Athlete of the Week: Sherando’s Washington making impact as a sophomore

T.J. Washington

STEPHENS CITY – T.J. Washington knows what it’s like to be an offensive lineman because he used to be one.

The Sherando sophomore said he played at center and tight end when he was younger so he has a lot of respect for them now that he’s a running back.

“Honestly when I score the first thing I do is I shake all the lineman’s hand, because I know for me to score they was down there helping,” Washington said.

T.J. Washington did a lot of handshaking in last Friday’s 71-13 victory over Washington, West Virginia. He scored six touchdowns in the win, including five rushing and one punt return.

Washington said he was surprised at how much success he had.

“I didn’t really think it was going to happen that way,” Washington said. “But I mostly got to give credit to my line and wide receivers, because they did most of the blocking. They were the ones who got me to the next level to score.”

Washington, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 5-11, ran for 148 yards on 14 carries.

He had five of his six touchdowns in the first quarter, as the Warriors jumped out to a 49-0 lead.

He said his favorite touchdown came on a 7-1-yard run in the opening quarter in which he said he got a key block from wide receiver Michael Perry.

Washington said that when he started playing football in 5th grade he was a “little bit chubbier” and so he played on the offensive line. He said he learned a lot from that experience.

“I know what they go through,” Washington said. “I know what kind of fight they putting up down there.”

Even though he’s played at different positions, Washington said running back is definitely his favorite one.

“I just like running the ball,” Washington said. “I just like getting the ball, even If I don’t score. I still want to make something out of it. Even if I only get one yard I can take that.”

Washington played at running back last year for Sherando’s junior varsity team. Then moved up to varsity this year.

He said he was very nervous for his first game this season. He scored a touchdown on a punt return in the opener against Louisa, which he said helped.

“My first punt return when I scored I thought to myself I was like, ‘Just calm down, you got this,'” Washington said. “And I started doing what I had to do.”

He has two punt returns for a touchdown this season, and also just missed returning another one for a touchdown against Washington, West Virginia. He also had a kickoff return for a touchdown negated by a penalty against Washington, West Virginia.

Sherando coach Bill Hall said that Washington has done a good job at running back in his first year with the varsity team.

“He’s really athletic. When you watch him you can tell he’s an athlete,” Hall said. “He’s got great speed. He’s got good vision and he’s learning how to realize that potential. He’s not there by any stretch, but he does a good job. He’s very coachable. He’s learning how to be coached and how to improve on things. That’s a credit to him that he takes the coaching and applies that.”

For the season, Washington has 229 yards rushing on 36 carries.

He said that he just wants to keep his early-season momentum going.

“I thought I was going to score some, but to me I think I’ve done pretty good so far,” Washington said. “I’m hoping to keep that going this Friday.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com