WAITSBURG — The Waitsburg-Prescott football team handled the Pilot Rock Rockets here Friday night, winning 35-21 on their home field.
The Rockets jumped out to a 7-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the first quarter, as Pilot Rock’s Jason Grosjacques scored on a four-yard run.
The Rockets scored on the ground, but moved the ball up field on two long passes. The 75-yard scoring drive was fueled by a 25-yard bomb to Tanner Doherty and a 24-yard pass to Grosjacques, both from Tyler Simmons.
After the Rockets’ touchdown, W-P tried to answer.
Instead, they turned the ball over on downs deep at the 23-yard line.
On the next Rockets possession, Luke Alexenko intercepted a Simmons pass. Then W-P’s quarterback, Sterling Eastman, gave back possession on a pick of his own.
Next, the W-P defensive unit pushed the Rockets back and forced them to punt from the end zone. A bad snap over the punters’ head caused a safety and made the score 7-2 with 10 minutes left before half.
W-P’s defense came up big again with five and a half minutes remaining in the first half. Three W-P defenders fell on a Pilot Rock fumble on their own 3-yard line.
Dalton Estes soon punched it in for the 8-7 scoring advantage.
A 55-yard scoring drive closed the first half for W-P. An Eastman 42-yard pass to Roy Ebong highlighted the march downfield.
In the words of W-P coach Jeff Bartlow, “We had to battle and fight just to get the score to 15-7 at halftime.”
The third quarter was even better for Waitsburg-Prescott. It started off slow with a botched field goal, but then rolled into three touchdowns in the stanza.
An Ebong 20-yard punt return, two Billy Brown halfback running plays, and W-P was in for the score to lead 22-7 with four and a half minutes in the third quarter.
Another quick stop for the W-P defense led to a punt and a 51-yard scoring drive for the home team. It was capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Eastman to Chance Leroue.
The second interception of the game for Waitsburg-Prescott followed. This one was by Ebong.
W-P’s defense was credited with three picks, one fumble recovery and a safety in the victory.
The score going into the fourth quarter was 35-7 home team.
“We really ran effectively on first down in the second half,” Bartlow said. “That was the key to our great third quarter. That third quarter was the best that we’ve had in awhile.
“Another adjustment that we made after halftime was rolling our quarterback out a lot to avoid pressure and pass. Our quarterback also ran the option well when rolling out. We mixed in the draw play effectively, as well.”
The Rockets outscored W-P 14-0 in that fourth quarter, scoring on a 57-yard drive with 4:40 remaining and then bombin away from 52 yards away up the right sideline for a touchdown with 38 seconds remaining.
Waitsburg-Prescott 35, Pilot Rock 21
Pilot Rock 7 0 0 14 — 21
Waitsburg-Prescott 0 15 20 0 — 35
PR — Grosjacques 4 run (Grosjacques kick).
W-P — Safety.
W-P — Estes 1 pass from Eastman (Estes kick).
W-P — Brown 14 run (Estes kick).
W-P — Leroue 16 pass from Eastman (Estes kick.
W-P — Brown 27 run (kick failed).
PR — Leasy 4 run (2 point failed).
PR — Baker pass from McCall (Roe run).
Pilot Rock Waitsburg-Prescott
First downs 16 22
Rushes/yards 36-102 24-130 Passing yards 106 184
Passes (att-com-int) 11-18-1 4-11-3
Punts 5-161 4-157
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 7-47 8-54
RUSHING —— PR: Leasy 22-53, Thorne 13-41, Simmons 3-1, Doherty 1-5, Grosjacques 2-3, McCall 1-8, Roe 4-12; W-P: Brown 13-99-2, Estes 4-45-1, Alfred 2 -(-7), Eastman 2-9.
PASSING — PR: Simmons 3-10, 54 yards, 3 interceptions; McCall 1-1 52 yards, 1 touchdown; W-P: Eastman 11-18, 184 yards, 2 touchdowns.
RECEIVING — Pilot Rock: Doherty 1-25, Grojacques 1-15, Dedios 1-14, Baker 1-52; W-P: Estes 6-115, Brown 1-21, Ebong 1-5, Leroue 3-43.