PASCO — A Kris Cady-less first half found Waitsburg-Prescott trailing the Class 4A Chiawana junior varsity, 7-6, here Thursday at a rain-soaked Edgar Brown Stadium.
Cady, who sat the first 24 minutes due to violation of team rules, returned with an exclamation point in the second half.
Cady ran for 172 yards and sparked W-P to 24 unanswered second-half points as W-P ran its season non-conference record to 4-0 with a 30-7 win over the Riverhawks.
"He (Cady) made a huge difference," W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. "We needed him to come in. He totally changed the energy on our sideline. We came out in the second half and played with a lot of heart. Our O-line picked it up a notch and we were able to run the football."
A scoreless first quarter came to a bizarre end. Riverhawks quarterback Shawn McNiel attempted to hit Zach Flieger on a pass play to the W-P 20, but T.J. Hofer picked off the pass at his own 19 only to see Flieger steal it back. Hofer drug Flieger down at the W-P 12. One play later, the quarter ended with the Riverhawks knocking on the door at the W-P 10.
"We had the interception," Bartlow said. "He (Hofer) got possession of it and then got stripped. He made a good play and was just leaning forward, and the guy (Flieger) just grabbed if from him. It was a crazy deal."
In the second quarter, a five-yard penalty moved the Riverhawks back and Trevor Van Drew and Ben Shafer applied the pressure on McNiel and forced an incomplete throw on fourth-and-goal and W-P took over on downs.
W-P quarterback Zach Bartlow connected with Dalton Estes for 18 yards and with Hofer for 10 yards, and Justin Armstrong had a 14-yard scamper that highlighted a W-P march to the Riverhawk 29, but the drive stalled.
On the ensuing Riverhawk possession, the wet-ball conditions caused McNiel to drop the ball on third-and-10. Shafer pounced on it and W-P was in business at the Riverhawk 28.
Bartlow, on the first snap, tight-roped the far sideline for 28 yards and a 6-0 W-P lead.
The Riverhawks answered with a seven-play, 79-yard march to grab a 7-6 lead with 30-ticks left in the first half.
Bartlow, in the Cady-less W-P offense, ran for 84 of his 125 rushing yards in the first half, while throwing for 44 yards.
"Because of our situation (having Cady out), we couldn’t run the I in the first half," coach Bartlow said. "We were handicapped as we didn’t have the personnel to get in the red zone."
Estes ran the second-half kickoff back 18 yards to set W-P up at its own 45.
The 6-foot, 185-pound senior running back Cady gained 15 yards in his first two carries and W-P was on the way. Bartlow capped the 55-yard march with an 11-yard run, Hofer converted the 2-point conversion on a reverse and W-P led 14-7 with 8:13 to play in the third.
W-P never looked back, scoring on four of its five second-half possessions, marching to TDs on three of those.
After Peter Wilson fell on a Riverhawk fumble at the W-P 34, Cady carried twice for 60 yards and Armstrong piled in from the 6 yard line for a 20-7 W-P lead with 4:17 left in the third quarter.
Bartlow connected with Guillermo Hernandez for a 10-yard, fourth-quarter TD, and six minutes later, following a 51-yard Cady gallop, Estes kicked a 19-yard field goal to run the final margin to 30-7 with 2:22 left.
W-P ran the ball 40 times for 333 yards in keeping its season perfect.
"When we can run the football like that, it makes a huge difference," coach Bartlow said. "The bottom line is that we picked it up and took care of business. I give the game ball to the O-line. I was pleased with the way we came back in that second half."
W-P came out unscathed injury-wise, although an MRI earlier in the week confirmed that senior Joe Purdin, who was hurt last week, was lost for the season. W-P heads home to prepare for the Southeast 2B conference opener Thursday at Waitsburg against DeSales.
"We had a few mistakes here and there that we will correct," Bartlow said. "Next week is a huge rivalry. DeSales is always excellent. It’ll be a great football game."
Waitsburg-Prescott 30, Chiawana JV 7
Waitsburg-Prescott 0 6 14 10 — 30
Chiawana JV 0 7 0 0 — 7
W-P — Bartlow 28 run (kick failed).
CHS JV — Silvers 5 run (West kick).
W-P — Bartlow 11 run (Hofer run).
W-P — Armstrong 6 run (kick failed).
W-P — Hernandez 10 pass from Bartlow (Estes kick).
W-P — Estes 19 FG.
W-P CHS JV
First downs 15 12X
Rushes/yards 40-333 33-180
Passing yards 94 77
Passes (att-comp-int) 21-10-0 18-6-1
Punts 2-25.0 3-28.3
Fumbles-lost 5-2 5-2
Penalties-yards 5-50 6-32
RUSHING — W-P: Bartlow 18-125-2, Armstrong 7-30-1, Estes 1-6, Cady 14-172; CHS JV: Silvers 13-73-1, McNiel 4-(-2), Hernandez 14-114, Tucker 2-(-5).
PASSING — W-P: Bartlow 10-21-0 94 yards 1 TD; CHS JV: McNiel 4-12-1 68 yards 0 TDs, Tucker 2-5-0 9 yards 0 TDs, Flieger 0-1-1 0 Yards 0 TDs.
RECEIVING — W-P: Hernandez 2-26-1, Hofer 3-27, Estes 2-22, Armstrong 1-1, Powell 1-13, Cady 1-5; CHS JV: Silvers 1-6, Flieger 3-62, Delamora 1-7, Aviles 1-2.