East County Sports

Highlanders stun early but Saints win

Christian Washington, of Helix, returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown. / photo by P.J. Panebianco


No. 5 ST. AUGUSTINE 21, No. 1 HELIX 13

Helix junior Christian “Big Moves” Washington delivered his own version of Operation Warp Speed in the opening moments of Friday night’s return of high school football after a seven-month delay due to an ongoing global pandemic.

Washington’s 94-yard runback of the opening kickoff straight down the middle of the field gave everybody in the Highlander family a dose of excitement that had been longing by all for the last 15 months since the 2019 season ended.

Washington also caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Ryland Jessee in the fourth quarter but that score only was the other bookend in a 21-13 loss to the fifth-ranked St. Augustine Saints, 21-13, at Benton Hart Stadium.

St. Augustine senior quarterback Richard Colmenero threw a 50-yard touchdown pass and also scored on a quarterback sneak as the Saints knocked off the county’s top-ranked team entering the season.

The Highlanders started at their own 5 with just over 30 seconds left in the game and moved the ball out to near midfield thanks to Washington, but the Saints prevailed to knock off the team that eliminated them from the postseason on the same field way back in 2019.

While Washington’s game-opening score was the most thrilling play of the game, it wasn’t the biggest – or most-stunning.

Faced with a third-and-15 from the 1 late in the second quarter, Saints quickly pressured the Highlanders’ young, 6-foot-3 signal-caller near the back of the end zone, forcing an ill-advised toss seemingly amongst a bunch of white jerseys, which resulted in a 4-yard interception return for a touchdown and the lead for St. Augustine at halftime, 14-7.

Washington finished with 174 yards of total offense.

Helix junior Darius James caught two passes for 37 yards.

St. Augustine 6 8 7 0 — 21

Helix         7 0 0 6 — 13

Washington 94 kickoff return (Laing kick)

SA  Shotomide 50 pass from Colmenero (kick failed)

SA  Williams 4 interception return (Halton run)

SA  Colmenero 1 run (Brutto kick)

 Washington 17 pass from Ryland (kick failed)


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