TOUCHET — When it rains, it pours.
Fortunately for Touchet High football fans here Friday afternoon, the predicted showers didn’t arrive until right about halftime of the Indians’ Class 1B eight-man state football playoff game against Odessa-Harrington.
For the visiting Titans, however, the gloom of a blustery November day settled in at the very outset and went downhill from there as Touchet’s defense terrorized Sam Schafer, Odessa-Harrington’s junior quarterback, in a 68-14 Indians victory.
“There’s something about these kids that they just love to play on the defensive side of the ball,” Indians coach Gary Dorman said. “We don’t have anybody who is especially intimidating or large, it’s just that everyone does their job so well.”
Indians defenders chalked up 14 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the game, including five quarterback sacks, and they intercepted Schafer four times. Cesar Velasquez led the team with 10 tackles from his defensive end position and tackle Colton Goble was credited with eight.
Ruben Butler recorded two pass interceptions in the first half and Colter McKeown picked Schafer twice in the second half.
“Nothing breaks a team’s back faster than turning it over,” Dorman said of the interceptions.
Touchet, as has been the case in nearly every one of its home games this season, won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Velasquez thumped the opening kickoff into the Titans’ end zone.
The Titans’ Dillon Dennison lost five yards on O-H’s first play from scrimmage. Schafer couldn’t handle a low center snap on second down and he was sacked for a 10-yard loss. And on third down, Goble and Leo Garcia swarmed Schafer in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 Touchet lead 75 seconds into the game.
O-H kicked off from its own 20-yard line, Velasquez returned the kick to the Titans’ 28 and seven running plays later the Indians were back in the end zone. Edgar Rincon scored the touchdown on a 1-yard run and Elias Martinez added the two-point conversion for a 10-0 lead with 7:47 remaining on the first-quarter clock.
Once again Velasquez booted the ball into the O-H end zone. And on the Titans’ first play from scrimmage, Ruben Butler made a diving interception of an overthrown Schafer screen pass and Touchet had the ball back on the visitors’ 18-yard line.
This time it took the Indians four running plays to extend their lead. Colter McKeown scored the TD from eight yards out as he took a pitch around his right end and shot into the end zone. Velasquez ran for the two-pointer and Touchet led 18-0 with 5:55 still to play in the first quarter.
And so it went.
A six-yard Odessa-Harrington punt into a fierce southwest gale set up the Indians’ next score, a 20-yard sweep by Edgar Rincon around his left end. Another short punt and Colter McKeown’s 16-yard return led to a quick-strike score as Velasquez carried three times for 25 yards, capped by an eight-yard touchdown burst.
The first quarter closed with Touchet on top 30-0, and the entire 12 minutes were contested deep in Odessa-Harrington territory.
“We had such great field position, there wasn’t any reason to throw the ball even though we had the wind at our backs,” Dorman said
And little changed in the second period.
Odessa-Harrington was forced to punt for a third consecutive possession and the Indians added to their lead on a 1-yard Goble touchdown run. Ruben Butler intercepted Schafer for a second time and Velasquez scored four plays later on a 5-yard run as the Indians mounted a 44-0 halftime lead.
Schafer, who was tackled behind the line of scrimmage nine times in the game, threw two more interceptions in the second half. McKeown made both picks and returned the first one 40 yards for a score.
Garcia, a sophomore who missed most of the regular season with a broken collarbone, tacked on the Indians’ final two scores on touchdown runs of one and 50 yards. The Titans finally got on the scoreboard with 8:38 remaining in the game on Schafer’s 29-yard run, and the visitors added a second score in the closing minutes when freshman QB Caleb Behrens hit sophomore Joey Buell on a 12-yard TD pass.
Garcia gained 63 yards on six second-half carries to lead all rushers in the game. And as usual, the Indians’ balanced running attack included 49 yards from Edgar Rincon, 38 from Velasquez, 34 from Colter McKeown, 28 from Martinez and 24 from Goble.
Schafer gained 48 yards on 20 tries, greatly enhanced by a 51-yard run in the fourth quarter that set up his team’s second TD.
The Indians now advance to the state quarterfinals for a third consecutive year. They will take a 10-1 record against Wilbur-Creston, a 64-12 winner over Selkirk Friday, this coming weekend at a site and time still to be determined.
Odessa-Harrington, which began its season here in early September with a 46-28 loss to the Indians, finished the year 5-6.
Indians 68, Titans 14
Odessa-Harrington 0 0 0 14 — 14
Touchet 30 14 16 8 — 68
Tou — SAFETY: Schafer tackled in end zone by Goble, Garcia.
Tou — E. Rincon 1 run (Martinez run).
Tou — Col. McKeown 7 run (Velasquez run).
Tou — E. Rincon 20 run (run failed).
Tou — Velasquez 8 run (pass failed).
Tou — Goble 1 run (run failed).
Tou — Velasquez 5 run (R. Butler pass from Martinez).
Tou — Col. McKeown 40 pass interception return (Goble run).
Tou — Garcia 1 run (Garcia run).
O-H — Schafer 29 run (pass failed).
Tou — Garcia 50 run (Carson pass from C. Rincon).
O-H — Buell 12 pass from Behrens (Behrens run).
First downs 7 11
Rushes/yards 28-63 38-245
Passing yards 39 24
Passes (att-comp-int) 16-4-4 4-1-0
Punts 3-22 0-0
Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-24 4-32
RUSHING — Odessa-Harrington: Dennis 3-(-8), Schafer 20-48, Weber 2-13, Behrens 3-10; Touchet: E. Rincon 9-49, Goble 7-24, Velasquez 6-38, Martinez 3-28, Col. McKeown 2-34, R. Butler 1-11, Garcia 6-63, C. Rincon 1-(-1), L. Butler 2-2, Miller 2-7.
PASSING — Odessa-Harrington: Schafer 3-14-4, 27 yards; Behrens 1-2-0, 12 yards, 1 touchdown. Touchet: Martinez 1-4-0, 24 yards.
RECEIVING — Odessa-Harrington: Dennison 2-15-0, Weber 1-12-0, Buell 1-12-1; Touchet: Goble 1-24-0.