PASCO - It took top-ranked Almira-Coulee-Hartline just 12 seconds to break out on top of Pomeroy during Class 1B state semifinal football action Saturday afternoon at Edgar Brown Stadium.
Cody McCleary returned the opening kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Derek Isaak ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Warriors an early 8-0 lead - an opening act that served as a springboard for a mercy-rule-shortened, 46-6 triumph.
"That's not a way you want to start," Pomeroy coach Sanford Bates said. "That's eight-man football."
"That was a great way to get going," said A-C-H coach Brandon Walsh.
A-C-H, which lost in the state semifinals a year ago, now stands at 13-0 and will face Neah Bay - which defeated Odessa-Harrington in Moses Lake on Saturday, 74-34 - for the Class 1B state title next Friday at 4 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome as part of the annual Gridiron Classic.
The Warriors will be making their first appearance in the championship game since winning the state crown in 2007.
Pomeroy ended its season with a mark of 10-2.
Isaak scampered around left end for a 63-yard score with 9:05 remaining in period one and added a 2-point conversion to increase the Warriors' advantage to 16-0.
Running back Colin Deyarmin added a 1-yard touchdown run at the 4:15 mark of the quarter. Another 2-point jaunt by Isaak made it 24-0.
The Pirates tallied their only score of the game on the next snap from scrimmage. Austin Reisdorph, who rushed for a game-high 143 yards, exploded for an 80-yard trek with 4:01 on the clock.
But Deyarmin contributed a 10-yard rushing touchdown with two minutes left in the first quarter to complete a Warrior surge that covered 48 yards in five plays after an unsuccessful onside kick. Isaak threw to Brock Streeter for the 2-point conversion that brought the score to 32-6.
Thunder Wellhausen provided A-C-H with a flash of lightning in the closing seconds of the second quarter when he received a 42-yard touchdown pass from Isaak with 18.9 seconds to go.
The Warriors led 38-6 at halftime.
A-C-H prospered with 266 yards of total offense in the first half. The Pirates had 261 yards of offense, all on the ground, but constantly shot themselves in the foot with untimely penalties and also suffered a bit of bad luck along the way.
On Pomeroy's first series of the contest, a holding penalty wiped out a 71-yard touchdown sprint around right end by quarterback Ryan Smith.
An 11-yard run by Reisdorph on Pomeroy's second possession, a play that would have given the Pirates a first-and-goal on the Warriors' 8-yard line, was nullified by another holding infraction.
Following Reisdorph's touchdown, Pomeroy appeared to recover an A-C-H fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but the play was blown dead.
A third holding penalty denied Tory Knebel and the Pirates a 24-yard rush and a first-and-goal opportunity on the A-C-H 2 on their fourth drive.
On the Pirates' next series, they faced second-and-6 at their 47. Smith pitched to Knebel, who lofted a deep pass down the middle of the field that agonizingly went in and out of the hands of a wide open Matt FitzGerald.
"Things seemed to bounce their way," Bates said. "They're a good ball club. You can't make mistakes or they will take advantage. Every time we got something going, the ball didn't bounce our way or we got a penalty."
"At halftime, we felt fortunate," Walsh said. "They made mistakes to stall their drives. We wanted to put them in situations they didn't want to be in."
The game ended just six plays after intermission. Isaak hit Mitchell Hunt with a 19-yard touchdown toss at the 9:17 mark of the third quarter, then added the 2-point conversion to bring the 40-point mercy rule into effect.
Wellhausen, also a defensive end, set up the final touchdown with an interception at the Pirates' 39 that he returned 20 yards. Fellow end McCleary batted a Smith pass into the air that Wellhausen snagged for the game's only turnover.
"We (drilled) on that stuff all season long," Walsh said. "It (didn't) happen all season, then (it did) in a big game like this. That was cool."
Saturday's semifinal was the last football game in Pomeroy attire for seniors Knebel, FitzGerald, Jon Atchley, Nick Tewalt, Isaac Roosevelt, Jacob Moore, Jesse Koller and Mitch Ruchert.
"We had an excellent year," Bates said. "You don't want to lose, but we had a good season. We accomplished our goals. I'm proud of the kids.
"We have the potential to be competitive next year," Bates said. "Come June, we'll get back to work."
Almira-Coulee-Hartline 46, Pomeroy 6
A-C-H 32 6 8 X - 46
Pomeroy 6 0 0 X - 6
A-C-H - C. McCleary 70 kickoff return (Deyarmin run).
A-C-H - Isaak 63 run (Isaak run).
A-C-H - Deyarmin 1 run (Isaak run).
Pomeroy - Reisdorph 80 run (run failed).
A-C-H - Deyarmin 10 run (Streeter pass from Isaak).
A-C-H - Wellhausen 42 pass from Isaak (pass failed).
A-C-H - Hunt 24 pass from Isaak (Isaak run).
First downs 10 10
Rushes/yards 13-154 34-271
Passing yards 131 0
Passes (att-comp-int) 8-4-0 4-0-1
Punts 1-50 1-37
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-34 8-49
RUSHING - A-C-H: Isaak 6-103, Deyarmin 3-29, Streeter 3-18, C. McCleary 1-4; Pomeroy: Reisdorph 12-143, Knebel 11-80, Smith 11-48.
PASSING - A-C-H: Isaak 4-8-0, 131 yards, 1 TD; Pomeroy: Smith 0-3-1, 0 yards, Knebel 0-1-0, 0 yards.
RECEIVING - A-C-H: Wellhausen 2-79-1, Hunt 2-52-1; Pomeroy: None.