PASCO — Waitsburg-Prescott flexed its offensive muscles here at Edgar Brown Stadium Friday in opening round action of the Washington state Class 2B football playoffs.
W-P amassed 514 yards of total offense, on only 34 plays from scrimmage — and added a 76-yard kickoff return for good measure — as W-P defeated Oroville, 54-26.
The victory advances 10-1 W-P into a state quarterfinal against Reardan next weekend.
“Our offense carried the day,” W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. “We moved the chains all night. We ran and we threw. They had a couple of glitches at linebacker and corner that we took advantage of. (Offensive coordinator) Troy (Larsen) did a great job of calling the offense. We were close to flawless.”
The start of the game was not “flawless” for W-P.
The Hornets marched 87 yards with quarterback Luke Kindred connecting with Tanner Smith (one of his nine catches for 193 yards on the night) for 22 yards and a 6-0 Hornet lead with 9:51 left in the first quarter.
“We were a little flat in warm-ups,” Bartlow said. “I told my coaches, ‘We would see how flat.’ My DBs (defensive backs) bit on play action (the TD pass) and they burned us. There’s no excuse for it (biting on play action).”
Chance Leroue made the Hornets’ only lead of the night short lived. Leroue busted a 76-yard kickoff return on the ensuing play, Dalton Estes added the PAT, and W-P had the lead for good at 7-6 with 9:38 left in the first.
“We answered right away,” Bartlow said. “We answered with our special teams. He (Leroue) is not even our deep guy. He picked it off the ground, got one block, and all of a sudden, he’s gone.”
Leroue added a 10-yard TD run as W-P took a 14-6 lead after one.
Oroville went for it on fourth-and-1 at its own 36 to open the second period. Kindred came up inches short on the sneak, and W-P took over.
Estes took a pitch and went to the near sideline for a 36-yard TD run and a 21-6 lead with 11:50 left in the half.
A (W-P quarterback) Stirling Eastman-to-Roy Ebong 22-yard pass play highlighted a 51-yard W-P drive that Estes capped with a 12-yard scoring burst.
The Hornets rallied on a Kindred-to-Smith 17-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 28-14 with 2:53 left in the half.
W-P, behind an Eastman-to-James Tompkins 23 yard hook up, went 57 yards in three plays as Eastman went in from the 5 to up the lead to 30-14 with two minutes left in the half.
The Hornets went 58 yards with Kindred going over from the 1 to pull Oroville within 34-20 at intermission.
“That first half, I was not real pleased with our ‘D’,” Bartlow said. “We gave up 20 points and a touchdown right before half.”
W-P got the ship righted in the locker room and Eastman hit Leroue for a 39-yard TD on the second play of the third quarter as W-P was off and running.
Eastman connected with Tompkins on a bubble screen and after an Ebong block, Tompkins went 64 yards for the score. Estes would cap the 20-0 W-P third-quarter with a six-yard run and W-P went to the fourth up 54-20.
“We made a couple of deals on ‘D’ in the locker room,” Bartlow said of the W-P third period. “We were bringing people and stopping the run. Our offense scored three times and that helped us get some breath.”
The W-P defense rebounded in the second half as the Hornets only scored once — and that was early in the fourth when the game had been decided.
W-P had five stops for negative yardage in the third period, with defensive lineman Ben Shafer leading the charge with two of those stops.
“There are stunts like rips and swims that our coaches teach us,” Shafer said of the D-line success. “Those get us past the O-line really fast and into the backfield.”
Kindred led the Hornet rushers with 99 yards, but it took 24 carries as only five of his rushes went for more than 10 yards.
““We got onside pressure, but he (Kindred) escaped to the backside,” Shafer added. “We didn’t have it (the backside) covered up like we needed to.”
On offense, the O-line took care of the protection and opened the hole for the running game. Eastman was a perfect 11-of-11 passing as the O-line gave up no sacks.
Eastman threw to five different receivers for 259 yards and two touchdowns.
Estes led the running game as the senior running back ran eight times for 149 yards and three scores.
“We’re just talking a lot,” offensive tackle Shafer said of the O-line play. “We’re making sure we’re picking up everybody before the play is gone. Their backers kept rolling up on the outside, so we could load them and run to the outside easier.”
Bartlow knows it is about the war in the trenches.
“The O-line is picking up the blitz,” Bartlow said. “Dalton (Estes) in the backfield has really helped. He and our center Nick (Pearson) work together on all the O-line coverage calls.”
The dream for a second consecutive state title continues as W-P travels to meet Reardan, at a time and place to be determined, in the quarterfinals.
Waitsburg-Prescott 54, Oroville 26
Oroville 6 14 0 6 — 26
W-P 14 20 20 0 — 54
Oro — Smith 22 pass from Kindred (kick failed).
W-P — Leroue 76 kick off return (Estes kick).
W-P — Leroue 10 run (Estes kick).
W-P — Estes 36 run (Estes kick).
W-P — Estes 12 run (Estes kick).
Oro — Smith 17 pass from Kindred (Nigg run).
W-P — Eastman 5 run (kick failed).
Oro — Kindred 1 run (run failed).
W-P — Leroue 39 pass from Eastman (kick failed).
W-P — Tompkins 64 pass from Eastman (Estes kick).
W-P — Estes 6 run (Estes kick).
Oro — Kindred 13 run (run failed).
First downs 15 13
Rushes/yards 60-179 22-251
Passing yards 193 263
Passes (att-comp-int) 15-9-0 12-12-0
Punts 3-27.7 1-46.0
Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 6-54 5-66
RUSHING — Oro: Ocampo 10-18, Smith 3-22, Kindred 24-99, Mills 10-24, Delgado 1-2, Nigg 7-10, Shearer 2-0, Barbosa 2-10, Team 1-(-6); W-P: Eastman 6-56-1, Leroue 3-18-1, Estes 8-149-3, Alfred 3-6, Carter 2-22.
PASSING — Oro: Kindred 9-15-0, 193 yards, 2 TDs; W-P: Eastman 11-11-0, 259 yards, 2 TD’s, Carter 1-1-0, 4 yards. 0 TDs.
RECEIVING — Oro: Smith 9-193 2; W-P: Alexenko 1-34, Ebong 3-44, Estes 1-3, Tompkins 4-118-1, Leroue 2-60-1, Brown 1-4.