Posted: 10/15/2008 8:40 AM
With Mychael and Jayson Washington in the backfield, Moscow has its opponents on the run
By Matt Breach
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Kyle Mills / Lewiston TribuneWith brothers Mychael (left) and Jayson Washington carrying the load, the Moscow High football team is off to a 5-1 start.
MOSCOW - Even though it's been a few years, John Sheaff can still recall the day Mychael Washington made his initial mark on the Moscow football program.
"I remember Mychael as a freshman," Sheaff said. "I think it was a game against Bonners Ferry. And after the game everybody was chanting his name.
"He did some amazing things for us when he was a freshman."
That was in 2005. Washington, now a senior, is still performing astonishing feats. As is his younger brother, Jayson Washington.
Together, they form a nearly unstoppable backfield that has helped dramatically transform the Moscow High football team.
After winning just five games total the last two years, the Bears have coasted to a 5-1 record this season.
"We are having a real good season," said Sheaff, in his first year leading the MHS varsity after serving as the freshman coach for a number of years. "A couple of the main things we focused on was attitude, the weight room and playing as a team - things that I feel need to be worked on all the time in football."
Of course, Sheaff has also made sure his talented running backs are featured as much as possible. The Washington brothers have combined for 1,148 yards of offense and 19 touchdowns this season.
Despite their fraternal bond, Mychael and Jayson are distinctly different football players.
Mychael, who boasts a 5-foot-9, 163-pound frame, is a bruising back who will "run through you," according to Jayson. He averages four yards per carry and is an adept receiver out of the backfield.
But his most significant contributions are not measured by gaudy statistics.
"Mychael is kind of the quiet leader," Sheaff said. "He leads by example. ... And players will follow him, no doubt about it."
Jayson, on the other hand, is the stylish centerpiece of an offense that averages nearly 32 points per game. The 5-8, 138-pound junior averages 13.6 yards per carry and has scored 15 touchdowns this season.
His most electrifying effort came in the Bears' most recent outing, when he gashed Connell for 320 yards and five TDs.
Jayson has patterned his game after former Heisman Trophy winner and current NFL star Reggie Bush. Thus, he has become the Bears' most versatile weapon, scoring touchdowns four ways this season - 12 on the ground, one receiving, one on a kickoff return and one on an interception return.
"He's speedy and agile," Mychael said. "He is Reggie Bush."
Despite his younger brother stealing a chunk of the spotlight this season, Mychael doesn't feel the least bit envious.
"He pushes me, I push him," Mychael said. "If he makes a big run, how am I going to get jealous of that?"
Added Jayson: "I think when we do a good play we are proud of each other. But then it also pushes us to go harder. If he makes a big play, it makes me want to make a bigger one."
The brothers moved to the Palouse in 2005, when their father, Leroy Washington, took a job as an assistant coach with the Idaho men's basketball team. Moscow marked the fourth stop of Leroy's coaching career, the others being Wyoming, Oregon State and Montana.
Being the son of a college coach "is tough because you've always got to move and adapt to new places," Jayson said. "When we were young it was no big deal because you easily forget friends. But once we were teens, then it got tough because we got close to friends and we'd have to leave them and make new ones."
The Washingtons, though, seem to have finally settled down. Leroy is no longer coaching and is currently working for the Wysup automobile dealership in Pullman.
Regardless of where their travels have led them, the brothers have always had football. Jayson hopes to continue his career in college, preferably at a Pac-10 school.
"Football is like an adrenaline rush," Jayson said. "You can also take out your anger on people. You can go hit someone without getting in trouble for it."
Mychael, however, isn't so sure he wants to play after high school. He says he might want to focus on other interests, including graphic design, architecture and music.
"I don't know if I'm going to do the sports thing," he said. "I'm going to finish this year strong. After that, I'm not sure."
One thing is certain: The Washington brothers have already left an indelible impression on the Moscow football program.
Posted: 10/15/2008 8:53 AM
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