TOUCHET — As usual, the Touchet Indians’ football season got off to a fair start here Saturday afternoon.
That’s fair as in Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days Rodeo.
Because so many of the Touchet athletes are involved in Walla Walla’s annual Labor Day weekend fair, the Indians are always a week late in kicking off the football season. And that’s always a bit of a concern to Touchet coach Gary Dorman.
He was less concerned here late Saturday afternoon after the Indians romped to a 60-22 non-league victory over Soap Lake, a squad which recently dropped into the 1B ranks after years as a Class 2B school and came into Saturday’s game with an 0-1 record.
“We did things a little different this year in that we had two preseason scrimmages where we split the squad up into two 18-19-20 player squads that were pretty evenly matched,” Dorman explained. “And we tried to play in game-like situations, and I think that really helped.
“Still, we were worried about first-game jitters, not to mention the 90-degree temperatures that were predicted. But I was pretty pleased with the way we responded, especially our defensive kids. They threw a shutout there in the first half.”
The Indians defense allowed just one first down and didn’t allow Soap Lake to cross the midfield stripe until late in the second quarter. And by then the home team held a 36-0 lead and was well on its way to a 44-8 halftime advantage.
And when the Indians opened the second-half scoring for a 52-8 lead, they invoked the new running-clock rule that has replaced the 45-point mercy rule in 8-man football. Instead of ending the game when a team leads by 45 points in the second half, the new rule allows referees to keep the clock running to expedite lopsided games.
The only clock stoppages that occur once the running-clock rule is invoked are after touchdowns are scored, during team time outs and on official time outs.
The Indians began their season with no fewer than 10 players unavailable for one reason or another, including senior Vicente Flores, the team’s leading touchdown scorer from a year ago. Flores turned out late and won’t be eligible until the third week of the season due to academic shortcomings last spring.
He was hardly missed Saturday as five different Indians rolled for more than 50 yards rushing, and all five them found the end zone.
Junior Colton Goble led the way as he ran for 94 yards on six carries and scored on a 65-yard tackle-busting run in the second quarter. Goble also scored on a 5-yard pass from junior quarterback Elias Martinez, who only threw three passes on the day and completed two of them for 27 yards.
Martinez was also prolific on the run as he carried seven times for 65 yards, including short TD runs of 2 and 1 yards.
Jose Martinez, the Indians’ senior power back, rushed seven times for 63 yards and scored on a 10-yard run in the second quarter.
Octavio Preciado, another senior, chalked up 76 yards on five carries, highlighted by a 63-yard touchdown scamper in which he skirted the right edge of the Soap Lake defense and picked up key blocks from senior linemen Nate Ortiz and Cori Ochoa.
Finally, sophomore Colter McKeown joined the touchdown parade late in the third quarter. Considered perhaps the fastest player on the squad, McKeown demonstrated some lateral moves as well as he maneuvered 53 yards up the middle of the field for Touchet’s final TD.
“I’m extremely happy with the way all of those guys ran the football,” Dorman said.
Soap Lake got a first-half touchdown from senior Jason Komeychuk, who caught an 8-yard scoring pass from senior Joe Cutshall, and second-half TDs from junior David Odarchuk on a 5-yard run and sophomore Julio Gomez on a 6-yard scamper. Gomez found the end zone as the speedy fourth-quarter game clock expired.
Komeychuk and junior Dustin Foster each rushed five times for 51 yards to lead Soap Lake’s ground game. Cutshall ran for 33 yards and connected on 6-of-17 throws for 65 of the Eagles’ 76 passing yards.
Touchet amassed 387 yards of total offense compared to 254 for Soap Lake, and the majority of the Eagles’ yards came after Dorman had filtered in his second- and third-team defenders.
Touchet travels to Odessa on Friday for another non-league game.
Touchet 60, Soap Lake 22
Soap Lake 0 8 0 14 — 22
Touchet 22 22 8 8 — 60
Tou — E. Martinez 2 run (J. Martinez run).
Tou — Goble 5 pass from E. Martinez (Velasquez run)
Tou — E. Martinez 1 run (run failed).
Tou — J. Martinez 10 run (Ochoa pass from E. Martinez).
Tou — Preciado 63 run (pass failed).
Tou — Goble 65 run (Col. McKeown run).
SP — Komeychuk 8 pass from Cutshall (Foster run).
Tou — E. Martinez 17 run (Preciado run).
Tou — Col. McKeown 53 run (Velasquez run).
SL — Oderchuk 5 run (Oderchuk pass from Cutshall).
SL — Gomez 6 run (PAT not attempted).
Soap Lake Touchet
First downs 10 16
Rushes/yards 24-178 36-360
Passing yards 76 27
Passes (att-comp-int) 22-8-0 3-2-0
Punts 5-29 0-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-17 1-5
RUSHING — Soap Lake: Komeychuk 5-51, Oderchuk 7-37, Foster 5-51, Cutshall 5-33, Bessett 1-0, Gomez 1-6; Touchet: J. Martinez 7-63, Goble 6-94, E. Martinez 7-65, Preciado 5-76, Valesquez 2-(-1), C. Rincon 3-17, Col. McKeown 2-53, Garcia 4-3.
PASSING — Soap Lake: Foster 2-5-0, 111 yards; Cutshall 6-17-0, 65 yards, 1 touchdown. Touchet: E. Martinez 2-3-0, 27 yards, 1 touchdown.
RECEIVING — Soap Lake: Cutshall 1-5-0, Komeychuk 4-21-1, Oderchuk 3-50-0; Touchet: Goble 1-5-1, J. Martinez 1-22-0.