Waitsburg-Prescott faces football playoff rematch with Colfax

Waitsburg-Prescott is riding high as it looks to avenge last season's playoff loss to Colfax in their semifinal game Saturday.

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After their 54-13 victory over DeSales, Waitsburg-Prescott head coach Jeff Bartlow leads his team in a cheer.

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(bWaitsburg-Prescott head coach Jeff Bartlow calls out a play to quarterback Zach Bartlow during their quarterfinal game against DeSales last Saturday.

WAITSBURG - Waitsburg-Prescott's football team looks to take the final step to making the state Class 2B championship game Saturday when the team faces off against fellow unbeaten Colfax in a semifinal rematch of the game that ended W-P's playoff run last season.

Both teams are coming off dominant quarterfinal wins.

Colfax defeated Lind-Ritzville, 27-0, to advance.

And W-P thumped rival DeSales, 54-13, in a game in which W-P jumped out to a 36-0 halftime lead.

Both Colfax and W-P enter the final four 11-0 on the year.

"It felt great to beat a team like DeSales that soundly," said W-P head coach Jeff Bartlow. "It was a good tune-up for us because we're familiar with them, because we have such a long history together. It allowed us to work on things a little bit more than if we had been playing a team we knew less about."

DeSales head coach Pat Graham knew the Irish were in for a battle against W-P, which also beat DeSales during the regular season.

"They're a very good team, and they're playing their best ball at the right time of the year," Graham said. "They have a very balanced attack on offense, and that's tough to handle."

W-P is going to need a balanced attack to find a way to score against Colfax, which has allowed just seven total points in three postseason games.

W-P will have to rely heavily on a passing attack led by quarterback Zach Bartlow and a ground game paced by running back Kris Cady, who topped the 1,300 yard mark on the season versus DeSales.

"When you play a defense like the one Colfax has, you can't afford to do the same thing over and over again," coach Bartlow said. "I mean, we're talking about a team that hasn't even given up 50 points all year, so when you couple that with the points they can put on the board then you know there isn't much room for error."

In case anyone on the W-P sidelines forgets about how little margin for mistakes there is, coach Bartlow recently pulled out the film from last year's 39-0 stomping Colfax dropped on W-P en route to a run to the state finals, where Colfax came up one game short of the title.

"I'm not a big revenge guy," Barltow said. "Still, I'd be lying if I said that watching that tape didn't get me a little fired up. I think more than anything we have a chance to put our best game out there because that did not happen last year, and they dominated us."

Not only will W-P have to find a way to crack Colfax's vaunted defense, but the lone local team remaining in the postseason must also work on containing Colfax's veer, option offense, which has posted 128 points in its last three games.

"They run the option, but it's a more balanced offense than some option teams do," Bartlow said, "which again goes back to the balance a team needs to win when you get down to this few teams."

As has been the case for most of the season, W-P will rely heavily on its leading tackler Tre Brannock, who had his season average for tackles with 11 against DeSales.

And while Xs and Os may be the biggest key to victory for W-P, the team's attitude may be the biggest change between this season and going into last year's game versus Colfax.

"Our confidence is probably about as high as it has been in quite some time," Bartlow said. "It's that kind of confidence that is going to be necessary for us to win. We've accomplished a lot lately, and I think that has our guys feeling that they can win any game against anyone."

While Colfax heads into the matchup, which is currently slated for Martin Stadium in Pullman at 1 p.m. on Saturday, as the favorite, there is no reason to doubt that W-P at least has a puncher's chance with the roll the team enters the game riding.

"We're all excited," Bartlow said. "To make it this far is great, and wherever the game winds up it will be a big stadium, which is something for our kids to get excited about. It's our chance to set the record straight and maybe make it to somewhere that's really special next week."

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