WALLA WALLA - The second annual Holy Bowl football game proved to be anything but a heavenly experience for the visiting Tri-Cities Prep Jaguars on Friday night.
Quarterback Jeremiah Cox threw four touchdown passes and running back Lucas Fazzari rushed for three scores as DeSales closed out its 2011 regular season with a 54-14 Southeast 2B-11 victory at rain-soaked Ty Baffney Field.
The Irish, who clinched second place in the league a week earlier, advanced their final Southeast 2B-11 record to 4-1 with the Senior Night rout and take a 6-2 overall mark into the postseason. DeSales hosts Reardan next Friday at 7 p.m. for the right to advance to the Class 2B-11 state playoffs.
"I was pleased with our effort," DeSales coach Pat Graham said. "We were concerned that our kids wouldn't be as focused, but they were ready to go from the opening kickoff."
What transpired on the opening kickoff seemed to set the tone for the game. A Jaguars' muff resulted in a Connor Richard recovery at the Tri-Cities Prep 32-yard line.
Three snaps later, Fazzari crossed the goal from 6 yards out at the 10:55 mark of the first period. The first of six successful PAT kicks by Arturo Martinez gave the Irish a 7-0 lead.
DeSales drove 61 yards in six plays on its second series, which commenced after a Joe Duehn interception - one of seven on the night for the Irish. Cox hit Ryan Baumgart with an 11-yard scoring pass with 7:58 on the clock to make it 14-0.
"We came out of the gate and the kids really responded," Graham said. "We hadn't scored in the first quarter the last two weeks. Last week (in a 15-14 triumph over Dayton), we turned the ball over twice in the first quarter."
A Cox interception late in the period helped set up his second touchdown pass of the game. A 7-yard strike to Duehn increased the Irish lead to 21-0 with 11:04 left in period two.
The Jaguars reached the end zone 29 seconds before halftime when quarterback Evan Whitsett hit Jameson Pedersen with a 7-yard six-pointer.
DeSales led 21-6 at intermission.
Four Irish touchdowns in the third quarter put the contest well out of reach. Cox and Duehn hooked up for a 62-yard pitch-and-catch just 15 seconds into the period, Fazzari broke free for a 24-yard, goal-line gallop, Cox found Baumgart for a 24-yard score, and Nick Wales returned an interception 21 yards for a touchdown.
"With the way they throw the ball, we knew it would be a challenge for our secondary," Graham said. "But they were up to the task."
DeSales held a 47-6 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
Each team tallied in the final stanza. Fazzari rushed for a 60-yard touchdown and Jaguars' backup quarterback Dane Pedersen scored on a 15-yard run and added a 2-point conversion jaunt for the final points of the game.
Cox ended up 14-of-17 for 230 yards. Fazzari carried 15 times for 148 yards. Duehn led Irish receivers with 5 grabs for 89 yards.
TCP's Jameson Pedersen paced all pass catchers with seven receptions for 108 yards.
Friday's game was the last regular-season home tilt for DeSales seniors Wales, Martinez, Dan Solomon, Mat Zimmerman, Jesus Lara, and Anthony Brown.
DeSales 54, Tri-Cities Prep 14
TCP 0 6 0 8 - 14
DeSales 14 7 26 7 - 54
DeSales - Fazzari 6 run (Martinez kick).
DeSales - Baumgart 11 pass from Cox (Martinez kick).
DeSales - Duehn 7 pass from Cox (Martinez kick).
TCP - J. Pedersen 7 pass from Whitsett (kick failed).
DeSales - Duehn 62 pass from Cox (Martinez kick).
DeSales - Fazzari 24 run (kick failed).
DeSales - Baumgart 24 pass from Cox (Martinez kick).
DeSales - Wales 21 interception return (kick failed).
DeSales - Fazzari 60 run (Martinez kick).
TCP - Da. Pedersen 15 run (Da. Pedersen run).
First downs 8 16
Rushes/yards 21-165 26-155
Passing yards 147 230
Passes (att-comp-int) 24-11-7 17-14-0
Punts 0-0 1-26
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-2
Penalties-yards 6-39 4-20
RUSHING - TCP: Whitsett 8-67, Yackawich 8-62, Schmidt 4-43, Team 1-(-7); DeSales: Fazzari 15-148, Cox 5-8, Wales 3-3, Kent 1-0, Richard 1-(-2), Team 1-(-2).
PASSING - TCP: Whitsett 11-23-7, 147 yards, 1 TD, Da. Pedersen 0-1-0; DeSales: Cox 14-17-0, 230 yards, 4 TDs.
RECEIVING - TCP: J. Pedersen 7-108-1, Rivas 3-25, Yackawich 1-14; DeSales: Duehn 5-89-2, Wales 4-51, Baumgart 3-73-2, Galloway 1-12, Pommerening 1-5.