ELGIN, Ore. - A slow start, turnovers and sloppy defense marred what should have been another complete victory for Waitsburg-Prescott, which easily outclassed the 23-man team from Elgin, but still gave up 245 yards on the ground, in a 50-28 victory over the Huskies Friday night.
Granted, most of those points came in the fourth quarter against W-P backups. But against a team that had yet to score this season, W-P expected to roll.
And Waitsburg-Prescott certainly didn't expect to give up a touchdown on the first drive.
"They hadn't scored all year, and they come out and drive it down and score on us. That was a humbling thing," W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said after the game.
The Huskies scored their first points of the season after a 40-yard run from senior halfback Dylan Crouch set the team in purple up with a first-and-goal at W-P's 10. It was a struggle for Elgin to punch it in from there, but after several short gains and a 10-yard defensive holding penalty, Elgin found the end zone.
To say that, outside of the opening drive, Waitsburg-Prescott's defense was stout would be an understatement. The defense surrendered only 21 total yards in the first half, not counting the opening drive.
After one turnover at the beginning of the second quarter, freshman defensive end Chance Leroue and senior defensive tackle Eshom Estes sacked Elgin quarterback Blu Risseeuw on two consecutive plays. The sacks once again killed any momentum the Huskies could muster.
"He (Leroue) pretty much earned a spot tonight, he played a great football game," Bartlow said. "He didn't start tonight playing D-end, he started at (line)backer, but I thought that was a bright spot."
It was a night of firsts for W-P as well.
On W-P's first possession, Zach Bartlow, W-P's fleet-footed and big-armed senior quarterback, threw a pick just two plays into the drive. Bartlow threw two interceptions on the night.
"It takes away a little momentum," coach Bartlow said. "On the first drive we had (Zach) throw a pick and he almost took it to the house. That was a scary thought. It's like, ‘We're in a game and then there's our first pick of the game and of the year.'"
Ironically, Elgin's junior quarterback Risseeuw, who also plays defensive back, was the Husky who made the interception.
W-P's star quarterback still got his numbers, though. Bartlow rushed for 176 yards on 11 tries and completed 13 of 22 passes for another 151 yards. No stranger to the end zone, Bartlow also accounted for five touchdowns - three on the ground and two through the air.
After the interception, Elgin had all the momentum, but they were quickly shut down, going three-and-out.
Thanks to poor punt coverage, W-P started on its own 45-yard line and started gashing the Huskies for yards. Bartlow connected with senior Justin Zuger for 13 yards, and junior halfback Billy Brown again showed his talents with a 25-yard scamper to the Elgin 17. After Brown rushed for another three yards, Bartlow scored on a 14-yard run, powering through tackles.
Due to the read-option, a play in which the quarterback hands the ball off to the halfback or keeps it if he sees that he can run, Brown did not have a lot of touches on offense. He only rushed seven times for 40 yards, but he was electric on special teams, returning a punt and a kickoff for two touchdowns and 130 yards on those two plays alone.
Brown wasn't immune to the turnover bug, though, dropping a pitch for a turnover that ended W-P's third drive.
"Billy just dropped a pitch there. It hit him in the hand and he fumbles it," coach Bartlow said. "We had four turnovers from our first team and against a really good team, that can cost you a W."
For all of the dominance the starting defense showed in the first half for W-P, the junior varsity players struggled when they took the field in the fourth quarter.
That difference allowed Elgin to explode for 171 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
"They (Elgin) battled the whole time, I was impressed," Bartlow said. "They played their behinds off, I want to respect them for that, that's important."
Bartlow said that part of the reason his team was sloppy was a poor week of practice.
"Our kids in practice have to focus," Bartlow said. "Next week in practice has to be our best week. That won't be too hard because last week wasn't very good."
Waitsburg-Prescott hosts Riverside Friday at 7 p.m. and travels south to take on DeSales the following week.
"We gotta come out crisp, come out on fire and come out ready to play this next week," Bartlow said.
Waitsburg-Prescott 50, Elgin 28
W-P 6 24 13 7 - 50
Elg 6 0 0 22 - 28
Elg - Crouch 1 run (conversion failed).
W-P - Bartlow 14 run (kick failed).
W-P - safety punt blocked.
W-P - Brown 65 punt return (Estes conversion).
W-P - Bartlow 3 run (Barajas kick).
W-P - Bartlow 51 run (Barajas kick).
W-P - Brown 17 pass from Brown (Barajas kick).
W-P - Wooderchak 3 pass from Brown (kick failed).
Elg - Crouch 7 run (Harris run conversion).
W-P - Brown 65 kick-off return (Barajas kick).
Elg - Risseeuw 7 run (conversion failed).
Elg - Risseeuw 12 run (Risseeuw conversion).
First downs 11 12
Rushes/yards 26-227 52-220
Passing yards 151 48
Passes (att-comp-int) 13-22-3 2-10-1
Punts 0-0 4-97
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 2-20 3-20
RUSHING - W-P: Bartlow 11-176, Brown 7-40; Elgin: Crouch 20-92, Harris 12-70, Roberts 2-18, Risseeuw 15-23.
PASSING - W-P: Bartlow 13-22 151 yards; Elgin: 3-9 48 yards.
RECEIVING - W-P: Zuger 5-70, Wooderchak 4-69; Elgin: Crouch 1-25, Harris 1-15, Davidson 1-8.