WALLA WALLA - Colfax, the 2009 state Class 2B football runner-up, made big plays when it had to and broke open an 18-16 game with 20 fourth-quarter points as the Bulldogs handed DeSales its first loss of the season, 38-19, here at Ty Baffney Field Friday.
"They (Colfax) played harder than us down the stretch," Irish coach Pat Graham said. "That was the difference, and we can't give up that many big plays. Our kids have to do their job every snap and be disciplined."
The Irish got on the board first. Behind Kyle Lindgren's six carries for 29 yards, the Irish marched from their own 35 to the Bulldog 21 before the drive stalled.
Victor Mata kicked his first of two field goals with a successful 37 yarder, and the Irish led 3-0 with 7:47 left in the quarter.
Colfax took the lead for good as Tyler McNannay broke the first Bulldog big play with a 49-yard sprint to pay dirt for a 6-3 Colfax lead with 1:14 left in the quarter.
With 40 ticks left in the half, the Bulldogs marched 62 yards as Alex Teade connected with Damon Buck on an 11-yard scoring play on the last play of the half to send the Bulldogs to intermission up 12-3.
On the first snap from scrimmage to open the second half, McNannay blew by the Irish defenders and raced 65 yards to put Colfax up 18-3.
The Irish, who came back from 14-point deficits twice in their season-opening win, 31-28 over La Salle a week ago, roared back.
Quarterback Jeremiah Cox took to the air on DeSales' second possession of the half.
Cox connected with Tommy Gregg for 18 yards; Nick Wales for 33; and Lindgren on an 18-yard screen pass, to set the Irish up at the Bulldog 1.
Lindgren punched it in to cap the 79-yard drive, Mata added the PAT and the Irish trailed 18-10.
On the next Irish possession, DeSales got help from a pass interference penalty, and a 31 yard Cox-to-Gregg pass that Gregg came back to get moved to the Bulldog 16.
Cox lofted a pass into the end zone and Ryan Baumgart made a leaping grab for a 16-yard score and the Irish had narrowed the gap to 18-16 with 1:30 left in the third.
The Irish went for 2 to tie, but the pass failed.
"They have a great blitz package and the thing (question) was how we were going to handle that pressure," Graham said of his passing attack. "Sometimes you have to stand in there at quarterback, deliver the ball and take a shot. I thought he (Cox) did a good job of that. He had some really nice throws in the third quarter. He was one of the main reasons we were able to claw back into that game."
"There's no quit in the Irish. I just knew Pat and his kids would rally back," Colfax coach Mike Morgan said. "About the 18-16 mark, I'm thinking ‘Oh my gosh, here comes the DeSales comeback.' They (DeSales) were playing great."
On the first play of the fourth, Gregg picked off a Teade pass at the Bulldog 45. A holding penalty led to a three-and-out, and the Bulldogs struck.
On third-and-2 from their own 30, the Bulldogs gave the ball to McNannay over the right side, and McNannay broke through the line, put it in another gear and raced 70 yards for the back-breaker. The Bulldogs added a 2-point conversion and took a 26-16 lead with 9:43 to play.
A Mata-to-Baumgart 23-yard pass off a fake punt kept the next Irish drive alive, but it bogged down and DeSales settled for a Mata 22-yard field goal to cut the lead to 26-19 with 4:06 left.
McNannay broke a 50-yard run on the ensuing Bulldog possession and a Teade-to-Kellen Morgan 20-yard TD pass made it 32-19 with 1:11 to play.
"We needed two scores, so we took the field goal hoping we could stop them and comeback and get a touchdown," Graham said. "We didn't end up stopping them.
"I was frustrated at the end," he added. "Our kids battle all the way back from 18-3 and we make it an 18-16 game. We've just got to finish."
McNannay finished with TD runs of 49, 65 and 70 on his way to 265 rushing yards on 12 carries to lead Colfax.
"Our kids dug down deep and made some big plays," Morgan said. "They (DeSales) expended so much energy to try and even it up, and we were lucky enough to have a little bit more in the tank there at the end. Tyler (McNannay) has some great skills. Once he gets in the open, he is awfully tough to bring down."
The Irish host their third 2009 state Class 2B playoff team Friday when White Swan visits.
"We're preparing for another great opponent," Graham said. "We've got to keep getting better."
Colfax 38, DeSales 19
Colfax 6 6 6 20 - 38
DeSales 3 0 13 3 - 19
DeS - Mata 37 FG.
Colfax - McNannay 49 run (kick failed).
Colfax - Buck 11 pass from Teade (pass failed).
Colfax - McNannay 65 run (kick failed).
DeS - Lindgren 1 run (Mata kick).
DeS - Baumgart 16 pass from Cox (pass failed).
Colfax - McNannay 70 run (Morgan pass from Teade).
DeS - Mata 22 FG.
Colfax - Morgan 20 pass from Teade (pass failed).
Colfax - Teade 36 run (kick blocked).
First downs 10 19
Rushes/yards 26-353 34-58
Passing yards 99 199
Passes (att-comp-int) 16-9-1 32-15-0
Punts 5-38.4 4-36.0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 4-1
Penalties-yards 9-85 2-15
RUSHING - Colfax: McNannay 12-265-3, Teade 4-51, Li 9-37, Thompson 1-0; DeS: Lindgren 25-59-1, Cox 8-(-4), Fazzari 1-3.
PASSING - Colfax: Teade 9-16-1 99 yards 2 TDs; DeS: Cox 14-31-0 176 yards 1 TD, Mata 1-1-0 23 yards.
RECEIVING - Colfax: McNannay 2-18, Li 2-4, Morgan 3-38-1, Berarducci 1-28, Buck 1-11-1; DeS: Wales 4-47, Gregg 4-66, Lindgren 3-37, Matthews 1-5, Baumgart 3-44-1.