PASCO - In an explosion heard all the way to Colfax, Waitsburg-Prescott did everything right to post a 54-13 win over DeSales Saturday evening in quarterfinal state 2B football playoff action.
"They (W-P) came out like a thunderstorm," DeSales coach Pat Graham said. "They overwhelmed us in the first half. Their kids were really prepared. They came out with a lot of intensity and a lot of emotion. They were very determined to impose their will on us. And that's what they did."
"We played aggressive and with confidence," said W-P coach Jeff Bartlow. "It's amazing. The kids came out ready to play. Three weeks in a row, we have just rolled people up offensively, defensively, and on special teams. That (DeSales) is a quality team we played. They have a good scheme, and we worked real hard to get it covered."
W-P wasted no time in setting the tone. Kris Cady took the opening kickoff back 55 yards and W-P went to work at the Irish 41.
Quarterback Zach Bartlow stuck the ball in Cady's belly on the second W-P play from scrimmage. Cady got flattened by the Irish defense, but Bartlow pulled the ball out and raced up the middle for 29 yards and a first down at the Irish three. That play would repeat often as Bartlow ran for 204 yards on 13 carries for the night.
"It was a new play that we just plugged in yesterday," Zach Bartlow said. "It worked to perfection. The line blocked great."
Cady pounded it in from the three, his first of three rushing TDs on 15 carries for 173 yards, and W-P had a 6-0 lead with 48 seconds gone in the game.
Following a 19-yard kick off return by DeSales' Joe Duehn, the Irish started from their own 36. The Irish, on their first play, gave the ball to their leading rusher, Kyle Lindgren, but Tre Brannock and Greg Stearns greeted Lindgren and dropped him for a 2-yard loss.
"We were hyped and ready to go," W-P linebacker Brannock said. "We had a good week of practice and had a good game plan."
The W-P defense forced a three-and-out and W-P took over at its own 36. Eight plays later, Cady broke a 21-yard run, T.J. Hofer ran in the 2-point conversion on a flanker reverse, and W-P led 14-0 with 5:18 left in the first.
The Irish got something going as Jeremiah Cox hit Ryan Baumgart for a third down conversion, and W-P tacked on a face mask penalty to give the Irish a first down at the W-P 19.
Two plays later, Bartlow ended the Irish threat with a pick in his own end zone. The Irish would get no closer than the W-P 30 - a drive thwarted by another Bartlow interception at his own seven - the rest of the half.
"We didn't want them to get momentum," Zach Bartlow said of his first pick. "I was just reading the quarterback's eyes."
Following Zach Bartlow's first pick, W-P marched 80 yards, Zach Bartlow took it in from the 11 and W-P led 21-0 after one.
It didn't get any better for the Irish.
Justin Armstrong capped an 88-yard W-P drive for a 28-0 lead with 6:23 left in the half.
Bartlow, who completed seven-of-eight passes for 154 yards for the game, teamed up with Hofer on a 91-yard pass down the far sideline, Hofer ran in the two-point conversion and W-P led 36-0 at intermission.
"The run set up the pass," Zach Bartlow said. "We thought they were going to blitz (on the throw to Hofer), and they didn't. We had Cady going to the flat and they picked that up. I threw it up for him (Hofer) and he made a great play (on the 91-yard bomb)."
For the half, Bartlow ran for 127 yards, Cady ran for 101 yards, and the defense pitched a shutout, allowing 96 yards of total offense.
"We had their (DeSales') tendencies," Brannock said of the W-P defensive effort. "We were keying on their tendencies, and they did exactly what we thought."
"Arguably, the best half in the history of our program," Zach Bartlow said. "Everything was clicking. We just came out and wanted it."
W-P and the Irish exchanged fumbles to open the second half. Alex Hill recovered a DeSales fumble on the second-half kick off, but Spencer Cordeiro dropped on a Zach Bartlow fumble on the next snap to get the ball back for the Irish.
A sack by Shane Eastman ended the Irish drive, and three plays in to the ensuing W-P possession, Cady broke a 33-yard run for a 42-0 lead with 8:14 left in the third.
A Cox-to-Tommy Gregg 19-yard pass got the Irish on the board with 2:37 to play in the third, but W-P answered with a Zach Bartlow 38-yard scamper and W-P went to the fourth up 48-7.
"They had all the momentum, and it was difficult to build anything positive," Graham said. "In the second half, I thought we would respond. They (W-P) did a great job."
"When things start clicking, the momentum can keep you going," coach Bartlow said. "They were trying to sneak back in it, and we took it away from them."
Seniors Lindgren, Gregg, Vic Mata, Justin Meyer and Kincaid Schmitz made their final Irish appearance in the quarterfinal run and 8-3 Irish season.
"The seniors have done a lot for our program," Graham said. "They've been a part of a lot of great things we've done. That was a tough way for them to go out, but they should be proud of the things they've accomplished."
W-P moves on to play Colfax, a 27-0 winner over Lind-Ritzville, in a semifinal battle of unbeatens at a time, place and date to be determined.
"We'll be ready to play," Brannock said.
The Bulldogs knocked W-P out of the 2009 playoffs in the first round on their way to finishing second in the state, and will bring a No. 1 ranking into the semifinal.
"Colfax brings a great football team," Coach Bartlow said. "We've got some weapons. It should be a great game."
"We've got to have a great week of practice," added Zach Bartlow. "We've got to believe we can beat them and go out and execute."
WAITSBURG-PRESCOTT 54, DESALES 13
W-P 21 15 12 6 - 54
DeSales 0 0 7 6 - 13
W-P - Cady 3 run (kick failed).
W-P - Cady 21 run (Hofer run).
W-P - Bartlow 11 run (D. Estes kick).
W-P - Armstrong 3 run (D. Estes kick).
W-P - Hofer 91 pass from Bartlow (Hofer run).
W-P - Cady 33 run (kick blocked).
DeS - Gregg 19 pass from Cox (Mata kick).
W-P - Bartlow 38 run (pass failed).
W-P - D. Estes 23 run (run failed).
DeS - Duehn 97 kick off return (kick failed).
First downs 15 10
Rushes/yards 43-401 26-94
Passing yards 154 88
Passes (att-comp-int) 8-7-0 17-8-2
Punts 0-0.0 5-33.0
Fumbles-lost 4-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-32 5-45
RUSHING - W-P: Bartlow 13-204-2, Cady 15-173-3, Team 4-(-29), Armstrong 2-5-1, D. Estes 2-24-1, Moreno 6-28, LaRue 1-(-4); DeS: Lindgren 19-64, Cox 4-0, Fazzari 3-30.
PASSING - W-P: Bartlow 7-8-0 154 yards 1 TD; DeS: Cox 8-17-2 88 yards 1 TD.
RECEIVING - W-P: Wooderchak 3-43, Cady 1-6, Hofer 2-93-1, Powell 1-12; DeS: Lindgren 1-4, Baumgart 3-20, Matthews 2-29, Gregg 2-25-1.