WHITE SWAN, Wash. - Ball control is overrated - at least it was here Friday in non-conference football action.
White Swan ran 90 plays from scrimmage and controlled the ball for about 33 of the 48 minutes.
DeSales, on the other hand, only ran 32 plays from scrimmage and couldn't get its offense on the field.
But the scoreboard is the only statistic that counts, and the Irish won that battle, 42-16.
"It was a very odd game," Irish coach Pat Graham said. "They line up in some very peculiar formations and come out with a 300-pound fullback (Toni Picard, 6-foot-3, 320 pounds). They pounded it up the middle and were content to not punt. They went for fourth down 11 times. When you have four downs to get 10 yards, and you hand it to the big guy and get three or four yards, and their formations spread us out, it makes it hard (to stop them)."
This one was "odd" from the beginning.
In the first quarter, the Irish ran one play from scrimmage while the Cougars ran 27.
Yet, DeSales led 14-0 after the opening stanza.
Nick Wales, who ran for 239 yards on 15 carries on the night, made DeSales' one play in the quarter count. Wales broke through the Cougar defensive front and sailed into the end zone untouched from 65 yards out. Arturo Martinez added the first of his six consecutive PATs, and the Irish led 7-0 with 9:14 left in the first period.
The Cougars drove to the Irish 7 and threw a lateral that all - except the officials - believed was an incomplete pass. Ryan Baumgart finally picked up the ball and raced 85 yards to paydirt, and the Irish led 14-0.
"I thought it was just an incomplete pass," Baumgart said. "We were standing there waiting around. The head guy (official) was walking over to grab the ball, and the one ref said ‘No, don't pick it up'. So, I thought it was obviously live. (Defensive back) Jeremiah (Cox) came over and said ‘pick it up'. We picked it up and ran."
DeSales put together its best sustained drive of the game in the second period. DeSales marched 75 yards in 13 plays. Quarterback Cox got a one-handed diving grab from Baumgart for 18 yards to keep the drive alive at the Cougar 17.
Following a 10-yard holding penalty, Cox finished the drive with a 20-yard strike to Joe Duehn and the Irish built the lead to 21-0 with 7:10 to play in the half.
Cox was injured on the ensuing Cougar possession and did not return.
Mat Zimmerman broke through and forced a fumble by Cougar quarterback Joseph Kosik at the Irish 40 to end that Cougar threat.
Baumgart picked off a Kosik pass at his own 25 on the next White Swan drive to send the Irish to break with a 21-0 lead.
"We went in at halftime and made the decision that Jeremiah needed to stay out," Graham said. "We felt like we had a comfortable lead and didn't want to push it (Cox playing)."
Baumgart took over at quarterback for the Irish in the second half and led DeSales - with the help of a 34-yard scamper by Luke Fazzari - to a first down at the Cougar 20.
Baumgart then hit Duehn, who made a twisting over the shoulder catch, for 20 yards and the touchdown.
"It was a little weird at first," Baumgart said of his return to QB duties. "Once I got going, it seemed back to normal."
After Wales closed out the third quarter with a 42-yard scoring scamper, Baumgart burst through the Cougar defense on an option play in the fourth period and raced 86 yards for DeSales' last score as the Irish built a 42-8 lead with 10:25 left.
"Their ends tend to slow-play it," Baumgart said. "He (the end) slow-played it and I saw a crease and I just went."
"Our offense didn't miss a beat when Ryan stepped in," Graham said. "We were able to move the ball and answer their score (Nathan Nobbs' 90-yard kickoff return)."
Led by Wales' 239 rushing yards, the Irish amassed 339 yards on the ground.
"We were able to move the ball very effectively," Graham said. "Several times Nick (Wales) was able to break into the second level. Nick ran well and the running game was really producing for us. That's a testimony to our offensive line (starters Tim Caudill, Matt Jubb, Cody Josefik, Zimmerman and Anthony Brown)."
On defense, the Irish gave up 335 yards, but only 16 points.
"They do a lot of different stuff (on offense)," Baumgart, also an Irish defensive back, said. "Putting No. 78 (Picard) at fullback was different. We kept going till the end. I'm proud of the guys."
The Cougars moved the ball at will, but the Irish rose to the occasion each time, as White Swan only scored one offensive touchdown and that came with 23 seconds left.
"Our defense did a good job of bending but not breaking," Graham said. "They're throwing laterals, running reverses and doing a lot of things outside the box that you don't normally see. Our kids did a good job as we were able to get stops when we needed it."
The Irish take a bye week before opening Southeast B-11 conference play at home against Waitsburg-Prescott on Sept. 30.
"We'll have some good practices," Baumgart said of the bye. "We'll get ready for Waitsburg."
DeSales 42, White Swan 16
DeSales 14 7 14 7 - 42
White Swan 0 0 8 8 - 16
DeS - Wales 65 run (Martinez kick).
DeS - Baumgart 85 fumble return (Martinez kick).
DeS - Duehn 20 pass from Cox (Martinez kick).
WS - Nobbs 90 kick off return (Picard run).
DeS - Wales 42 run (Martinez kick).
DeS - Baumgart 86 run (Martinez kick).
WS - Safety (DeS snap out of end zone).
WS - Nanez 4 run (pass failed).
First Downs 7 20
Rushes/Yards 23-339 70-262
Passing Yards 93 73
Passing (att-comp-int) 9-6-0 20-7-1
Penalties 5-45 1-5
Punts 0-0.0 0-0.0
Fumbles 3-2 7-1
RUSHING - DeS: Wales 15-239, Baumgart 3-97, Fazzari 2-37, Team 3-(-34); WS: Picard 15-69, N. Nanez 19-58, Sampson 18-84, J. Nanez 5-10, Kosik 2-1, Walker 5-43, Nobbs 1-8, Lewis 2-6, Hull 1-1, Team 2-(-18).
PASSING - DeS: Cox 4-7-0, 60 yards, 1 TD; Baumgart 2-2-0, 33 yards, 1TD; WS: Sampson 3-7, 19 yards; Kosik 3-12-1, 37 yards; D. Nanez 1-1-0, 17 yards.
RECEIVING - DeS: Baumgart 2-33, Wales 1-7, Duehn 3-53-2; WS: Nobbs 4-61, N. Nanez 1-17, Lewis 1-(-6), D. Nanez 1-1.