Stuart Weyrich left the Blue Lion defenders in the dust on an impressive 68-yard run along his own sideline with just under five minutes remaining for what would be the game’s final points.
The Blue Lions put their 3-0 record on the line at home next week against Hillsboro. Hillsboro plays at home against Clermont-Northeastern tonight.