PROSSER -- Prosser football coach Benji Sonnichsen had a feeling his Mustangs would eventually break out against a stubborn and determined Othello team in the first round of the 2A state football playoffs at Art Fiker Stadium on Saturday.
He just wasn't sure how long it would take.
So, even after the CWAC rivals battled through three bone-crushing quarters that that included 14 punts but no scoring, Sonnichsen liked the way Prosser was playing.
"We just told the kids (at halftime), find a way. It doesn't matter if it isn't pretty, just find a way." Sonnichsen said after Prosser finally broke through with 14 points in the last 10:33 of the game.
"If the kids play with that in mind, they can really play free. We just needed to be patient."
With the 14-6 win, the Mustangs advance into next week's quarterfinal round.
Prosser's need for patience was a direct consequence of Othello's stellar defense. The Huskies, who lost a 28-14 decision to Prosser during the regular season, limited the Mustangs to only 207 yards of total offense for the game, and 60 of those yards came on one run by Prosser's Isaac Anderson.
"Everything is different (in a playoff game)," Sonnichsen said. "First, you've got a great opponent. Othello always gets better after the first time you play them."
As the game progressed, it became clear that the outcome might come down to a single score. So when senior Michael Johnson scored on a 2-yard run with 10:33 left in the game, the Mustang faithful seemed to heave a collective sigh of relief.
Johnson's run capped an impressive 11-play drive that covered 52 yards after Othello quarterback David Garza was intercepted by Larry Hall. Johnson accounted for 38 yards on seven carries during the drive.
Othello wasted no time getting back into the game. After Prosser kicked off, the Huskies drove 70 yards in seven plays capped by Amando Deleon's 1-yard run with 7:45 left. Othello, which threw only seven passes in the entire first half, passed five times during their scoring drive.
Ironically, Prosser's final TD was set up by the Othello defense. The Mustangs drove from their own 24 to the Othello 1 on its next possession, but a heroic stand by the Huskies defense kept the Mustangs out of the end zone when Johnson was tacked for a loss on fourth-and-goal.
Prosser got the ball back on the Othello 11 after the Huskies were unable to convert a fourth-and-2. After two straight block-in-the-back penalties and three short runs by Anderson, the Mustangs faced fourth-and-17 from the Othello 18.
From there, Finn threw a perfect pass to the right corner of the end zone and Dominic Garza took the ball away from two Othello defenders to give his team a 14-6 lead with only 1:05 left.
Following the kickoff, Othello had one last chance from its own 33, but the Mustangs' Seth Glossen intercepted Garza's pass at the Prosser 15 to end the threat.
"Our defense played phenomenally," Sonnichsen said. "And we didn't big mistake on offense. Sometimes you just have to grind it out."
Prosser 14, Othello 6
Othello 0 0 0 6 -- 6
Prosser 0 0 0 14 -- 14
P--Michael Johnson 2 run (Trino Flores kick)
O--Amando Deleon 1 run (kick fail)
P--Dominic Garza 18 pass from T.J. Finn (Flores kick)
RUSHING--O, Deleon 9-19, Caleb Garza 5-9, Sam Para 1-9, Andrew Gomez 1-3, David Garza 1-(minus 3). P, Isaac Anderson 16-78, Johnson 13-56, Joey Hurtado 2-2, Finn 2-1.
PASSING--O, D. Garza 12-27-2-147. P, Finn 13-26-1-106.
RECEIVING--O, Para 7-82, Deleon 2-18, Anthony Melo 1-25, Nick Garza 1-18, DJ Cantu 1-4. P, Garza 8-77, Anderson 3-11, Joe Thometz 1-14, Danny Raap 1-4.
FIRST DOWNS--O 10, P 11. FUMBLES-LOST--O 1-0, P 1-1. PENALTIES-YARDS--O 10-79, P 8-76.