PASCO — Waitsburg-Prescott took an emotional ride to earn the District 9’s No. 1 seed to the crossover round with District 7 here in Southeast 2B football action at Chiawana High School Friday.
W-P survived a back-and-forth battle to earn the No. 1 seed with a 42-41 overtime win over Tri-Cities Prep.
“Our offense carried the day,” W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. “It was a heck of a game. A game I’ll never forget. The kids will never forget. It would’ve been disastrous if we would’ve lost after having a 14-point lead.”
W-P held leads of 7-0, 14-7, 21-14 at intermission, 28-14 following a Kobie Brown 56-yard pass reception, and 28-21 at the end of three quarters.
W-P quarterback Owen Lanning then connected with Chance Leroue, who took the 27-yard middle screen to the house to cap a 67-yard W-P drive. Antonio Benito booted his fifth consecutive PAT, and W-P led 35-21 with 10:54 to play.
The Jaguars controlled the ball the rest of the way. Following the ensuing kickoff, T-C Prep marched 80 yards in 8:33 to narrow the gap to 35-28 with 2:21 left.
Dane Pedersen’s conversion of a fourth-and-12 at the W-P 24 was the key play that kept the drive alive. Running out of the pocket, Pedersen, in a Marshawn Lynch-like performance, ran through all of the W-P defenders on his way to a first down at the W-P 3.
A W-P three-and-out, a 14-yard punt, and the Jaguars got the ball back at their own 29 with 1:48 to play. Aided by three W-P penalties, T-C Prep marched to the W-P 12 with 53 seconds left. Dane Pedersen found brother Bennett in the middle of the field and Hogan Jones converted his fifth PAT as T-C Prep pulled even at 35-35 with 47 seconds left.
“We had the two-touchdown cushion, and I thought we had control,” Bartlow said. “On the drive to get them within seven, we had a fourth-and-12 and we couldn’t put (Dane) Pedersen on the ground. We had three or four guys miss. He wanted that first down. I give him credit, but at the same time we have to be better tacklers.”
W-P had one last heave, but Dane Pedersen picked off the Lanning pass and the game went to overtime at 35-35.
T-C Prep had the first shot from the 25. Michael Forbes carried six times and powered in from the 3. On the PAT, Luke Alexenko got free and blocked the extra-point attempt and T-C Prep settled for a 41-35 lead.
“It was all Devin (Acevedo), he set me up for that (the block),” Alexenko said. “He said ‘give it everything you’ve got.’ He got the inside guy. If it wasn’t for him (Acevedo) that never would’ve happened. I got it with my four fingertips.”
W-P’s first play from the 25 went for nothing as the Jaguars stuffed a swing pass from Lanning to Leroue.
A late pitch from Lanning to Leroue got 16 yards and a W-P first-and-goal at the 9. A Lanning-to-Leroue pass got W-P within inches, but the play was called back due to a W-P clip.
From the 28, Lanning hit Acevedo for four, ran another late pitch to Leroue for 13, and hit Talen Larsen, who scrambled his way 48 inches short of the goal line.
On fourth down, and with 48 inches between a W-P loss and a No. 4 seed, W-P gave it to Leroue, who had run for 130 yards on 15 carries. The 6-foot-2, 198 pound-junior was not to be denied as he went over left tackle and into the end zone.
“I’m thinking we need to get a push,” Leroue said. “My line did it for me. I can’t thank them enough as they gave me all the big runs. I wasn’t going to give up.”
W-P bounced back from the big penalty to punch it in and get it tied at 41-41.
“We kept our heads up,” Leroue said. “We needed to play smart and we did. They got the momentum and we had to step up and get things done.”
“We just keep battling and working hard,” Alexenko added. “If we don’t win this game and DeSales does (the Irish did by defeating Asotin), we are fourth and that’s a hard road. We had to win. We came together as a team and worked our tails off.”
At 41-all, enter Benito to attempt his sixth consecutive PAT. Holder Jacob Dunn got the ball down, and Benito was right down the middle for the clincher and W-P escaped with the 42-41 win.
“I have to kick the extra point. I was so nervous,” Benito said. “I was going over the normal PAT situation (in my mind). I wanted to make it a normal situation. I (tried) to take it as nothing serious, just a regular PAT.”
“Antonio has been money for us all year,” Bartlow said. “Once Luke blocked the extra point, I knew we were going to win. I’m proud of my guys, we took the game back at the end.”
T-C Prep ran for 262 yards as the two teams combined for 700 yards of offense.
“They came out in a two-back set, after running wishbone for seven games,” Bartlow said of the Jaguars’ offense. “We were prepared for something we didn’t see at all. We made some adjustments and fought.”
W-P (6-2 overal, 3-1 in SE2B play) hosts the No. 5 seed out of District 7 Friday in a loser-out battle.
Waitsburg-Prescott 42, Tri-Cities Prep 41
W-P 7 14 7 7 7 — 42
T-C Prep 7 7 7 14 6 — 41
W-P — Lanning 1 run (Benito kick).
TCP — Rudolph 61 run (Jones kick).
W-P — Acevedo 1 run (Benito kick).
TCP — Rudolph 2 run (Jones kick).
W-P — Leroue 22 run (Benito kick).
W-P — Brown 56 pass from Lanning (Benito kick).
TCP — Forbes 4 run (Jones kick).
W-P — Leroue 27 pass from Lanning (Benito kick).
TCP — D. Pedersen 2 run (Jones kick).
TCP — B. Pedersen 12 pass from D. Pedersen (Jones kick).
TCP — Forbes 3 run (kick blocked).
W-P — Leroue 1 run (Benito kick).
First downs 11 20
Rushes/yards 33-130 58-262
Passing yards 176 132
Passes (att-comp-int) 14-11-1 20-9-1
Punts 3-24.7 1-19.0
Fumbles-lost 3-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 8-71 5-55
RUSHING — W-P: Leroue 16-131-2, Lanning 11-18-1, Acevedo 3-14-1, Team 3-(-33); T-C Prep: Rudolph 26-119-2, Forbes 15-66-2, D. Pedersen 16-78-1, Team 1-(-1).
PASSING — W-P: Lanning 11-14-1, 176 yards, 2 TDs; T-C Prep: D. Pedersen 9-20-1, 132 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING — W-P: Acevedo 5-60, Leroue 3-39-1, Larsen 2-21, Brown 1-56-1; T-C Prep: Forbes 2-23, B. Pedersen 5-44-1, Jones 1-21, Cole 1-44.