WAITSBURG - Are you tough enough to wear pink?
Waitsburg-Prescott was here Friday in the Southeast 2B football finale. Pink-sock clad W-P, to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness month, W-P finished off a perfect 5-0 SE2B regular season with a 35-0 blanking of Tekoa-Oakesdale-Rosalia.
"It was a battle," W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. "They (T-O-R) are a physical team that have shown they can play with the big boys in our league. We prepared hard for it and our defense played very, very, well. I was proud of the kids in getting our first shutout of the season. We needed it to get things going for the playoffs."
The win keeps W-P perfect at 9-0 on the season and W-P hosts Kettle Falls, the No. 4 seed from the Bi-County League, on Friday. The winner advances to the first round of the state 2B football playoffs.
"We have Kettle Falls coming down here," Bartlow said. "It's exciting to be 9-0 and first (in the conference). To be able to do that (means) it's a special group of guys. We have a great chemistry and that makes it a lot of fun."
W-P went to the air, but three incomplete passes resulted in a punt on its first possession of the night. The Nighthawks, on their first play from scrimmage following the Dalton Estes punt, responded with a 53-yard gallop from Damian Loucks to a first down at the W-P 22.
On third-and-4, Eshom Estes dropped Loucks for a loss of four, and on fourth down, Eshom Estes was the first to get to Craig Nelson as the W-P defense swarmed Nelson under for a loss of two and W-P took over on downs.
W-P went on a 78-yard march, all but eight yards through the air, in nine plays. Passes from Zach Bartlow to Justin Zuger for 11 yards, and to Dustin Wooderchak for 13, spearheaded the march to the T-O-R 30.
Bartlow found Dalton Estes five yards behind the T-O-R defense down the near sideline for the 30-yard touchdown. Jose Barajas added the PAT and W-P led 7-0 with 2:45 left in the first quarter.
An 18-yard halfback pass from Nelson to Zane Brown sparked a Nighthawk drive to the W-P 31 to open the second period. Zuger got his first of two interceptions at his own 20 to stop the T-O-R drive.
"He had a huge pick that first time," coach Bartlow said. "He (Zuger) played another really good game defensively. He's been outstanding."
A Bartlow-to-Billy Brown shuffle pass produced a W-P score with 52 ticks left in the half. Brown took the shuffle behind the line of scrimmage and broke it to the far sideline and raced 61 yards for the TD.
"That was just an inside shuffle pass," coach Bartlow said. "We do that once or twice a game and it's pretty good usually. That was a momentum builder, and a deflater on the defensive side (to score just before half). "
A low snap to holder Dalton Estes resulted in an aborted kick for the PAT, but Estes picked up the ball, rolled to his right and flipped a pass to Devin Acevedo for the 2-point conversion and W-P went to half with a 15-0 lead.
The air attack was only 7-of-18 and W-P only ran the ball 11 times in the first 24 minutes.
"(Given) what other teams had done (against them through the air), we did (throw a lot)," coach Bartlow said. "They (T-O-R) brought different combinations and we had trouble with that. The wind and the rain didn't help matters. Zach was throwing high and overthrowing hard tonight. He just was. We've got to soften some of that (passing) up."
The rain became a downpour to open the third period. The harder it rained, the sloppier the play got. There were two fumbles and two interceptions, and both teams combined for seven penalties.
"We had personal fouls (as did T-O-R)," coach Bartlow said of the penalties. "I have to look at the film as the kids that got them have never had any trouble. I didn't even get them out of the game. Typically, I get them out if I think they are out of control. We called timeout and got them settled down. It was unusual. It's not the way we do things. Both sides quit talking and they got it all settled in."
W-P took its last third-period possession at its own 45 without Brown, who left with leg cramps, at running back. Dalton Estes replaced Brown and ran for eight yards and caught a swing pass for nine as W-P drove to the T-O-R 31. Zach Bartlow picked up a low snap in the shotgun and broke a 31-yard scamper for a W-P 22-0 lead after three.
W-P used a 44-yard pass play from Bartlow to Wooderchak to set up a four-yard TD plunge from senior Eshom Estes, to celebrate senior night, to make it 28-0 with 10:20 left.
Following a T-O-R punt into the wind and a Bartlow 19-yard return, Dalton Estes went in from the 11 to cap a one-play drive for a 35-0 lead with 2:39 left.
Bartlow finished 14-for-28 with one interception for 210 passing yards and two TDs. Brown ran for 85 on seven carries, and Wooderchak caught three for 67 yards.
W-P takes its 9-0 record into Friday's elimination game against Kettle Falls (5-4).
Waitsburg-Prescott 35, T-O-R 0
TOR 0 0 0 0 - 0
W-P 7 8 7 13 - 35
W-P - D. Estes 30 pass from Bartlow (Barajas kick).
W-P - Brown 61 pass from Bartlow (Acevedo pass from D. Estes).
W-P - Bartlow 31 run (Barajas kick).
W-P - E. Estes 4 run (kick failed).
W-P - D. Estes 11 run (Barajas kick).
First Downs 10 11
Rushes/Yards 37-95 32-176
Passing Yards 78 210
Att-comp-int 22-8-3 28-14-1
Punts 6-29.8 4-35.5
Penalties 10-75 8-89
Fumbles 6-0 4-1
RUSHING - T-O-R: Maley 7-6, Loucks 4-48, Nelson 11-6, Littleton 3-1, Boxleitner 2-5, Gaines 10-29; W-P: Brown 7-85, Bartlow 15-52, D. Estes 3-19, E. Estes 2-9, Stearns 2-4, Tompkins 2-2, Eastman 1-5.
PASSING - T-O-R: Maley 6-19-3, 53 yards, Nelson 1-2-0, 18 yards, Dedic 1-1-0, 7 yards; W-P: Bartlow 14-28-1, 210 yards, 2 TDs.
RECEIVING - T-O-R: Boxleitner 3-28, Brown 2-30, Shelton 1-5, Gaines 1-8, Pittsley 1-7; W-P: Zuger 3-20, Wooderchak 3-67, D. Estes 5-57-1, Acevedo 2-5, Brown 1-61-1.