SPOKANE — It took 20 seconds here at West Valley High School for Waitsburg-Prescott to take control of its Class 2B quarterfinal football matchup with Reardan.
James Thompkins took a screen from quarterback Stirling Eastman 71 yards to the house on their first play from scrimmage and Waitsburg-Prescott marched into its third consecutive 2B semifinal with a 39-12 win.
Chance Leroue and Ben Shafer combined to stop Reardan’s Charlie Eldred on third-and-five of the Indians’ first possession and Roy Ebong returned the punt 13 yards to the W-P 29.
Eastman audibled into a bubble screen to Thompkins on the near sideline that he turned into a 7-0 W-P lead with 11:40 left in the first.
“Their (defensive backs) like to play off the line,” Eastman said. “Coach (Troy Larson) told me to run the screen pass if they are far back. That’s what we did right away. Our receivers are so skilled, there’s not a lot of linebackers and DBs that can keep up with them.”
Dalton Estes capped a W-P 70-yard drive with a one-yard plunge as W-P led 14-0 after one.
Eastman went back to Thompkins on W-P’s first drive of the second. Sprung by an Ebong block, Thompkins sprinted 55 yards down the far sideline to the house and a 21-0 W-P lead with 7:47 to play in the half.
“My job is to pick up his (Thompkins’) man and just level him,” Ebong said of the block. “We’ve been practicing all this stuff for a long time, and I’m clicking that I need to get that block so he can get more yards.”
Reardan’s Nathan Sorci broke a 63-yard run over W-P’s right side and the Indians had life at 21-6 with 3:15 before intermission. W-P would not allow the Indians back into this one on this damp afternoon.
Eastman threw a 13-yard pass to Ebong, a 21-yard completion to Estes on a shovel pass, an 18-yard completion to Leroue and W-P marched 75 yards as Estes closed out the drive with a 6-yard scoring run with :37 left.
Trenton Kitselman sacked Indian quarterback Wyatt Nienman for a 12-yard loss to close out the half as W-P took a 27-6 lead to intermission.
Eastman was 11-for-17 for 270 yards and two TDs in the first half.
“We were going to throw from the beginning,” W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. “They (Reardan) did what we thought they would do and it gave us the opportunity to throw right off the bat.”
W-P gave ground grudgingly in the third period as the Indians mounted a 72-yard drive that took the last 5:58 of the period. Sorci went in from the one on the last play of the quarter to narrow the W-P lead to 27-12
“I said if we can get a lead, I would give up yards grudgingly,” Bartlow said. “I knew we would score enough points that we would be alright. You don’t want to give up the big, giant run.”
W-P answered as Ebong ran a double-move route and got behind the Indian defense on W-P’s second play of the fourth. Eastman found Ebong and he raced 55 yards to increase the W-P lead to 33-12 with 11:05 left.
Estes and Ebong stopped the Indians’ first two possessions of the fourth.
Estes picked off a pass at the W-P 38. On the next Indian possession, Nate Bartlow forced a rushed Indian pass and Ebong made the pick at the W-P 35 and ran it back to the Reardan 45 with 4:16 left.
“Defensively, I didn’t come out as hard as I could have,” Ebong said. “I started getting a little dirt on me and got some energy going. From then on, the whole (defense) couldn’t have been better. As soon as I saw them (Reardan) set up in their trips, I’ve got the flats. I saw the quarterback looking over and it was just reaction.”
Estes highlighted the drive following the Ebong pick with a 27-yard gallop on a draw play to get W-P to the Indian 1. Eastman capped the drive with a TD plunge to run the final to 39-12.
“I thought our guys blocked in space,” coach Bartlow said. “On Dalton’s draw, we had three guys just getting between the ball carrier and their man. That’s what they have done all year.”
Eastman finished 16-of-24 for 364 passing yards and three TDs. Thompkins caught four balls for 165 yards and three touchdowns. Ebong caught four for 89 yards and a TD.
“They (Reardan’s DBs) eventually got closer to our wide receivers,” Eastman said. “That’s when we went over the top to Roy for the touchdown. The middle was open and I’m blessed with a little bit of accuracy, so I can put it between the backers or split the safeties.
“Our O-line is awesome,” Eastman said of the unit that has allowed just one sack in last two games. “Our line is starting to like me more. They work on pass protection all the time. That is how they get it done.”
The offensive line helped produce 440 yards of total offense on the game, and allowed only one sack.
“The O-line has stepped it up,” center Nick Pearson said. “We’ve done a good job of knowing what their blitzes are and how to defend them. Dalton (Estes) and I have been in cahoots all the time on who does what and which way to go.
“We’ve felt, the past few weeks, that we (the offense) can do whatever we want,” Pearson added. “We can call a pass or run and it just seems to work.”
The win sends W-P to its third consecutive semifinal round where it will face Lind-Ritzville-Sprague, 21-14 victors over DeSales Saturday night.
“It was a great opportunity to play a great program,” coach Bartlow said of facing Reardan. “It doesn’t matter (who we play in the semifinal). It’s going to be a great football game, regardless.”
Waitsburg-Prescott 39 , Reardan 12
W-P 14 13 0 12 — 39
Reardan 0 6 6 0 — 12
W-P — Thompkins 71 pass from Eastman (Estes kick).
W-P — Estes 1 run (Estes kick).
W-P — Thompkins 55 pass from Eastman (Estes kick).
Reardan — Sorci 65 run (kick failed).
W-P — Estes 6 run (kick blocked).
Reardan — Sorci 1 run (pass failed).
W-P — Ebong 55 pass from Eastman (pass failed).
W-P — Eastman 1 run (kick blocked).
First Downs 13 12
Rushes/Yards 26-76 42-243
Passing Yards 364 40
Passing (att-comp-int) 24-16-1 13-4-4
Penalties 5-31 5-35
Punts 2-33.0 3-34.7
Fumbles 0-0 2-0
Rushing — W-P: Estes 12-80-2, Eastman 7-(-7), Leroue 4-8, Lanning 2-6, Team 1-(-11); Reardan: Sorci 10-107-2, Eldred 15-70, Bergeron 6-10, Chilson 1-7, Nieman 2-5, Rettkowski 6-61, Team 2-(-17).
Passing — W-P: Eastman 16-24-1, 364 yards, 3 TDs; Reardan: Nieman 4-12-3, 40 yards, 0 TDs, Hoskins 0-1-1, 0 yards.
Receiving — W-P: Thompkins 4-165-2, Leroue 3-53, Stevens 3-35, Estes 2-22, Ebong 4-89-1; Reardan: Sorci 3-30, Chilson 1-10.