WALLA WALLA - A short-handed DeSales football team took care of business here at Homecoming Friday night in Southeast 2B Conference football action.
Tekoa-Oakesdale-Rosalia scored first and last, but in between it was all Irish.
DeSales, playing without five players that were serving a one-game suspension for violation of school rules, evened its SE2B record at 1-1 with a 41-14 win.
"We had some players that were disciplined for violating the DeSales behavior code," Irish coach Pat Graham said. "We had to deal with a little bit of adversity this week. Our kids handled it well. We had a lot of guys that stepped up and filled in and they did a great job."
On the game's first play from scrimmage, DeSales' Jeremiah Cox had his pass picked off by Flash Hodges at the Irish 47. Nighthawks running back Earl Gaines carried eight times on the nine-play T-O-R drive for 42 yards and his 5-yard burst put the Nighthawks on top 7-0 with 7:44 left in the first quarter.
The Irish answered as Tommy Gregg took the ensuing kickoff back 44 yards and the Irish went to work at the Nighthawks' 48.
Kyle Lindgren ran four times for 20 yards, and Cox completed three passes for 28 yards, with Lindgren's last carry being a 2-yard plunge for the score.
Ryan Baumgart ran out of a fake point-after-TD for the 2-point conversion and the Irish had the lead for good at 8-7 with 4:30 left in the quarter.
"We didn't get off to a good start," Lindgren said. "We just tried to battle back and fight through it."
Luke Fazzari and Anthony Brown dropped T-O-R quarterback Scott Eberle for a 3-yard loss on a Nighthawks option on fourth-and-3 from the Irish 33 on the following Nighthawks possession.
The Irish took over on downs and, sparked by a Gregg 43-yard romp down the near sideline with a lateral, marched to the Nighthawks 4. Cox hit Mike Matthews with a 4-yard scoring pass, Darryl Galloway added the PAT, and DeSales took control at 15-7 with 9:21 left in the half.
"We get down right off the bat and we had to be patient," Graham said. "Our kids responded well. They didn't panic. We answered that score with a nice drive and took the lead, and from there, we were able to take control of the game."
DeSales marched to the Nighthawks 5, but Cox suffered his first of five sacks on the night and was pressured into an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal as the Nighthawk defense held and took over on downs at their own 13 with 6:02 left in the half.
"They put a lot of pressure on us all night," Graham said. "Their defensive line was in our backfield continually."
DeSales forced a punt and got the ball back at its 37. With 18 seconds left in the half, Cox connected with Baumgart on a 10-yard fade route to the far corner and the Irish went to intermission up 21-7.
A Nighthawks roughing the punter penalty kept the first Irish possession of the second half alive, and DeSales capitalized. Cox hit Nick Wales down the middle for a 7-yard score and a 28-7 lead with 4:19 left in the third.
Matthews would catch a 24-yard bomb from Cox and Lindgren would follow a Cox 33-yard scramble with a 4-yard burst as DeSales built the lead to 41-7 with 6:44 left in the game.
Cox finished the night with a 14-of-20 passing night, good for 165 yards and three TDs. Baumgart caught six balls - all in the first half - for 89 yards to lead the receivers.
Lindgren carried the ball 24 times for 134 yards in the victory.
"The line always tries to do a good job," the Irish 2010 Homecoming King said. "We had to have a few new people play in the line this week. They were ready for it and they knew what they had to do."
"I wouldn't say it was easy," Graham said of the win. "They were very physical. There were a lot of times where we had to work really hard to get some yards. Kyle (Lindgren) had some tough yards and banged in there all day long. Our kids had to earn it tonight."
The Irish host Asotin Friday in a key SE2B match up.
"We feel pretty good right now," Lindgren said. "We've got to go back to work on Monday, because we have Asotin."
DeSales 41, T-O-R 14
T-O-R 7 0 0 7 - 14
DeSales 8 13 7 13 - 41
TOR - E. Gaines 5 run (Dedic kick).
DeS - Lindgren 2 run (Baumgart run).
DeS - Matthews 4 pass from Cox (Galloway kick).
DeS - Baumgart 10 pass from Cox (pass failed).
DeS - Wales 7 pass from Cox (Galloway kick).
DeS - Matthews 24 pass from Cox (Galloway kick).
DeS - Lindgren 4 run (kick blocked).
TOR - Hodges 24 pass from Eberle (Dedic kick).
First downs 11 20
Rushes/yards 39-163 40-263
Passing yards 62 165
Passes (att-comp-int) 18-6-1 20-14-1
Punts 2-29.0 0-0.0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-1
Penalties-yards 6-59 8-57
RUSHING - TOR: E. Gaines 22-99, J. Gaines 5-47, Littleton 4-10, Eberle 5-7, Dedic 1-(-6), Lindgren 1-8, Pittsley 1-(-2); DeS: Lindgren 24-134-2, Gregg 2-56, Cox 10-44, Fazzari 3-13, Matthews 1-16.
PASSING - TOR: Eberle 5-15-1 59 yards 1 TD, Pittsley 1-3-0 3 yards 0 TDs; DeS: Cox 14-20-1 165 yards 3 TDs.
RECEIVING - TOR: Littleton 1-7, Hodges 3-41-1, Lindgren 1-3, E. Gaines 1-11; DeS: Matthews 4-43-2, Baumgart 6-89-1, Gregg 2-6, Wales 2-27.