PASCO — Quarterback Jeremiah Cox threw four touchdown passes — three to wide receiver Joe Duehn — and Luke Fazzari rushed for 114 yards and a pair of scores as DeSales overcame first-quarter deficits of 7-0 and 12-7 to post a 42-18 victory over White Swan in Class 2B state playoff football action Friday night at Chiawana High School.
The Irish defense also played a key role in the triumph. DeSales allowed just 152 yards in quarters two through four after yielding 214 in the first period.
Next up for the Irish will be a quarterfinal encounter with Lind-Ritzville-Sprague this upcoming weekend. The Broncos toppled Tekoa-Oakesdale-Rosalia, 42-14, on Friday night.
The game time and location are yet to be determined.
Cougar running back Alex Sampson put DeSales in an early hole on Friday night with a 78-yard touchdown run around left end just 23 seconds into period one.
“They came out and got after us,” DeSales coach Mike Spiess said. “Our tackling deficiencies showed up.”
The Irish countered with an Andrew Elmenhurst kickoff return of 33 yards to the White Swan 40-yard line and a five-play march to the Cougar 2.
But on the sixth snap of the possession, White Swan pounced on a DeSales fumble to end the threat.
The Cougars then drove to the Irish 32 before relinquishing the ball on a bobble of their own.
It took DeSales just two plays to cash in the mistake. Cox hit Ryan Baumgart with a bomb down the left sideline that ended up as a 62-yard touchdown after Baumgart broke an attempted tackle by White Swan’s Hugo Barajas at the Cougar 30.
Paul Elmenhurst followed by authoring the first of six successful PAT kicks on the night to give the Irish a 7-6 edge at the 4:34 mark.
Niko Nanez gave White Swan its last lead of the game on a 38-yard scoring rush with 2:45 on the clock.
“We came out slow,” Duehn said. “We didn’t come out ready.”
DeSales took the lead for good with 9:48 left in the second quarter. Cox connected with Duehn for a six-point toss of 24 yards on a fourth-and-8 play to give the Irish a two-point margin, 14-12.
“They took it to us on the first snap,” Cox said. “I thought we responded with intensity in the second quarter and did what we wanted.”
The Irish came out of the halftime locker room and immediately established a two-score game. DeSales chewed up 56 yards of real estate in just four plays after recovering an on-side kick. Cox hooked up with Duehn for the final 27 yards with 9:59 remaining in the third quarter that resulted in a 21-12 advantage.
DeSales put the game farther out of reach in the fourth quarter. Cox and Duehn teamed up for a 41-yard touchdown play on the first play of the period.
Fazzari crashed into the end zone from a yard out with 7:26 left to bring the tally to 35-12.
“Once we got rolling, we got comfortable,” Duehn said.
Sampson scored on a one-yard run with 5:05 to go and Fazzari added a three-yard burst with 2:30 to play to end the night’s scoring.
“Our response (to the early Cougar momentum) was great,” Spiess said. “We played hard and persevered.
“I liked the way we finished the game,” he said. “When we needed to run the ball, we ran the ball.”
Cox completed 12-of-22 passes for 222 yards. Duehn had five receptions for 107 yards and Baumgart added 90 yards on five catches.
Defensively, the Irish recorded nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
“We had to tackle lower, wrap up and play DeSales football,” Duehn said. “The ‘D’ line did a great job and the linebackers did too, which makes it easy for (the defensive backs).”
Now the quarterfinal round awaits.
“They’re a tough team,” Duehn said of Lind-Ritzville-Sprague. “It will be a good test, but I think we can pass it.”
DeSales 42, White Swan 18
White Swan 12 0 0 6 — 18
DeSales 7 7 7 21 — 42
White Swan — Sampson 78 run (run failed).
DeSales — Baumgart 62 pass from Cox (P. Elmenhurst kick).
White Swan — Nanez 38 run (run failed).
DeSales — Duehn 24 pass from Cox (P. Elmenhurst kick).
DeSales — Duehn 27 pass from Cox (P. Elmenhurst kick).
DeSales — Duehn 41 pass from Cox (P. Elmenhurst kick).
DeSales — Fazzari 1 run (P. Elmenhurst kick).
White Swan — Sampson 1 run (run failed).
DeSales — Fazzari 3 run (P. Elmenhurst kick).
White Swan DeSales
First downs 15 20
Rushes/yards 37-203 30-186
Passing yards 163 222
Passes (att-comp-int) 20-10-0 22-12-1
Punts 4-22.8 3-22.3
Fumbles-lost 1-0 4-2
Penalties-yards 8-60 8-76
RUSHING — White Swan: Nanez 16-104, Sampson 10-77, Walker 6-31, Lewis 1-4, Kosik 4-(-13); DeSales: Fazzari 15-114, A. Elmenhurst 6-56, Cox 4-19, Healey 2-7, Team 3-(-10).
PASSING — White Swan: Kosik 8-16-0 119 yards, 0 TDs, Alvarado 1-1-0, 16 yards, Sampson 1-2-0, 28 yards, Nanez 0-1-0, 0 yards; DeSales: Cox 12-22-1, 222 yards, 4 TDs.
RECEIVING — White Swan: Sampson 4-25, K. Lewis 2-78, Nanez 2-29, Alvarado 1-28, A. Lewis 1-3; DeSales: Duehn 5-107-3, Baumgart 5-90-1, A. Elmenhurst 1-14, Fazzari 1-11.