ASOTIN — It was No. 3 vs. No. 6 in the state’s Class 2B-11 state football rankings here Friday night, not to mention first place in the Southeast 2B-11 League standings.
No. 3 Asotin and No. 6 Waitsburg-Prescott combined for 554 yards in total offense, and both teams made multiple drives into the other’s red zone. But the host Panthers converted one more opportunity than did W-P and came away with the 14-7 homecoming victory.
"Both teams stepped up," Asotin coach Sal Lopez said. "Then both teams got bit by mistakes, and it evened out at the end. The Waitsburg (Prescott) kids showed a lot of tenacity, and my kids showed some at the same time. We were just fortunate that we had one extra score."
The Panther defense took away W-P’s big-play passing game, and Asotin’s Ben Servatius threw for 234 yards and got the ball in the end zone for the Panthers’ two scores. Servatius hit 6-foot-6 Jesse Davis for a 6-yard TD in the first quarter, and he found Lucas Forsberg in the back left corner of the end zone on a 21-yard scoring pass for what proved to be the game winner with 7:51 left in the third.
"We got ourselves in situations that we’re not typically in," W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. "They didn’t allow us to have big plays, and we’ve big-played everybody. We could run the ball because of their set up, and we did. Penalties and mistakes got us in situations where we couldn’t run the ball.
"It was a great game," Bartlow continued. "It was a defensive game that we’ve not been in."
The Panthers started the first offensive drive at their own 36 and promptly marched, following a Servatius-to-Matt Small 28-yard pass, into the red zone at the W-P 10 in seven plays.
Hello W-P defense.
Kris Cady broke through to drop Servatius at the 15. Chance McDaniel dropped Riley Spooner for a 2-yard loss. But the Panthers rallied as Servatius hit Small to the W-P six, and on fourth down, Servatius found Davis for the touchdown.
The Panthers took advantage of a W-P encroachment penalty and Servatius ran in for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Asotin lead with 7:29 to play in the first.
W-P’s first drive ended in three plays as Small grabbed the first of three Panther interceptions on the night at the 50.
Asotin converted a fourth-and-one at the W-P 10 on the eighth play of the ensuing drive. On third-and-four at the four, Ben Kiefel stopped Spooner for a two-yard loss. On fourth-and-goal the Panthers threw a swing pass to Spooner, but Lucan Gerke dropped Spooner for a two-yard loss and W-P took over.
An 11-yard burst by Zach Bartlow got W-P some breathing room as W-P ended the quarter on the move at its own 38.
Bartlow, who ran for 131 yards on 22 carries for the game, ran off consecutive runs of 25 and 22 yards, as W-P marched into the red zone with a first down at the Panther 13.
W-P fumbled but recovered, and then came up with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-five at the Panther eight as Asotin held.
"I think the score could’ve been 42-40," Lopez said of the red zone opportunities. "Both teams defenses stepped up and that made life difficult for both of us."
Back came the Panthers with a drive to the W-P 18. After three incomplete passes, W-P’s David Brock barged into the Panthers backfield and chased Servatius down and force a fumble. Kiefel fell on the ball and W-P took over at its own 32.
W-P then marched into the red zone, sparked by Bartlow completions of eight yards to Dustin Wooderchak, 12 yards to Jace Zuger and 15 yards to Gerke. A penalty moved the ball to the Asotin 15, but the next four plays netted only six yards and Asotin took its 8-0 lead to the intermission.
Asotin stuffed a QB sneak on fourth-and-onee at the W-P 47 to open the second half. The Panthers capitalized.
Six plays later, Servatius hit Lucas Forsberg for 21 yards and the score. W-P blocked the PAT kick, but Asotin had a 14-0 lead.
W-P drove to the Panther 21, but Dusty Lyons’ interception ended the threat with 3:51 left in the third.
The Panthers failed to convert a fourth-and-two from the W-P 47 as the third quarter expired.
W-P took advantage of the short field. Bartlow ran for 32 yards and Cady added 22 yards before Bartlow culminated the drive with a 1-yard TD plunge on fourth down. James Lehr’s conversion kick drew W-P to within 14-7 with 7:51 remaining in the game.
On the ensuing Asotin possession, the W-P defense held and forced a punt from the Asotin 48. The snap was high and W-P’s Marco Wikman covered Servatius at his own 24.
"I never thought we were going to lose," Bartlow said. "We came down and scored and had the ball back. I thought we were going to win it."
It was not to be as Spooner picked off a errant W-P pass at his own eight and returned to his own 29 to end the last W-P threat of the night.
"We made too many mistakes to pull it off against a good team," Bartlow said. "We got down there (red zone) and couldn’t put it in. We’ve not been in the red zone much this year because we’ve had so many big plays. Our red zone offense hurt us tonight."
Asotin, with the help of the only punt in the game — a 36-yard quick kick on third down — held W-P at bay over the last 4:35 to remain perfect at 8-0, 5-0.
Asotin hosts DeSales Friday.
W-P suffers its first loss and drops to 6-1, 3-1, but its playoff hopes are alive as Pomeroy visits Friday.
"The kids played their hearts out," Bartlow said. "That’s all you can ask."
W-P 0 0 0 7 —7
Asotin 8 0 6 0 —14
Aso — Davis 6 pass from Servatius (Servatius run).
Aso — Forsberg 21 pass from Servatius (kick blocked).
W-P — Bartlow 1 run (Lehr kick).
First downs 14 15
Rushes/yards 35-194 38-66
Passing yards 60 234
Passes (att-comp-int) 22-7-3 28-16-0
Punts 0-00.0 1-36.0
Fumbles-lost 5-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 4-22 9-51
RUSHING — W-P: Bartlow 22-131, Zuger 4-(-6), Cady 8-48, Alexenko 1-21; Asotin: Spooner 16-53, Servatius15-(-16), Le. Forsberg 5-21, Styner 2-8.
PASSING — W-P: Bartlow 7-22-3, 60 yards. Asotin: Servatius 16-28-0, 234 yards, 2 TDs
RECEIVING — W-P: Zuger 3-15-0, Wooderchak 1-8-0, Gerke 3-37-0; Asotin: McIntosh 1-17-0, Spooner 5-10-0, Small 4-98-0, Davis 3-39-1, Le. Forsberg 2-49-0, Lu. Forsberg 1-21-1.