WALLA WALLA — Asotin took a 13-7 lead to intermission here at Ty Baffney Field Friday in non-conference football action.
The Panthers turned a third-quarter DeSales turnover into six points and went on to send an Irish homecoming crowd home disappointed as Asotin posted a 26-7 win.
The Panthers marched 62 yards with the opening kickoff with Ryan Schaefer, who led the Panther rushers with 88 yards on 13 carries, bouncing to the outside and racing 22 yards to put Asotin on top 7-0 with seven minutes left in the first.
The Irish answered with their own 79-yard drive. Quarterback Connor Richard hit Darryl Galloway for 21 yards on the first Irish play. The duo connected four more times during the drive with the last completion being a 15-yard TD. The Irish got it even on Luis Contreras’ PAT with 2:19 left in the first.
Asotin regained the lead with a 56-yard march on its first second-period possession. An Erik Loseth-to-Neil Landrus 26-yard pass put the Panthers up for good with 6:39 left in the half.
The Irish got one more shot as Matt Jubb dropped Jacob Henry for a loss of two on third-and-1 from the Panther 36, and the Irish defense forced an incompletion on fourth down to take over on downs at the Panther 34 with 1:53 left.
Richard hit Galloway for 18, but three incomplete passes and a four-yard Richard scramble stopped the drive as Asotin held to go to half up 13-7.
“We asked our kids to be more physical,” DeSales coach Mike Spiess said of the opening 24 minutes. “We were playing physical with them up front, then we get down here inside the 30 and I start throwing the ball.”
Galloway finished the half with six catches for 75 yards and the score.
“We kind of locked onto one receiver in the first half,” Spiess said. “That happens. They (Asotin) did some things in the second half, which teams are going to do, to try and take him away from us (Galloway finished with nine catches for 84 yards).”
The Irish, with the Panthers in deny-Galloway mode, went to the run after receiving the second-half kickoff.
A five-yard pass from Richard to Jarod Koopman was the only pass completion of the opening drive as Kaleo Healy carried six times for 51 yards as DeSales drove to the Panther 10. The ball came loose and the Panther’s Sam Forsberg scooped it up on his 10 and raced deep into Irish territory, but a holding penalty brought the ball back to the Panther 44.
Loseth hit a wide-open Henry for 56 yards and a back-breaking score as Asotin grabbed a 19-7 lead with 8:10 left in the third.
“We made a commitment to be more physical in the play calling and on the field in the second half,” Spiess said. “We’re going right through them. Kaleo Healy did a great job. Then we fumbled the ball going in and they (Asotin) do a nice job going over the top on the first play. That was a big turning point. You gotta give Asotin credit, they came down here and executed.”
The Irish ran off 10 second-half first downs, but couldn’t punch one in.
Asotin’s Landrus broke a 14-yard run with 7:45 left to run the final to 26-7.
“We got a lot of yards,” Spiess said. “We just never quite put anything together.”
Healy led all rushers as the Irish sophomore ran for 139 yards on 19 carries.
The Irish drop to 3-3 on the season and will use their bye week to get healthy.
“Hopefully, we came out of this game healthy,” Spiess commented. “It is a non-league game. You want to win the game you’re in, especially the homecoming game. We treated it as preseason-type game. We wanted to get better at certain things. And we did as we played more physical and got better in the running game.
“We have our bye week and in the history of our program, we’ve never needed a bye week worse than we do right now,” Spiess continued. “We’ve got six two-way starters out and it just keeps piling on. Hopefully, we can get a couple of guys back.”
The Irish have dropped two in a row and host Southeast 2B League foe Tri-Cities Prep in the annual Holy Bowl on Oct. 25.
“I’m anxious to see the character of our kids come through,” Spiess continued. “We’re a young team. We’ve lost two in a row and have a lot of things stacked against us. We’ll see if we can persevere and get better on our bye week. We have two league games left and we can still make the post season.”
Asotin 26, DeSales 7
Asotin 7 6 6 7 — 26
DeSales 7 0 0 0 — 7
Aso — Schaefer 7 run (Mason kick).
DeS — Galloway 15 pass from Richard (Contreras kick).
Aso — Landrus 26 pass from Loseth (kick failed).
Aso — Henry 56 pass from Loseth (kick failed).
Aso — Landrus 14 run (Mason kick).
First downs 9 16
Rushes/yards 32-142 33-152
Passing yards 142 152
Passes (att-comp-int) 14-9-0 33-16-0
Punts 0-00.0 1-34.0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 9-69 3-15
RUSHING — Aso: Schaefer 13-88-1; Henry 8-9, Loseth 4-26, Magnuson 1-(-4), Landrus 1-14-1, Barton 1-4, Jurries 1-3, Storey 2-6, Dilling 1-(-4); DeS: Healy 19-139, Richard 10-38, Galloway 1-(-8), Leahy 1-(-3), Team 2-(-14).
PASSING — Aso: Loseth 8-12-0, 171 yards, 1 TD, Jurries 1-2-0, 4 yards; DeS: Richard 15-32-0, 121 yards, 1 TD, Leahy 1-1-0, 9 yards.
RECEIVING — Aso: C. Jagannath 2-14, Landrus 2-56-1, Gosse 2-40, Henry 1-56-1, Magnuson 1-5, B. Jagannath 1-4; DeS: Galloway 9-84-1, Koopman 5-33, Lopez 2-13.