DAYTON — It was odd. That’s the best way to put it.
Friday night football on a Wednesday against your traditional rival, with a Tuesday mini-playoff to follow against not one, but two league foes.
And if you beat either of those teams, you earn the honor of playing a team you’ve never seen before, three days later in the first round of the state playoffs.
Ah, the wacky world of Southeast 2B 11 League football.
Waitsburg-Prescott completed the first task — a 42-13 beating of winless Dayton here Wednesday. Now it’s on to an assignment against Asotin.
"It was hard to play an early game when you’ve got all this other stuff to get ready for. I could feel it on the sidelines," W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said.
"We know what we’ve got to do for Tuesday (the three-way tiebreaker). We’ve got to get ready for two teams, and we had to get ready for Dayton, that’s three teams. It’s really difficult, and I’m glad the first part is over."
Any suspense about the outcome of "the first part" was over in the first 12 minutes.
W-P took advantage of three Dayton turnovers and a porous Bulldog defense to build a 29-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
W-P’s quick-strike scoring drives were highlighted by two Jace Zuger tackle-busting touchdown carries, a Zach Bartlow quarterback keeper for touchdown, and a 63-yard bubble-screen to Kris Cady for six points.
Bartlow finished his night in the third quarter with 154 yards on 5-of-10 passing. Zuger rushed for 105 yard on seven carries.
Dayton felt the oddness of the game, too, playing the entire game without its head coach, Tony Henderson, who was serving a one-game suspension for accidentally impeding an official last week while standing outside his team’s sideline box.
Coaches Joe Anderson and Dean Bickelhaupt took the controls of the Bulldogs in his absence.
"It was nice to get more than one touchdown tonight. It’s been tough all year on offense," coach Bickelhaupt said. "It was a good note for our kids to finish on here, because they’re a young group. It’s rough when you don’t win a ball game."
Eddie Ramos, Dayton’s only senior, scored the Bulldogs’ second touchdown on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"Eddie has played hard for us all four years," Bickelhaupt said. "At the end, we gave him the ball a little bit more so he could make some plays. He made some good runs and finally got into the end zone. We’re pretty proud of him."
With the loss, Dayton’s season is over.
W-P will return to this same field Tuesday night to take on Asotin in the first mini-game of a three-way tiebreaker at 5 p.m. A Waitsburg-Prescott win will assure W-P of a berth in the state playoffs. A win over DeSales in the second mini-game would earn W-P the top seed to state.
If W-P loses to Asotin, then it must hope for a DeSales loss to Asotin in the second game. If DeSales defeats Asotin, Waitsburg-Prescott would be eliminated. If DeSales loses, then the Irish would play W-P in a third mini-game to determine the second playoff spot.
"I like the draw. I thought the format was fair. And I like the way it turned out," Bartlow remarked. "The notion of getting a shot at Asotin again, when our only loss is to them, is just a blessing, really. Our kids are excited. Our coaches are excited.
"There’s certainly a huge advantage to (DeSales) getting the bye," Bartlow said. "You get two legit chances to go to state.
"But playing at Dayton is very advantageous for us. Whenever we play at Dayton, we have an advantage from the standpoint that we dress in Waitsburg, and treat it like a home game. We always have, and we like that. Playing here today and playing here six days from now is going to help us too, I think."
"We had no injuries tonight. We’re as healthy as we’ve been all year, and that’s huge," Bartlow said.
W-P 29 7 6 0 — 42
Dayton 0 6 0 7 — 13
W-P — Zuger 2 run (kick failed)
W-P — Zuger 39 run (Bartlow run).
W-P — Bartlow 23 run (Lehr kick).
W-P — Cady 63 pass from Bartlow (Cady pass from Bartlow).
Day — Fullerton 1 pass from Bickelhaupt (pass failed).
W-P — Zuger 7 run (Lehr kick).
W-P — Zuger 31 run (kick blocked).
Day — Ramos 3 run (Schlachter kick).
First downs 12 9
Rushes/yards 27-172 28-79
Passing yards 161 97
Passes (att-comp-int) 11-6-1 19-11-2
Punts 3-25.3 4-28.5
Fumbles-lost 4-3 4-3
Penalties-yards 5-40 3-15
RUSHING — W-P: Zuger 7-105, Gerke 1-19, Cady 2-9, Bartlow 4-28, Alexenko 1-2, Gusse 6-30, D. Estes 6-(-21); Day: Frame 10-25, Bickelhaupt 9-32, Henderson 3-15, Ramos 4-4, Lambert 1-0, Sanchez 1-3.
PASSING — W-P: Bartlow 5-10-1, 154 yards, 1 TD; D. Estes 1-1-0, 7 yards. Day: Bickelhaupt 11-19-2, 97 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING — W-P: Gerke 4-91-0, Cady 1-63-1, Purdin 1-7-0; Day: Turner 5-54-0, Ramos 2-26-0, Fullerton 4-17-1.