Pomeroy faces tougher test against Wellpinit

The Pirates face a stiffer challenge in 9-2 Wellpinit in the state Class 2B quarterfinals Saturday, but won't be changing their game plan.

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Pomeroy quarterback Ryan Smith leads the Pirates to the line and through the next round of football playoffs against Wellpinit Saturday.

POMEROY - Pomeroy put up 58 first-quarter points and cruised to a 72-28 victory - in one half of play - over Northport for the Pirates' first postseason football victory since 2003 last Friday in Pomeroy.

Pomeroy coach Sanford Bates expects a little tougher game when the 9-1 Pirates play 9-2 Wellpinit at 3 p.m. Saturday at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco in the state Class 2B quarterfinals.

"I watched them a couple weeks ago against Almira-Coulee-Hartline," Bates said of the Redskins. "They have good size on the line and at quarterback."

Bates plans to keep doing what the Pirates have done all season: run the ball, and shut down opposing offenses on defense.

"Our goal is to get better each week," Bates said. "Overall, that has happened. We continue to do things correctly for the most part. There are things we can get better at, but we're doing things that help us be successful."

That success begins with a potent Pirates ground game. Pomeroy has racked up 3,937 yards on the ground on 347 carries (an 11-yard average) with 55 touchdowns during the regular season.

That charge is led by Tory Knebel, who scrambled for 21 TDs while piling up 1,659 yards during the regular season.

Pirates quarterback Ryan Smith, while rarely throwing the ball this year, had 1,228 yards and 18 touchdowns using his legs.

And Austin Reisdorph had 816 yards and 13 TDs over the regular season.

"That's (Pomeroy's running game) has been very successful for us," Bates said.

Pomeroy has averaged 54.6 points this season, while giving up 27.4.

Bates said defense should be key in Saturday's game.

"Obviously, we'd like to get as many stops on defense as we can," he said. "They (Wellpinit) are a run-first team, mostly, so we'll make sure we take care of that. Whatever stops - punts, turnovers, over-on-downs - if we get a few of those, we'll do OK."

Wellpinit advanced to the quarterfinals with a 62-40 home victory over Garfield-Palouse. The Redskins' only losses of the season came to top-ranked A-C-H, 60-20 on Oct. 7, and 40-0 on Nov. 4.

The Pirates' only loss came to Colton/Pullman Christian on Sept. 23.

The rout of Northport last week, ending at halftime and resting his starters, is an advantage for Pomeroy, Bates feels.

"It was unexpected to do that well in the first quarter in that situation (postseason play)," he said. "We clicked on both sides of the ball.

"That was our first playoff win since 2003," Bates said. "It's good to get that momentum for this week."

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