MOSES LAKE - It didn't take long for inevitability to sink in here Friday night in a cold-to-the-bone Washington Class 1B-8 quarterfinal football game.
Touchet head coach Gary Dorman and his assistants - Guy Gregg, Leland Weber and Saul Martinez - certainly must have felt it.
All 31 of the Indians players - those on the field and those huddled on the sidelines trying to stay warm - were likewise exposed to the impending certainty.
And the smattering of Touchet fans who made the two-hour drive here were unable to rouse their enthusiasm as the unhappy events unfolded.
It was obvious from the start that their team was simply no match for the No. 1-ranked team in the state.
Undefeated Almira-Coulee-Hartline scored touchdowns on all seven of its offensive possessions and consistently took the ball away from the Indians as the Warriors raced to a 52-8 victory and ended Touchet's season on a downer.
"Sometimes you go up against a better team, and you have to give kudos where they belong," Dorman said. "And they're the best we've seen.
"We knew that we were going to have to match them touchdown for touchdown and then get a break or two. And we were not able to do that."
Still, in the face of what had all the trimmings of a certain defeat, the Indians fought on and refused to accept the outcome until Warriors senior quarterback Derek Isaak flipped a 1-yard pass to his brother, junior Drew Isaak, for a game-ending touchdown with 8:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors' final score didn't come until after the Indians defense had twice held mere inches from the goal line.
And one A-C-H possession earlier, Touchet turned aside the 40-point mercy rule when the Indians thwarted a two-point conversion attempt after Derek Isaak's 13-yard TD pass to junior Thunder Wellhausen bumped the Warriors' lead to 46-8 with 3:01 remaining in the third period.
"I won't take anything away from our kids because I thought they gave a super effort," Dorman said. "But that other group was a pretty dynamic group and we just couldn't get the stops when we needed to.
"I think we only forced them into one fourth down all night, and that fake punt wasn't much of a fake punt. They just gave the ball to that guy a little deeper than usual and he took off with it."
That guy wads junior running back Colin Deyarmin, who carried the ball 19 times for 149 yards and scored four of the Warriors' seven touchdowns on runs of 11, 33, 9 and 3 yards, respectively.
But Deyarmin was only part of the equation the Indians' defense couldn't solve. The quarterback, Derek Isaak, rambled for 180 yards on 18 carries and scored on a 32-yard run in addition to his two TD passes.
"I really think he was the harder of the two runners," Dorman said of Isaak. "He was a slasher. He was hard to bring down."
The Indians' hopes of making a game of it hinged, perhaps, on two specific plays.
The first came on Touchet's first offensive possession after A-C-H had broken on top 8-0. The Indians picked up one first down and were on the verge of another when senior Eric Hines fumbled after a 13-yard gain on an inside reverse play.
The Warriors recovered on their own 45 and scored four plays later to double their lead to 16-0.
"The fumble on our first drive was huge," Dorman said. "Because it looked like Eric was about to break away."
Hines redeemed himself on Touchet's next possession, running a sharp post pattern and snagging a 25-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Elias Martinez. Sophomore Colton Goble ran for the two-pointer and the Indians were within 16-8.
The second critical moment came after A-C-H had extended its lead to 32-8. Elias Martinez was intercepted by Derek Isaac, who scampered all the way to the Indians' 6-yard line with 1:59 remaining before halftime, and Deyarmin's fourth TD of the half sent the Warriors into the warmth of the locker room with a 40-8 lead.
Instead of possibly cutting the Warriors' lead to 32-16 going into the break, the Indians found themselves on the brink of being 40-pointed as they tried to regroup.
"We didn't talk about the 40-point rule," Dorman said. "We talked about going back out in the second half and establishing one thing at a time on offense and one on defense. Don't try to score 40 points in five minutes, just make a game out of it.
"We wanted to make sure we got our money's worth as far as our ability to move up and down the field. It just didn't work out."
Elias Martinez passed for 95 yards and scrambled for another 47 on six rushing attempts. Junior Jose Martinez added 44 yards rushing on 13 carries, but Touchet's offense was otherwise muted.
Junior Vicente Flores, the Indians' big-play weapon, was limited to six yards rushing on four carries and caught one pass for 20 yards. He was also unable to shake free on any of his five kickoff returns.
Flores has spent the last month nursing a series of injuries.
"We don't want to use that as an excuse, but it sure didn't help," Dorman said. "He was pretty limited all week in practice and I give him praise for going out and playing as hard as he did. I do with all of our players, because this time of year there are a lot of them who are bunged up."
Five seniors played their final football game for the Indians.
"All five brought a different dimension to our team," Dorman said. "And we got outstanding leadership from all of them.
"Ty Garbe has been a three-year starter on defense and is going to be tough to replace. Dan Can is another three-year starter and kind of our emotional leader in the locker room. Matt Shute is what I would call a blue-collar guy who brings the best effort he possibly can. And Eric Hines is another three-year starter who was the heart and soul of our team and may be the hardest of all to replace.
Jesus Saldana, the fifth senior, didn't turn out for football until his junior year, Dorman said.
"He didn't play a lot in games," Dorman said, "but in practices he was the one pushing other players to get better."
The Indians finished their season with an 8-3 record.
A-C-H 52, Touchet 8
Touchet 8 0 0 0 - 8
A-C-H 16 24 6 6 - 52
ACH - Deyarmin 11 run (De. Isaak run).
ACH - De. Isaak 32 run (Deyarmin run).
Tou - Hines 25 pass from E. Martinez (Goble run).
ACH - Deyarmin 33 run (Dr. Isaak pass from De. Isaak).
ACH - Deyarmin 9 run (De. Isaak run).
ACH - Deyarmin 3 run (De. Isaak run).
ACH - Wellhausen 13 pass from De. Isaak (run failed)
ACH - Dr. Isaak 1 pass from De. Isaak (PAT not attempted).
First downs 9 17
Rushes/yards 29-120 40-351
Passing yards 95 65
Passes (att-comp-int) 8-5-1 9-6-0
Punts 1-39 0-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 7-52 11-95
RUSHING - Touchet: J. Martinez 13-44, Flores 4-6, Hines 2-14, E. Martinez 6-47, Preciado 2-7, Col. McKeown 1-2, Goble 1-0; A-C-H: Deyarmin 19-149, De. Isaak 18-180, Streeter 1-4, McCleary 2-18.
PASSING - Touchet: E. Martinez 5-8-1, 95 yards, 1 touchdown. A-C-H: De. Isaak 6-9-0, 65 yards, 2 touchdowns.
RECEIVING - Touchet: Flores 1-20-0, Hines 3-43-1, Ochoa 1-23-0; A-C-H: Wellhausen 1-13-1, Streeter 2-10-16, Hunt 1-20-0, Deyarmin 1-11-0, Dr. Isaak 1-1-1.