PASCO - With 3:15 left, the Waitsburg-Prescott fans rose en masse to salute the W-P offense here at Edgar Brown Stadium Saturday in Class 2B state semifinal football action.
W-P's offense produced 450 yards and six touchdowns and a 42-13 win over previously undefeated Colfax, which has knocked W-P out of the the playoffs the past two years, to earn the standing ovation.
The win marches W-P into its first-ever Washington state Class 2B Football Championship against Morton-White Pass, a 27-21 winner over Napavine, Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome.
"It was a giant win for all three communities (Waitsburg, Prescott, and Jubilee)," W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. "It's for everybody that's ever played for the school.
"It has finally happened," he continued. "We're going to be in the championship game. To beat a great team like Colfax says a lot about our kids."
The Bulldogs took the opening kick off and marched from their 30 to the W-P 19 before the W-P defense stopped Justin Berarducci a yard short on a fourth-and-eight.
"They pushed us around a little bit," W-P defensive lineman Greg Stearns said. "But when we needed to stiffen up, we did."
W-P answered with an 88-yard drive. A Zach Bartlow-to-Dalton Estes 49-yard bomb set up a Bartlow four-yard touchdown run. Jose Barajas kicked the first of his six PATs and W-P led 7-0 with 3:09 left.
Colfax took the ensuing kick off and drove to the W-P 36. Eshom Estes bulldogged Berarducci to the ground and the ball popped loose. Billy Brown pulled it in and the Colfax threat was stopped.
Bartlow suffered his only sack of the game on the first W-P possession of the second period. Bartlow and his offensive line responded on the very next snap. Bartlow hit Estes for a 30-yard score and W-P led 14-0 with 9:28 left in the half.
"Dalton (Estes) had a couple of great catches," coach Bartlow said. "They were not easy catches and they were not easy throws. They were executed, and our O-line protected pretty well. The biggest thing over the last month is our O-line (Nick Pearson, Cadman Donovan, Ben Shafer, Chance Leroue, Eshom Estes) has picked it up a notch."
The Bulldogs marched 60 yards as Alvin Li went in from three yards out and Colfax cut the lead to 14-7 with 7:35 left in the half.
W-P struck back with an 81-yard drive capped by a 46-yard TD pass. Bartlow scrambled right and then came back left and found Devin Acevedo for a 46-yard TD with 4:41 left in the second.
"It was suppose to go to the right," quarterback Bartlow said. "They kind of bottled that up and I got a little pressure, so I rolled out to the left. He (Acevedo) was just sitting there and I flicked it out to him and he did the rest."
"It was pretty cool," freshman receiver Acevedo said. "It was him (Bartlow) and the line that caused it."
The Bulldogs, thanks to a Stearns sack, went three-and-out on the ensuing possession.
"I saw the hole and the quarterback was standing up," Stearns said. "I went in there and pushed him over. It was what we needed. It would've went for a big play if I hadn't hit him."
Back came the W-P offense to a fourth-and-three at the Bulldog 19 with :29 left in the half. After both teams took time outs, Bartlow pumped to his left, and Colfax bit. Bartlow sailed a pass to Acevedo who walked in for a 28-7 lead at intermission.
"It's where we fake a screen to Woody (Dustin Wooderchak)," Acevedo said. "Then I act like I'm going to block and I thought I was going to fall down, then I go up the field. He (Bartlow) throws to me or (Justin) Zuger. He chose me."
W-P took the second half kick off and drove to the Bulldog 36, but Bartlow was picked in the end zone by Berarducci.
W-P was not to be denied on this afternoon. On its next possession, Bartlow followed a path-clearing block from Brown around his left end and scooted 49 yards to run the tally to 35-7.
"There was one guy standing between me and the end zone," Bartlow said. "He (Brown) blocked him and I cut off his block. It was a really, really nice block. There was no one else there, so I just raced to the end zone."
Colfax made a final effort to get back into this one with a drive into W-P territory, but a Berarducci pass was picked off by Wooderchak at his own 28. Wooderchak ran 61 yards to end, for all intents and purposes, the Bulldogs' night.
"I'm the D-guy, I basically tell them (the W-P defense) what to do," senior defensive signal caller Wooderchak said. "I saw the ball coming and it was the first pick of my high school career. (Then) I had good blocking and good lead blocks from Zuger and Greg (Stearns)."
Following the Wooderchak return to the Bulldog 11, Bartlow hit Acevedo for three, and then found Riley Stevens to run the score to 42-7 with :35 left in the third.
For Bartlow, it was his fourth touchdown pass to his third TD receiver.
"Sometimes I just look for the best match up," Bartlow said. "If we can get them one on one, we'll take advantage of it."
The offense ran up 210 rushing yards to go with 240 through the air as W-P ran its season record to 13-0.
"The offense has the day," coach Bartlow said. "They (Colfax) kind of took care of Billy (Brown 16 rushes for 66 yards). They keyed on him and stacked the box, then we could throw.
"The kids wanted it," he said. "It was our day."
Bartlow led the offense with 139 yards rushing with two scores, and threw for 240 yards and four scores. Dalton Estes caught six for 115 yards to pace the receivers.
"We had a couple of real nice catches and a couple of nice blocks down field after we caught the ball," quarterback Bartlow said. "It was a great team effort to get it done."
The win avenges a 21-14 loss to Colfax in last year's semifinal and moves W-P to its first ever title game.
"They (the Bulldogs) are a good team, we just came out on top today," senior co-captain Stearns said. "I'm ready for next week. It's going to be exciting. Senior year, it's something else."
Waitsburg-Prescott 42, Colfax 13
W-P 7 21 14 0 - 42
Colfax 0 7 0 7 - 13
W-P - Bartlow 4 run (Barajas kick).
W-P - D. Estes 30 pass from Bartlow (Barajas kick).
Col - Li 3 run (Altieri kick).
W-P - Acevedo 46 pass from Bartlow (Barajas kick).
W-P - Acevedo 19 pass from Bartlow (Barajas kick).
W-P - Bartlow 49 run (Barajas kick).
W-P - Stevens 8 pass from Bartlow (Barajas kick).
Col - Ellis 29 pass from Berarducci (pass failed).
First downs 13 14
Rushes/yards 37-210 39-169
Passing yards 240 108
Passes (att-comp-int) 18-14-1 17-9-1
Punts 1-25.0 3-28.3
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 3-20 3-20
RUSHING - W-P: Brown 16-66, Bartlow 15-139, Tompkins 3-15, Eastman 2-0, Team 1-(-10); Colfax: Hardy 5 37, Li 12-65, Berarducci 15-56, Thompson 2-(-1), Bledsoe 1-8, Altieri 1-0, McNannay 2-6, Team 1-(-2).
PASSING - W-P: Bartlow 14-18-1, 240 yards, 4 TDs; Colfax: Berarducci 9-17-1, 108 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING - W-P: D. Estes 6-115-1, Acevedo 4-74-2, Zuger 3-43, Stevens 1-8-1; Colfax: Hardy 4-55, Hart 1-16, Li 2-3, Klaveano 1-5, Ellis 1-29-1.