POMEROY — Twelve Pirate seniors who have never been to the postseason took to the home gridiron for the last time here Friday night, needing a win against the visiting Dayton Bulldogs and some help from Asotin to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Hope sprung eternal on both counts, as Pomeroy destroyed Dayton 45-6, Asotin beat W-P 14-7, and one happy coach got an ice water bath from his seniors.
"I’ll take nine of those a year," said a wet but jubilant Pirate coach Scott McGee about the impromptu shower.
"These senior kids have put a lot of time into this football program," McGee said. "Some of them have played for six years, some of them for eight years.
"That’s what this night was about: ‘Seniors come out and play your tails off. We won’t be beat if you play as hard as you can play and play how you know.’ That’s what they did and it just kind of got on a roll."
The Pirates were led by senior Ethan McGee, coach McGee’s son, who scored five touchdowns on the night.
"I’ve never done that before (score five touchdowns). To come out on senior night and do that was a perfect way to cap my senior year," Ethan McGee said.
McGee’s first four scores all came via the ground on rushes of 6, 38, 22, and 13 yards. McGee tallied his fifth touchdown by picking off a pass from Dayton quarterback Colton Bickelhaupt, weaving through traffic, then finding open field, and 57-yards later, the end zone.
Pomeroy opened its scoring flurry with a 15-yard pass from Trevor Koberstein to Wyatt Koller. Koberstein also scored a touchdown on a 10-yard quarterback keeper late in the second quarter.
Dayton’s only points came with four seconds left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs forced the Pirates to punt into a strong headwind from deep in their own territory — a wind which plagued kickers and passers from both teams all night. The Bulldogs took the short punt at the Pirate 26. Five plays later, Dayton’s Josh Frame carried the ball into the end zone on a 4-yard dash.
Pomeroy put the game away with 4:00 left in the first half.
Up 18-6 and looking to add on, the Pirates moved the ball 40 yards on seven plays to the Dayton 15. There the Bulldog defense stiffened, forcing a turnover on downs by sacking Koberstein for a six-yard loss on fourth.
On Dayton’s next snap, the Bulldog center shotgunned the ball high over Bickelhaupt’s head. Pomeroy recovered at the Dayton 12, and two plays later Koberstein’s sneak made it a three-touchdown game. One minute and 30 seconds after that, McGee would push the lead to 32-6 on a 22-yard run through the middle.
"It’s stuff we’ve seen before — bad snaps. We couldn’t get the offense going, and the wind played a factor as well," Dayton coach Tony Henderson said. "They’re a good ball club and we’re still learning, but our young guys played hard all night."
The win, coupled with Asotin’s victory over Waitsburg-Prescott, sets up a crucial showdown next week between Pomeroy and W-P at Waitsburg. A Pomeroy win and a DeSales loss to Asotin would create a three-way tie for the second place and the final playoff. It that event, a mini-playoff would take place the following Tuesday to break the tie.
But a Pomeroy loss at W-P ends the Pirates’ playoff dreams are ended.
"We are going to have to be absolutely perfect (to beat W-P)," coach McGee said. "Whatever it is, we’re doing — whether we’re running or throwing the football — we have to be perfect. We’re capable. We can do it. We’ve got the kids. But we’re probably going to have to be better than we’ve ever been this year to do it."
And what would it mean to the seniors should the Pirates prevail next Friday?
"It’d mean the world to me," said Ethan McGee. "It’s been my goal since Day One my freshman year, to come out and go to the playoffs, and bring Pomeroy back to the glory days."
"It’s going to be a hard fought battle, because Waitsburg-Prescott is pretty much our rival right now. To get it done is going to be tough — they’re always tough," Ethan McGee said. "That would be the game of the year for me, if we can win it."
Many an old Pirate would agree.
Dayton 6 0 0 0 - 6
Pomeroy 12 20 6 7 - 45
Pom — W. Koller 15 pass from T. Koberstein (pass failed).
Pom — McGee 6 run (pass failed).
Day — Frame 4 run (pass failed).
Pom — McGee 38 run (pass failed).
Pom — T. Koberstein 10 run (T. Koberstein run).
Pom — McGee 22 run (pass failed).
Pom — McGee 13 run (kick failed).
Pom — McGee 57 interception return for TD (Lueck kick).
First downs 4 18
Rushes/yards 61 266
Passing yards 12 39
Passes (att-comp-int) 13-1-1 15-5-1
Punts 8-24 2-26
Fumbles-lost 9-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-35 7-49
RUSHING — Dayton: Bickelhaupt 10-3, Frame 9-(-6), Henderson 13-58, Lambert 2-6; Pomeroy: McGee 13-153 4 TDs, I. Lueck 5-36, T. Reisdorph 8-63, Knebel 4-8, T. Koberstein 3-2 TD, Parker 1-1, W. Jenkins 1-3.
PASSING — Dayton: Bickelhaupt 1-13-1, 12 yards. Pomeroy: T. Koberstein 4-13-1, 29 yards, 1 TD; Knebel 1-2-0, 10 yards.
RECEIVING — Dayton: Turner 1-12-0; Pomeroy: W. Koller 1-15-1, Ruark 2-19-0, Knebel 1-(-5)-0.