W-L punter Palacios

Washington-Liberty's Pedro Palacios had a couple of long punts against Yorktown. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)

An already shortened six-game high-school football season has ended with only four games played for the Washington-Liberty Generals, because of COVID issues.

The Generals’ March 26 contest against South Lakes was canceled because South Lakes had a COVID problem. Then, Washington-Liberty (1-3) had its own issue, causing its April 1 Liberty District clash against winless Herndon to be canceled.

There is a possibility Washington-Liberty could add a game to be played on April 12, but that seems unlikely. 

“It’s super-disappointing. We really wanted to play the South Lakes and Herndon games and finish the season,” Washington-Liberty coach Josh Shapiro said. “We were starting to play our best, and we were confident we could get another win or maybe two.”

In evaluating the four games, Shapiro said the short season was disappointing but worthwhile.

“We had a lot of injuries to key players, there were ups and downs and starts and stops,” Shapiro said. “We will use those four games to plan and evaluate for the fall season.”

The Generals did win their final game, defeating the Langley Saxons, 19-14, on March 19 at home in district action.

“That’s a bright spot, because we did play well in that game,” Shapiro said.

During those four outings, Shapiro said there were some individual bright spots for W-L players, like the performance of sophomore defensive lineman Elijah Hughes, senior punter/placekicker and linebacker Pedro Palacios and senior quarterback Andrew Bolfek.

In four games, Hughes had nine sacks, nearly breaking the single-season record of 9.5 sacks (set by defensive end Moussa Diallo in 2011) during Shapiro’s long tenure as head coach. 

Hughes had three sacks each against Langley and McLean, two against Yorktown and one in the season opener versus Wakefield.

Overall, Hughes had 50 tackles (42 solo), of which 24 were for losses, and he had two forced fumbles.

“Those are first-team all-region numbers,” Shapiro said. “Elijah was unblockable. We moved him all over the place and he still couldn’t be blocked.”

Palacios was having a good season punting and place/kicking as well as stuffing the middle of the defense. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in a game-three loss to Yorktown.

Palacios had punts of 70 and 53 yards against Yorktown, kicked a field goal and was good on most of his extra points.

Bolfek completed 71 passes for 743 yards and four touchdowns in those four games, including throwing for 216 yards against Yorktown, and was 23 of 58 for 188 yards against McLean.

Seniors Jack Leonard, Bryson Files, Kenji McCartney and Davion Owens and juniors Jack Myers and Evan Brown were top  receivers for the Generals, all having multiple catches.

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