WAITSBURG — Are you ready for some football? The experienced Idaho Matadors of Boise were.
The Matadors scored 19 unanswered second-half points to spoil the Waitsburg Elite’s opening minor league football game on a picture perfect Saturday afternoon at the Waitsburg High School football field.
Waitsburg had crept to within 13-7 at the intermission, but the Matadors’ experience proved too much as Idaho pulled away for a non-league 32-7 win.
“They’ve been around for eight years, and it was our first game,” Elite coach Johnny Brown said. “We looked pretty good in the first half. Then we had some injuries and some key guys went down. We did alright.”
The Elite went three-and-out on their first possession of the afternoon. With the help of sacks from Trent Hetterley and James Harrison, the Elite held Idaho and took over on downs at their own 37.
David Wilson picked off a George Martinez pass and took it home from 42 yards out and the Matadors, after Eshom Estes blocked the extra point, led 6-0 with 7:25 left in the first.
Following a 19-yard kickoff return from Tony Pate, the Elite went to work from their own 23. Martinez hit Brandon Tate for eight yards, but the ball came loose and Wilson jumped on it for Idaho.
Pate stopped the Matador drive with an interception in the Waitsburg endzone as the first ended with Idaho up 6-0.
The Matadors put together a nine-play, 53-yard scoring drive highlighted by Matador quarterback Mitch Bourner’s three completions for 32 yards, as Anthony Pomerlee scooted the last five yards on a left-end sweep, and Idaho led 13-0 with 6:17 left in the half.
A Matador pass interference set up the ensuing Elite drive, and gave Waitsburg a first down at the Idaho 49. Tate ran for 12 to highlight a drive that stalled at fourth-and-8 at the Matador 35. Martinez found Saul Martinez for 16 yards and a first down at the Idaho 19. Tate busted a 19-yard TD run, Jesus Solis added the extra-point and the Elite went to half down 13-7.
“The one drive that we didn’t have any mistakes, we scored,” Brown said. “The rest of (our) drives, we had a mistake that caused the end of the drive.”
The second half was all Matadors. Tom Dowers threw for 18 yards and a first down on a fake punt to keep Idaho’s opening drive alive. Bourner finished the six minute, 57-yard, 10-play drive with a five-yard scamper for a 19-7 lead with 8:55 to play in the third.
After an Elite three-and-out, Idaho went 40 yards as Bourner rolled in from the two and Idaho had this one under control with a 26-7 lead with 2:21 to play in the third.
George Martinez scrambled for the only second-half Elite first down on Waitsburg’s last possession of the third.
Waitsburg lost Tate, who led Waitsburg with 41 rushing yards, to a hamstring injury early in the third, and lost George Martinez to a hard hit with a minute gone in the fourth.
The Matadors, who were coming off an undefeated 2012 regular season, added a fourth-quarter score following Dustin Shaver’s block of an Elite punt, to run the final to 32-7.
“We need a lot of work on our special teams,” Brown said. “We haven’t had much time to work on that. Once we get the fumbles and mental mistakes worked out, we’ll be fine. We scheduled this game so we could see (where we are at). We’ve got a lot to work on in two hours a week (the Elite practice once-weekly).”
George Martinez threw for 72 yards and Saul Martinez caught three balls for 39 yards.
The Elite open Washington Football League play Saturday, April 13, at 3 p.m. here when the Spokane Wolfpack visit.
IDAHO 32, WAITSBURG 7
Idaho 6 7 13 6 — 32
Waitsburg 0 7 0 0 — 7
Ida — Wilson 42 interception return (kick blocked).
Ida — Pomerlee 5 run (Burton kick).
Waits — Tate 19 run (Solis kick).
Ida — Bourner 5 run (kick failed).
Ida — Bourner 2 run (Burton kick).
Ida — McCoy 13 pass from Bourner (kick failed).
Rushes/Yards 38-59 19-22
Passing 115 72
Att-Comp-Int 18-10-1 24-10-3
First Downs 9 7
Punts 2-25.5 4-22.0
Fumbles 6-0 3-1
Penalties 10-70 7-59
RUSHING — Ida: Pomerlee 15-60, Lincoln 1-2, Bailey 1-(-6), Bourner 10-19-2, Team 3-(-19), Fawley 1-(-1), Cameau 4-(-1), White 3-5; Waits: Tate 7-41-1, G. Martinez 3-12, Summers 3-3, Bolling 1-(-6), S. Martinez 1-(-5), Team: 3-(-29), Williams 1-6.
PASSING — Ida: Bourner 9-17-1 97 yards, 1 TD; Dowers 1-1-0, 18 yards; Waits: G. Martinez 10-21-3, 72 yards, 0 TDs, S. Martinez 0-3-0.
RECEIVING — Ida: Lincoln 4-46, McNicholl 2-29, Bailey 3-27, McCoy 1-13-1; Waits: Tate 3-16, Carter 3-13, S. Martinez 3-39, Field 1-4.