WALLA WALLA — DeSales recognized eight senior football players here at Ty Baffney Field Wednesday.
The Irish made sure that this night was not goodbye to those eight as DeSales scored early and often to post a 58-14 win over Liberty Christian in Southeast 2B-11 League football action.
The Irish finish 5-1 in league play and earn a share of the league title with the win. Waitsburg-Prescott, which defeated Dayton 42-13 Wednesday night in Dayton, and Asotin own a share of the championship.
More importantly, those eight seniors — Shane Roach, Pat Richard, Ryan Rea, Kyle Konen, Tyler Wahl, Ben Konen, Jose Mata, Pat Sharkey — will see their football careers continue as the Irish will travel to Dayton for a three-way playoff with Asotin and Waitsburg-Prescott on Tuesday to determine the league’s two postseason playoff berths.
DeSales had to take care of some unfinished business, beating the Patriots, before punching its mini-playoff ticket.
The Irish took the opening kickoff and marched, behind a Kyle Lindgren 37-yard gallop, to the Patriot 11.
The drive stalled and DeSales settled for a Victor Mata 27-yard field goal to grab a 3-0 lead with 9:34 left.
"I would’ve liked to have punched it in," Irish coach Pat Graham said. "We weren’t able to do that, but coming away with points in the red zone is important. From there, we got into rhythm and put some things together."
The Patriots went three-and-out and Mike Mathews returned the LC punt 16 yards to give the Irish a first down at midfield. Four plays later, Richard hit Ryan Baumgart for 25 yards and a score and it was 10-0 with 6:24 left in the quarter.
Behind a Mata sack of Patriot quarterback Mike Olson, the Irish defense forced another three-and-out on the ensuing LC possession.
The Irish went 71 yards in three plays, with a Richard 18-yard scamper finishing the drive and DeSales led 17-0 after one quarter.
"We were concerned, with it being a short week, how our kids would respond," Graham said. "We came out and did the things we needed to do.
We put up some points early and got some stops early, and got a good lead in that first quarter. We were able to take care of business."
The Irish defense got a Lindgren interception, and sacks from Sharkey and Spencer Cordeiro to highlight the second-quarter defense.
On the offensive side, DeSales turned Lindgren’s pick into a 28-yard scoring pass from Richard to Rea, and added touchdowns on their the next two possessions — a 59-yard Richard run and a 45-yard TD pass from Richard to Baumgart — to take a 38-0 lead to intermission.
Baumgart took over at quarterback to open the second half and promptly hit Nick Wales with a 15-yard scoring pass to run the score to 45-0 and engage the running-clock rule with 7:40 left in the third.
Zach Simpkins, who ran for 117 yards on 21 carries on the night, got the Patriots on the board twice with touchdown runs of 10 and 19 yards to highlight the fourth quarter.
The Irish put up 353 rushing yards, led by Lindgren with 108. Richard added 94 rushing yards and Baumgart, behind a 72-yard TD gallop to wrap up the Irish scoring, went for 104 second-half yards.
The win earns the Irish a berth in Tuesday’s three-way playoff. DeSales has drawn the first-round bye and will meet the winner of the Asotin vs. Waitsburg-Prescott first-round playoff. An Irish victory will earn the No. 1 seed to the Class 2B-11 state playoffs. If DeSales loses, it must play the loser of the first game to determine the league’s No. 2 playoff berth.
Action gets underway at 5 p.m. Each of the mini-games will consist of two 12-minute halves.
"At this point, you get ready for both opponents," Graham said. "We have a few days to do that. We’ll go to work and try to fix some of the things we need to fix, and get ready to play the best football we can play."
Liberty Christian 0 0 0 14 — 14
DeSales 17 21 7 13 — 58
DeS — Mata 27 FG.
DeS — Baumgart 25 pass from Richard (Mata kick).
DeS — Richard 18 run (Mata kick).
DeS — Rea 28 pass from Richard (Mata kick).
DeS — Richard 59 run (Mata kick).
DeS — Baumgart 45 pass from Richard (Mata kick).
DeS — Wales 15 pass from Baumgart (Mata kick).
DeS — Baumgart 5 run (kick blocked).
LC — Simpkins 10 run (Corrigan kick).
DeS – Baumgart 72 run (Martinez kick).
LC — Simpkins 19 run (Corrigan kick).
First downs 9 15
Rushes/yards 35-157 29-353
Passing yards 27 197
Passes (att-comp-int) 9-2-2 15-9-0
Punts 6-32.8 1-32.0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-0
Penalties-yards 0-0 5-40
RUSHING — LC: Simpkins 21-117, Olson 9-(-3), Hoye 5-43; DeS: Lindgren 11-108, Richard 4-94, Wales 8-47, Baumgart 6-104.
PASSING — LC: Olson 2-9-2 27 yards 0 TDs; DeS: Richard 6-12-0 169 yards 2 TDs, Baumgart 3-3-0 28 yards 1 TD.
RECEIVING — LC: Morris 1-2, Corrigan 1-25; DeS: D. Solomon 1-3, Baumgart 3-110-2, Rea 1-28-1, Wales 3-46-1, Roach 1-10.