WALLA WALLA - Jeremiah Cox threw for four touchdowns and the DeSales defense pitched a shutout as the Irish blanked White Swan, 45-0, here Friday in non-conference football action.
"It was a tough week to prepare as they (White Swan) do some unorthodox things offensively, and defensively they play two or three different fronts," Irish coach Pat Graham said. "We told our kids that we had to play fast and play with aggression and take care of what we need to do to execute offensively and defensively. The kids came out and did that tonight."
The Cougars recovered a pooched opening kickoff at the Irish 29 and, with the help of a face mask penalty and some "unorthodox" formations, marched to the DeSales' 13.
On third-and-9, Nick Wales stuffed the Cougars' Alex Sampson for a two-yard loss, the first of five stops for losses made by the Irish defense. A fourth-down pass fell incomplete and the Irish took over on downs. The Cougars got no closer than the Irish 34 the rest of the way.
"They run some weird stuff and bring some tackles out," Irish defensive end Victor Mata said of the Irish defensive plan. "Our D-ends would go out to match up."
The Irish marched 85 yards and used up five minutes of game clock as Kyle Lindgren ran for 23 of his game-high 110 yards during the march, and Cox found Tommy Gregg open from 29 yards out and the Irish led 7-0 with 2:02 left in the first.
Three minutes into the second period, Cox threw into double coverage but Ryan Baumgart pulled it in for a 17-yard TD, Mata added the PAT and DeSales led 14-0 with 9:18 left in the half.
Gregg picked off a Cougar pass, one of four Irish takeaways - two picks and two fumble recoveries - at his own 1 with 52 seconds left in the half.
The Irish used a 19-yard pass to Mike Matthews, a 21-yard completion to Wales, and runs of 10, 15 and 11 yards from Lindgren to march to the Cougar 8. DeSales barely got the clock stopped before the half, and Mata drilled a 25-yard field goal, his fourth of the season, and DeSales took a 17-0 lead to intermission.
"It's alright," Mata said of his kicking game. "It's a lot better starting off this year than it was last year."
Cox took care of all 60 yards on DeSales' first possession of the second half. Cox hit Wales for 21, Lindgren for 15, and iced the 60-yard drive with a 24-yard scoring pass to Baumgart as the Irish lead grew to 24-0 with 2:55 left in the third.
On the ensuing Cougar possession, Mata stripped the ball from Nicko Nanez at the Cougar 20, and ran it back to the White Swan 3.
"I was going for the stiff arm," Mata said of his run. "Then I saw him go low and, I was like ‘I'm too big, I can't jump over him,' so I'll just take it (the gain to the 3)."
Lindgren punched it in from the 1 and the Irish led 31-0 after three quarters.
Matthews caught a 32-yard pass from Cox and Luke Fazzari added a 16-yard scoring run to run the final to 45-0.
Cox finished 11-for-18 for 196 passing yards and four touchdowns. Lindgren ran for 110 yards and Baumgart led the Irish receivers with four catches for 56 yards and two TDs.
On defense, the Irish held the Cougars to 82 yards of total offense in posting the shutout.
"They (the Cougars) are not very traditional offensively," Graham said. "Our kids did a good job of adjusting and playing on the fly. We tackled well and rallied to the ball really well."
The only blemishes, even though senior Kincaid Schmitz returned from injury to his offensive center spot, and maybe due to the different defensive fronts of the Cougars, were that Cox got sacked three times and picked off once.
"There's always things you can work on and get better from," Graham said. "That's the approach you have to take with non-league games. The scoreboard doesn't really matter. You need to come out and do your job and learn from it and get better."
The Irish (2-1) have a bye week before opening Southeast 2B League play Sept. 30 at Waitsburg-Prescott.
"Waitsburg is a big rivalry and they are a good team," Mata said. "We're excited to play."
DeSales 45, White Swan 0
White Swan 0 0 0 0 - 0
DeSales 7 10 14 14 - 45
DeS - Gregg 17 pass from Cox (Mata kick).
DeS - Baumgart 17 pass from Cox (Mata kick).
DeS - Mata 25 FG.
DeS - Baumgart 24 pass from Cox (Mata kick).
DeS - Lindgren 1 run (Mata kick).
DeS - Matthews 32 pass from Cox (Martinez kick).
DeS - Fazzari 16 run (Martinez kick).
WS DeS First downs 7 17
Rushes/yards 19/18 32/154
Passing yards 64 196
Passes (att-comp-int) 18-8-2 18-11-1
Punts 2-31.0 0-00.0
Fumbles-lost 5-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 7-52 4-37
RUSHING - WS: Nanez 6-4, Spencer 3-12, Nobbs 2-(-6), Sampson 4-3, Ickes-Oliva 4-5; DeS: Lindgren 19-110-1, Cox 8-25, Fazzari 5-19-1.
PASSING - WS: Ickes-Oliva 7-17-2 59 yards 0 TDs, Mena 1-1-0 5 yards 0 TDs; DeS: Cox 11-18-1 196 yards 4 TDs.
RECEIVING - WS: Spencer 4-12, Sampson 2-46, Mena 1-1, Galvan 1-5; DeS: Baumgart 4-56-2, Lindgren 2-18, Gregg 2-50-1, Matthews 2-51-1, Wales 1-21.