WAITSBURG — Asotin spoiled Waitsburg-Prescott’s senior night Friday as the Panthers took advantage of seven W-P turnovers in a 34-21 Southeast 2B league victory.
The Panthers held the lead for the entire game, which put pressure on the W-P offense to try and convert big plays through the air, head coach Jeff Bartlow said.
Waitsburg-Prescott threw five interceptions and coughed up two fumbles in the game.
“When you’re down and all the sudden it’s 34-14, we have to throw deep and they’re dropping into zone coverages,” Bartlow said. “We got over the top once and got a big play, but typically you have to throw underneath that and we kept trying to throw over the top of that and it’s not going to happen.”
Facing a 22-7 deficit, W-P made a huge stop to close the first half on an Asotin punt from deep in its own territory. Waitsburg-Prescott’s Devon Newman came flying around the edge to block the kick and set up W-P with excellent field position on the Panthers’ 2-yard line.
Running back Chance Leroue sealed the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 22-14 before halftime.
Leroue finished the game with 83 rushing yards on 11 carries and added two sacks on defense. He left the game late in the fourth quarter with a lower back injury.
“He had a huge couple sacks there,” Bartlow said. “He had a good game and we got to have him back. I hope he’s all right. (He was) trying to make something happen at the end of the game when we’re down two touchdowns.”
But Asotin returned from halftime and added to its lead, as the Panthers used a halfback pass to pick up 33 yards through the air before punctuating the drive with a 24-yard pass to fullback Jacob Henry.
W-P promptly marched the ball down to the Asotin 6-yard line, but three W-P runs went for no gain and Waitsburg-Prescott turned the ball over on downs. Bartlow said W-P’s inability to convert deep in Panthers’ territory was costly.
“We were in the 30- to 35-yard line and we went for it twice and couldn’t pull it off,” Bartlow said. “I wish I would have maybe fake punted it early on because we ended up giving it up on downs.”
Asotin sealed the game at the start of the fourth quarter, as quarterback Erik Loseth hit Neil Landrus on a 10-yard slant for a touchdown.
It was the Panthers’ running game that did most of the damage, however. Asotin racked up 211 yards on the ground in the game, with running back Ryan Schaefer finding running lanes early on.
On the first play of Asotin’s second drive, Schaefer took a handoff up the middle and made a move to the right sideline. From there he outran the entire W-P defense on his way into the end zone from 66 yards out.
After a Waitsburg-Prescott punt, the Panthers got back to the ground game, as they ripped off three straight first downs before Schaefer punctuated the drive with a 22-yard touchdown scamper.
Unfortunately, Schaefer’s season came to an end at the end of the first quarter, as he suffered a leg injury on a kickoff return. He finished the game with 119 yards on five carries.
Bartlow had a lot of praise for Schaefer and the rest of the Panther squad.
“I give them a lot of credit,” Bartlow said. “Sal (Lopez) is a good coach. He had some time to get ready for us and they were more physical than us. We’re a physical team, we’ve been a physical team for a long time. They did the physical thing that we needed to do.”
W-P responded quickly after Schaefer’s second score, as Leroue took a misdirection play down the left side and outran Asotin’s defenders for a 45-yard touchdown.
Facing a 14-7 deficit, W-P forced an Asotin punt and got the ball back just before the end of the first quarter. But quarterback Owen Lanning took a sack and coughed up the football to the Panthers.
The Panthers promptly turned the fumble into points, as Loseth found Carson Jagannath in the left corner of the end zone.
With the loss, Waitsburg-Prescott is in a four-way tie for first in the SE2B.
Bartlow said W-P must have a great week of practice before traveling to face Tri-Cities Prep Friday.
Asotin 34, Waitsburg-Prescott 21
Asotin 14 8 6 6 — 34
W-P 7 7 0 7 — 21
Aso — Schaefer 66 run (Krull kick missed)
Aso — Schaefer 25 run (Loseth 2-pt run)
W-P — Leroue 45 run (Benito kick)
Aso — Jagannath 16 pass from Loseth (Jagannath 2-pt pass from Loseth)
W-P — Leroue 1 run (Benito kick)
Aso — Henry 4 pass from Loseth (2-pt pass failed)
Aso — Landrus 10 pass from Loseth (2-pt run failed)
W-P — Brown 47 pass from Lanning (Benito kick)
First Downs 13 11
Rushes-Yards 36-211 26-121
Passing Yards 197 177
Passes (Att-Comp-Int) 17-10-0 25-12-5
Punts 6-186 2-55
Fumbles-Lost 5-3 2-2
Penalties-Yards 11-115 3-30
RUSHING — Aso: Schaefer 5-119-2, Henry 6-12, Forsberg 4-33, Krull 11-33, Loseth 9-2, Landrus 1-12; W-P: Lanning 13-44, Acevedo 1-0, Leroue 11-83, Team 1-(-6).
PASSING — Aso: Loseth 15-8-0, 123 yards, 3 TDs, Krull 2-2-0 74 yards. W-P: Lanning 24-12-5, 177 yards, 1 TD, Leroue 1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Aso: Krull 1-34, Landrus 4-85-1, Magnuson 3-38, Jagannath 1-16-1, Henry 1-24-1. W-P: Alexenko 2-37, Leroue 3-25, Brown 4-91-1, Acevedo 2-14, Larsen 1-10.