WAITSBURG — Pomeroy knew it needed a victory here Friday and help from Asotin to stay alive in the postseason chase. Waitsburg-Prescott came in believing a victory would nearly assure it of a trip to the state Class 2B-11 state playoffs.
Unknown to both teams, a DeSales upset brewed in Asotin, making the homecoming match here pointless for the Pirates and an elimination game for W-P.
Waitsburg-Prescott refused to be eliminated, though, as the No. 6 team in the state took care of business, downing the Pirates 33-7.
"The bottom line is we knew what we had to do to take care of our business on our homecoming game and senior night and we did," a happy yet focused W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said after the game.
"We made some mistakes and they capitalized," Pomeroy coach Scott McGee summarized. "It’s like everyone says, ‘You just can’t do that against a good team.’ And we proved it tonight. Had it not been for (turnovers), it would have been a different ball game."
Waitsburg-Prescott indeed capitalized on turnovers, scoring touchdowns on drives after two of Pomeroy’s three turnovers, and a third touchdown after a sack of Pomeroy quarterback Trevor Koberstein on fourth down.
On the night, the W-P defense tallied eight sacks and forced two fumbles.
"They’re a Wing-T team, so they’ve got to run the ball to be successful," Bartlow explained. "When they get behind it kills them, because they have to throw. It puts them in a situation they aren’t comfortable with, and allows us to bring people (at the quarterback). That’s when the sacks came."
The game was tight through the first quarter with both teams posting touchdowns to the scoreboard.
Waitsburg-Prescott scored on its first possession.
W-P held Pomeroy to an initial three-and-out, and took over the ball after a punt at the Pirate 44. W-P needed just three plays to put the ball in the end zone. A 5-yard Chris Cady carry and 23-yard Justin Zuger sprint set W-P up at the Pomeroy 16. Quarterback Zach Bartlow finished the drive with a bootleg left for 16 yards — the first of three rushing touchdowns for Bartlow on the night.
The ensuing Fernando Gomez kickoff pinned Pomeroy deep at its own 14. But Pomeroy used 12 consecutive running plays and 5:30 of clock to even the score at 7-7 with 3:23 left in the first quarter. The drive was highlighted by Ethan McGee’s 42-yard run on third-and-three near midfield, and his 2-yard touchdown plunge up the middle four plays later.
Pomeroy’s defense forced its first three-and-out on W-P’s next drive, then began its turnover-self-destruction.
On the fourth play of Pomeroy’s next drive, the W-P ‘D’ stood up and stripped quarterback Koberstein. W-P’s Marco Wickman recovered the ball at the Pirate 29-yard line. Six plays later Bartlow again scored, this time on an 11-yard option-keeper.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Pomeroy again coughed up the ball. This time W-P’s Cady and Tre Brannock pancaked ball carrier Tyler Reisdorph after a nine-yard gain. The pigskin popped free and W-P took over at the Pirate 36.
W-P’s next play found paydirt on a timing pass from Bartlow to senior receiver Lucan Gerke in the back corner of the end zone against good coverage. At half, W-P led 20-7.
The third quarter was a scoreless back-and-forth struggle, giving the Pirate faithful hope that their team could come back. That hope was crushed with 28 seconds remaining in the quarter, when W-P offensive coordinator T.J. Scott called an unorthodox play on third-and-15. In an obvious passing situation, Bartlow dropped back, then ran a delayed draw up the middle. Following blocks downfield by Zuger and Dustin Wooderchak, Bartlow cut left to the sideline, then outraced all Pirates to the end zone. The 60-yard TD run proved the back-breaker.
Ethan McGee rushed 18 times for 122 yards. The Pirates, however, rarely threatened to score, beginning nearly every drive with horrible field position. Seven times the Pirates started drives at or inside their own 20-yard line.
Contrast that with five Waitsburg-Prescott drives starting inside Pirate territory.
The DeSales and Waitsburg-Prescott victories create a three-way tie for first place between the Irish, Asotin, and W-P — all one-loss teams. If DeSales and Waitsburg-Prescott win as expected against Liberty Christian and Dayton, respectively, on Friday, then the Irish, Panthers, and W-P will play a Kansas tie-breaker on Tuesday of the following week to decide which two teams go on to the state playoffs.
"I know Asotin is playing next Thursday (in a non-league game) at Davenport," said Bartlow. "We’re hoping to get our game with Dayton moved up to Thursday, and I’m hoping DeSales can get their game with Liberty Christian moved up as well. It gives us all that extra day to prepare once we know who we’ll play."
As for the Pirates ...
"I told the kids, right now we’re 4-4, and we can either finish the season winning or finish the season losing. I hope they make the decision to finish winning," coach McGee said.
Pomeroy finishes the season Friday at Tekoa-Oakesdale-Rosalia.
Pomeroy 7 0 0 0 —7
Wait.-Prescott 7 13 7 6 — 33
W-P — Bartlow 16 run (Lehr kick).
Pom — McGee 2 run (Lueck kick).
W-P — Bartlow 8 run (Lehr kick).
W-P — Gerke 36 pass from Bartlow (kick failed).
W-P — Bartlow 60 run (Lehr kick).
W-P — Alexenko 32 run (kick failed).
First downs 12 10
Rushes/yards 37-139 32-237
Passing yards 45 62
Passes (att-comp-int) 12-3-0 9-4-0
Punts 5-26 6-26.8
Fumbles-lost 4-3 1-1
Penalties-yards 2-10 6-46
RUSHING — W-P: Cady 6-28, Zuger 11-88, Bartlow 10-93, Alexenko 2-37, Hermann 2-(-1), D. Estes 1-(-8); Pomeroy: I. Lueck 3-(-6), T. Reisdorph 7-47, McGee 18-122, T. Koberstein 15-(-25), Knebel 1-1.
PASSING — W-P: Bartlow 4-9-0, 62 yards, 1 TD; Pomeroy: T. Koberstein 3-12-0, 45 yards, 0 TDs; Lueck 0-1-0.
RECEIVING — W-P: Alexenko 1-8, Gerke 2-45-1, Cady 1-9; Pomeroy: T. Reisdorph 1-0, Ruark 2-45.