WALLA WALLA — The Cowboys scored with 12 seconds left, and survived a desperate Razorback pass from the Cowboy 22 as time expired, to capture the Walla Walla Youth football championship here Friday evening at Martin Field, 14-8.
In junior varsity championship action, it came down to a missed extra point as the Chiefs won the title with a 13-12 win over the Cougars.
Cowboys 14, Razorbacks 8
It was a defensive battle as the Cowboys pushed across the first score in the first quarter, but the Razorbacks got it tied with a third-period score at 8-8.
The defenses took over in the fourth. Both teams combined for four yards of offense, two by each, during the defense-dominated last eight minutes.
“We have the best defense in the league,” Cowboys coach Kirk Zehner said. “We only had six points scored against us all year (in regular season play) and they (Razorbacks) were the only team to score six. For them to score another eight was another compliment to them.”
“We made a couple of (defensive) adjustments at half time,” Razorback coach Mark Maiuri said. “Our kids really turned it on. Our defense kind of took charge, but there is a reason they (Cowboys) only gave up one touchdown. They are a great defense.”
The Cowboys mounted a 48-yard first-quarter drive to get on the board first. Ethan Zehner broke a 13-yard run to open the drive and Zehner finished the drive as he took it in from the eight. Brady Knowles kicked the two-point conversion and the Cowboys led 8-0 after one.
The Razorbacks got runs of 12 and 15 yards from Cole Schmidt to drive to the Cowboy eight, but the half ran out with the Cowboys clinging to the 8-0 lead.
Razorback Jordan Fisk broke through to record a sack for the Razorbacks and lead the Razorback defense as the Cowboys went scoreless in the third. Schmidt ran for 47 yards during a 51-yard Razorback drive to get the Razorbacks to the Cowboy four. Ethan Nefsinger took it the last four, Dante Maiuri booted the two-point conversion and the two teams took an 8-8 tie to the fourth.
Julian Saldana and Noah Butler both had tackles for losses to lead the Razorback defense. Anthony Arroyo with two tackles for loss, Braden Thomas and Ryan Lore with one each, led the Cowboy defense.
The Razorbacks were forced to punt from their own nine with 25 seconds left. The Cowboys rushed the punt and the punt traveled 2 yards where Thomas caught it in the air and ran it back to the Razorback four with 19 seconds left.
Zehner turned the corner on the right side and got into the end zone for the 14-8 win and Super Bowl championship.
“We toughed it out,” coach Zehner said. “By far this ninth Super Bowl that we’ve won is the sweetest, because it was the closest. It was back and forth. They (Razorbacks) have great kids and great coaches. Our kids sucked it up. When we needed big plays they came.”
Chiefs 13, Cougars 12
Payton Graham’s 26-yard run for the Cougars was the first-quarter offensive highlight as the title match remained scoreless after one.
A 17-yard burst from Aaren Lindsey set up a 29-yard touchdown by Tristin Cush on an end around. Lindsey ran in the conversion for a 7-0 Chief lead with 20 seconds left in the half.
“I told him (Cush) that the end is coming up the field hard, so if you cut in, you’ll have a touchdown,” Chiefs coach Clay Lindsey said. “Sure enough he did and it was wide open.”
Camden Mccollaugh returned the ensuing kick off 37 yards before Jacob Carlik made a TD saving tackle at the Chief 19. The Cougars’ Mackay Barberich faked everyone out and sprinted 19 yards for a TD as time expired in the half. Lindsey picked off the extra-point pass and the Chiefs took a 7-6 lead to intermission.
Cush returned the second-half kickoff 50 yards and the Chiefs expanded the lead to 13-6 with 7:43 left in the third.
An 11-yard halfback pass from Graham to Caleb Ortiz cut the Chiefs lead to 13-12 with 4:13 to play.
The Cougars forced two fumbles and Joey Robanskie and Ortiz jumped on the loose balls for the Cougars, but the Cougars could not break the Chief defense.
“We battled through some adversity (the loss fumbles),” coach Lindsey said. “That showed how hard these kids wanted this game.”
“We have a couple of kids that do a good job of stripping the ball,” Cougars coach Erik Mccollaugh said. “We had them out there and sure enough they got strips for us. Unfortunately, their defense did a great job against our offense.”
Following the Ortiz recovery, the Cougars got an eight-yard pass completion from Mccollaugh to Graham, and Graham and Mccollaugh combined for 37 yards on the ground to give the Cougars one more chance at the Chief 7 with 10 ticks left. The Chief defense rose up and stopped Graham 5 yards short as time ran out.
“We had our chances today,” coach Mccollaugh said. “They (the Cougars) laid it all on the line. We just came up a little short. ”
The win caps a perfect year for the Chiefs as they took the regular-season title and added the Super Bowl championship with the 13-12 win over the Cougars.
“Our kids had a fun season that ended better than I hoped,” coach Lindsey said. “We were undefeated. We had a great year and couldn’t be happier.”
Cowboys 14, razorbacks 8
Cowboys 8 0 0 6 — 14
Razorbacks 0 0 8 0 — 8
Cowboys — Zehner 8 run (Knowles kick).
Razorbacks — Nefsinger 4 run (D. Maiuri kick).
Cowboys — E. Zehner 4 run (run failed).
Jv: Chiefs 13, cougars 12
Cougars 0 6 0 6 — 12
Chiefs 0 7 6 0 — 13
Chiefs — Cush 29 run (A. Lindsey run).
Cougars — Barberich 19 run (pass intercepted).
Chiefs — Cush 50 kick off return (run failed).
Cougars — Ortiz 11 pass from Graham (pass failed).