WALLOWA, Ore. - One hundred and fifty-two points in two games is a big number, even in 8-man football.
So it's easy to understand why Touchet spent so much time working on its defense this past week as the Indians prepared for their Friday afternoon non-league encounter here.
But all the hard work paid off - and then some - as the Indians caged the Cougars for the first three quarters and continued their own offensive exploits in a 50-28 victory.
"We were highly motivated," Touchet coach Gary Dorman said. "We worked really hard on kids sticking with their assignments knowing we were going up against a better opponent that had shown some real firepower on offense."
The Cougars opened their season two weeks ago with a 76-46 victory over Powers and followed up with a 76-16 trampling on Union. But against the Indians on Friday, Wallowa suffered turnovers on its first three possessions, trailed 20-0 at halftime and 36-6 going into the fourth quarter.
The Indians substituted freely in the second half - every player in uniform, 28 in all, saw the field - and the home team took advantage in the fourth quarter to score 22 points against Touchet's backups. But the Cougars couldn't stop the Indians no matter how hard they tried.
Junior wide receiver Vicente Flores - who comes in motion across the Indians' offensive formation on nearly every play and is just as apt to take a handoff as he is to break into the secondary looking for a pass - was practically unstoppable. He caught a 16-yard pass from junior quarterback Octavio Preciado for Touchet's first touchdown, burst 31 yards around his left end for the second and then scored on a 48-yard toss from sophomore QB Elias Martinez for the Indians' third score and the 20-0 halftime advantage.
Wallowa executed a successful onside kick to begin the second half and moved 47 yards in five plays, capped by Dusty McDaniel's 7-yard TD pass over the middle to Kody Swift, who made a sliding catch at the goal line. But if the Cougars, who had been limited to 75 yards of total offense in the first half, had any thoughts of a comeback in mind, they were dashed on the ensuing kickoff when Flores streaked 85 yards for his fourth touchdown of the game.
That was the first of two 85-yard kickoff returns for Flores, who did it again early in the fourth quarter. On the second, he took an unplanned lateral from Cesar Valasquez, who had fielded the ball and then ran into a hoard of Wallowa tacklers, and bobbed and weaved his way to the end zone.
Preciado also got into the act for the Indians, scoring on a 1-yard run in the third quarter. And Elias Martinez connected with senior Eric Hines on a 39-yard scoring pass in the fourth for the Indians' seventh and final TD.
Swift scored Wallowa's second TD on a 3-yard run and McDaniel, the Cougars' dangerous quarterback, hit Wes Conrad on a 71-yard touchdown pass and scored himself on a 1-yard run.
McDaniel finished the game with 224 yards passing and another 53 rushing. But he was also intercepted three times.
"We had heard that they were 65-35 a passing team," Dorman said. "We wanted to be able to cover the pass, because pass defense has not been the best part of our game.
"We worked very hard at staying home and finishing our assignments. We preached heads on a swivel, and I thought we did a much better job tackling and helping each other out this week."
Despite Flores' five-touchdown game, the Indians kept the Cougars off balance with a balanced offensive approach.
Flores rushed seven times for 56 yards and caught three passes for 87. But Jose Martinez gained 42 yards on eight carries, Preciado added 38 yards on eight tries, and Elias Martinez picked up 33 yards on six trips.
Wallowa's Swift was the game's leading rusher with 101 yards on 16 carries and Conrad had a big receiving day with six catches for 161 yards. But 63 of Swift's rushing yards and 142 of Conrad's receiving yards came in the second half.
Preciado and Elias Martinez continued to split time at quarterback for Touchet, and between them they completed 5-of-6 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Dorman plans to anoint one of the two as his starting QB, but he's not quite ready to make that decision.
"I think we will spend one more week toying with the position," the coach said. "They each have so many positives. Preciado is a little more dynamic runner and has more maturity, but Martinez is right there with him.
"I don't feel bad with either one of them on the field. They are making it a pretty tough decision."
In the meantime, Touchet has scored 100 points in its first two games.
That's a pretty big number, even in 8-man football, and something for Sunnyside Christian to consider this week as the Knights prepare for Friday's Southeast 1B-8 League opener at Touchet.
Touchet 50, Wallowa 28
Touchet 12 8 16 14 - 50
Wallowa 0 0 6 22 - 28
Tou - Flores 16 pass from Preciado (run failed).
Tou - Flores 31 run (pass failed).
Tou - Flores 48 pass from E. Martinez (J. Martinez run).
Wal - Swift 7 pass from McDaniel (pass failed).
Tou - Flores 85 kickoff return (J. Martinez run).
Tou - Preciado 1 run (Hines pass from E. Martinez).
Wal - Swift 3 run (McDaniel run).
Tou - Flores 85 kickoff return (J. Martinez pass from E. Martinez).
Wal - Conrad 71 pass from McDaniel (run failed).
Tou - Hines 39 pass from E. Martinez (pass failed).
Wal - McDaniel 1 run (Millar pass from McDaniel.
First downs 16 16
Rushes/yards 36-174 39-126
Passing yards 143 233
Passes (att-comp-int) 6-5-0 34-15-3
Punts 1-32 1-30
Fumbles-lost 4-4 2-1
Penalties-yards 10-88 6-30
RUSHING - Flores 7-56, J. Martinez 8-42, Preciado 8-38, E. Martinez 6-33, Col. McKeown 1-(-7), Valasquez 3-0, Goble 3-12; Wallowa: Swift 16-101, Millar 1-2, McDaniel 19-53, Conrad 3-(-30).
PASSING - Touchet: Preciado 2-3-0, 47 yards, 1 touchdown; E. Martinez 3-3-0, 96 yards, 2 touchdowns. Wallowa: McDaniel 14-33-3. 224 yards, 2 touchdowns; Conrad 1-1-0, 9 yards.
RECEIVING - Touchet: Flores 3-87-2, McKeown 1-17-0, Hines 1-39-1; Wallowa: Swift 5-13-1, Conrad 6-161-1, Millar 3-50-0, McDaniel 1-9-0.