WAITSBURG - With a little luck, Waitsburg-Prescott's football players didn't eat too much Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.
A good appetite is just what W-P coach Jeff Bartlow likes from his squad.
"Our kids are hungry," Bartlow said in preparation for Saturday's Washington state Class 2B quarterfinal against Colfax. "They can't wait to play the game on Saturday. They want it as bad as I've seen any team want it.
"The kids are listening and trying to pull off something that hasn't been done here in football - play for a title."
That hunger might ameliorate a fact that could play into the Bulldogs' hands: Colfax has played in the championship game the last two years, although the Bulldogs lost both games.
"They've been in the title game the last couple of years, and we've lost to them the last couple of years," Bartlow said. "We need to overcome that. We've never been there (to a championship), and that'll be to their advantage.
"Our goal is to just to come out and beat a good team," he said. "That's what we're planning on doing."
To do that, Bartlow's been studying the Bulldogs.
"They're a running team first," he said. "They've got good skilled kids. They run Veer, I and Option (offenses), but Veer is No. 1 for them. We're playing assignment football this week. We give (our players) to people, and they have to be disciplined. We've got to be able to stop the run first. We've been doing a good job of that the last couple of years."
And Bartlow knows what it's going to take for his team to win.
"Our strength offensively is running the football," he said. "We had 102 yards throwing last week. We need to get Billy (Brown, a W-P running back) his carries, which loosens up the passing game. We run first, throw second, and it's working."
Brown had 191 yards on 12 carries last week in W-P's 42-7 romp over Lind-Ritzville/Sprague in the quarterfinal game at Edgar Brown Stadium, right where Saturday's game will be.
But don't discount senior quarterback Zach Bartlow's arm. Bartlow has thrown 27 touchdowns to five interceptions this season.
"He's protecting the ball," his father and coach said. "He's making good decisions."
And W-P is plus-14 on turnovers this season.
"We've won the turnover battle almost every week," coach Bartlow said. "We've got to take care of the football. We fumbled in the end zone last week and lost it. We can't do that (against Colfax) or we'll lose."
Overall, coach Bartlow is as hungry for the game as his players.
"I think the matchups are good," he said. "I like our chances. I like our work ethic and the improvements we've made. It'll be a great game against a great team."