POMEROY - Talk about your dirty tricks.
And with Halloween still a couple of days away at that.
Visiting Touchet allowed Pomeroy to score 20 first-quarter points Friday night during their Southeast 1B-8 League football showdown, firing up the Pirates' sidelines and energizing a big Homecoming crowd. And then the Indians took it all back.
Senior quarterback Jake Hodnefield's 35-yard touchdown run with 1:35 remaining in the game proved to be the final nail in the coffin as the Indians notched their second last-gasp victory in seven days with a 34-28 victory over the Pirates.
Just last Saturday, Matt Kates, Touchet's other senior QB, rifled a 52-yard touchdown pass to Eric Hines with 1:26 remaining that boosted the Indians to a 38-34 homefield victory over Garfield-Palouse and snipped the team's three-game losing streak in the process.
"Quite a surprise, a very pleasant surprise," coach Gary Dorman said in praise of his living-on-the-edge squad. "To come from 20 down to taking it away from them."
And necessary, too, in the Indians' quest to secure some sort of place in the postseason playoff picture.
Dorman said prior to the Gar-Pal game that his team would need to win out and get some outside help to make the postseason. Friday's victory here completes the first part of the equation - the Indians' regular-season finale Thursday in Touchet against Liberty Christian is a non-leaguer - but the help half is still in play.
St. John-Endicott (5-0) clinched the league championship Friday night with a 44-32 victory over Colton that dropped the Wildcats into a tie for second place with Garfield-Palouse, both teams at 3-2. The Vikings routed last-place Sunnyside Christian (0-5) 52-6 Friday night.
Touchet is alone in fourth place with a 3-3 tally while Pomeroy is now 2-3 and tied with Lacrosse-Washtucna for fifth place. The Tigercats lost a 48-0 non-league decision to Liberty Christian Friday.
Touchet's playoff hopes depend on one of two things going its way. Either Colton must defeat Gar-Pal Thursday in Colton or L-W must lose Thursday at Sunnyside Christian. Better yet, both.
If Colton secures second place and Touchet and Gar-Pal finish in a two-way tie for third, the Indians would earn the third playoff berth via the head-to-head tiebreaker. If L-W garners a share of third place with the Indians and the Vikings, a three-way mini-playoff on the following Tuesday will determine the third playoff team.
However, if Gar-Pal wins at Colton and takes the second spot, that would leave the Indians either in a two-way tie for third place with Colton or possibly in a three-way tie that would also include L-W. And since the Indians lost to both Colton and L-W during its unfortunate three-game, midseason skid, the Indians would be erased from the playoff picture.
Pomeroy isn't entirely out of the picture, either, but the Pirates' hopes hinge on pulling a major upset at St. John-Endicott Thursday. If the Pirates can pull it off, however, they might actually enhance Touchet's hopes by creating a four-way tie for third place or possibly a five-way tie for second.
The Pirates appeared poised to dash Touchet's hopes early here Friday night as they scored on three of their first four possessions. Sophomore Austin Reisdorph scored the first two Pomeroy touchdowns on runs of 51 and 5 yards, and sophomore Ryan Smith scored the third on a 26-yard reverse on the first play from scrimmage after the Pirates recovered an onside kick. Reisdorph also scored a two-point conversion following his second touchdown run.
But the Indians didn't panic.
Hodnefield, who finished his night with 181 yards rushing and 233 passing, got the Indians on the scoreboard with a 19-yard TD pass to sophomore Vincent Flores, who was back in action after missing four games with a non-football eye injury. The same duo hooked up again on a 33-yard scoring pass 20 seconds before halftime, and Flores' second conversion kick had Touchet within 20-14 at the break.
Touchet got the ball first in the second half and Hodnefield's 21-yard touchdown run capped a 67-yard, five-play drive. Flores' third PAT kick gave the Indians their first lead, 21-20.
Pomeroy misfired on its next two possessions as senior quarterback Mack Wolf lost a fumble near the Indians' goal line and was then intercepted by Hodnefield near midfield.
Hodnefield's pick led to an 11-play drive in which he found Hines on a 10-yard touchdown pass. Flores converted again for a 28-20 Touchet lead.
Pomeroy responded with a long drive of its own, however, marching 80 yards in 11 plays. Reisdorph's third touchdown run, a 2-yard blast, and junior Tory Knebel's two-point conversion run forged a 28-28 tie.
Touchet got the ball back with two minutes to play near midfield on another Pirate squib kick. And on the Indians' third play from scrimmage, Hodnefield found running room down the right sideline, broke one tackle and outran everyone else for a 35-yard touchdown that decided the game.
"It was a run play all the way," Dorman said of Hodnefield's game-winning TD. "We flooded the field away from where he was supposed to run, and they were pretty worried about protecting against the pass. And once Jake gets through those first three or four guys who are rushing, it's like trying to catch feathers. It's so hard to pin him down."
Pomeroy coach Scott McGee, who has spent the entire season introducing his players to 8-man football after years in the 11-man ranks, couldn't agree more.
"Our defense has slowly gotten better, but it's hard to defend against a guy like No. 10," McGee said of Hodnefield. "He's an 8-man player. He really fits the game. And we are still inexperienced in the 8-man world."
Touchet 0 14 7 13 - 34
Pomeroy 20 0 0 8 - 28
Pom - Reisdorph 51 run (run failed).
Pom - Reisdorph 5 run (Reisdorph run).
Pom - Smith 26 run (pass failed).
Tou - Flores 19 pass from Hodnefield (Flores kick).
Tou - Flores 33 pass from Hodnefield (Flores kick).
Tou - Hodnefield 21 run (Flores kick).
Tou - Hines 10 pass from Hodnefield (Flores kick).
Pom - Reisdorph 2 run (Knebel run).
Tou - Hodnefield 35 run (kick failed).
First downs 20 17
Rushes/yards 29-181 39-259
Passing yards 233 133
Passes (att-comp-int) 32-17-0 17-7-2
Punts 2-34.5 1-50
Fumbles-lost 0-0 4-1
Penalties-yards 11-90 5-43
RUSHING - Touchet: Preciado 4-4, Hodnefield 24-183, Flores 1-(-6); Pomeroy: Knebel 18-92, Reisdorph 13-118, Moore 4-23, Smith 1-26, Wolf 3-0.
PASSING - Touchet: Hodnefield 17-32-0, 233 yards, 3 touchdowns. Pomeroy: Wolf 7-13-2, 133 yards.
RECEIVING - Touchet: Preciado 4-42-0, Hines 3-34-1, Flores 9-148-2, Kates 1-9-0; Pomeroy: Knebel 4-73-0, Smith 2-28-0, Ruark 1-32-0.