It didn’t take long for someone to make a statement during Friday night’s 2B state quarterfinal matchup at Chiawana High School in Pasco.
On the very first play from scrimmage, White Swan senior Alex Sampson burst off left tackle and broke 79 yards for a touchdown, putting the Cougars up 6-0.
But after that, it was DeSales that did most of the talking — at least the important points — in a 42-18 win over White Swan.
“We’ve played White Swan five times over the last four years, and that kid (Sampson) is a great player. And we won’t face a better running back than that No. 21 (Niko Nanez),” Irish coach Mike Spiess said after the win. “But I liked our response.”
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DeSales fumbled on its first possession after driving down to the Cougars’ 3-yard line but took advantage of a White Swan turnover in Irish territory as Jeremiah Cox connected with Ryan Baumgart on a 62-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-6 DeSales.
Nanez capped a five-play drive with a 37-yard touchdown run to give the Cougars a 12-7 lead with 2:45 left in the first quarter.
The Irish scored 28 unanswered points over the next 21⁄2 quarters, taking advantage of a good connection between Cox and receiver Joe Duehn, who hauled in five passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns. Cox finished with four TD passes.
“Jeremiah is a very accurate thrower, and Joe runs very precise routes,” Spiess said. “When they change things to take things away from our other receivers, Jeremiah is very good at finding the holes in a defense.”
On fourth-and-13 from the White Swan 24 early in the second quarter, Cox scrambled away from pressure to his left and threw a strike across his body to Duehn in the end zone. That put DeSales up for good at 14-12 with 9:48 left in the first half.
Duehn fumbled the ball away on the Irish’s next drive, but he made up for it on the first drive of the second half, catching a 27-yard heave from Cox to make it 21-12. His next reception went for a score as well, a 41-yard go route up the right seam with 11:52 left in the game to put DeSales up 28-12.
“Jeremiah and I spent a lot of time passing together. I know we have a bond,” Duehn said. “He’s a great quarterback who throws a great ball. But the offensive line deserves a lot of credit tonight.”
Led by Luke Fazzari (16 rushes, 114 yards, two TDs), DeSales ran for 193 yards.
White Swan 12 0 0 6 — 18
DeSales 7 7 7 21 — 42
WS—Alex Sampson 79 run (run failed)
D—Ryan Baumgart 62 pass from Jeremiah Cox (Paul Elmenhurst kick)
WS—Niko Nanez 37 run (run failed)
D—Joe Duehn 24 pass from Cox (P.Elmenhurst kick)
D—Duehn 27 pass from Cox (P.Elmenhurst kick)
D—Duehn 41 pass from Cox (P.Elmenhurst kick)
D—Luke Fazzari 1 run (P.Elmenhurst kick)
WS—Sampson 1 run (run fail)
D—Fazzari 3 run (P.Elmenhurst kick)
RUSHING—WS, Nanez 16-124, Sampson 10-79, Tristian Waddington 1-20, Brian Walker 5-13, Adonis Lewis 1-4, Joseph Kosik 4-(minus 13). D, Fazzari 16-114, Cox 5-22, Andrew Elmenhurst 4-4-50, Daniel Heale 2-7.
PASSING—WS, Kosik 10-19-0-155, Sampson 1-2-0-28, Nanez 0-1-0-0, Alvarado 1-1-0-16. D, Cox 12-22-1-224.
RECEIVING—WS, Sampson 5-36, Alvarado 1-28. D, Baumgart 5-90, Duehn 5-110, A.Elmenhurst 1-14, Fazzari 1-10.
FIRST DOWNS—WS 13, D 18. FUMBLES-LOST—WS 1-1, D 3-1. PENALTIES-YARDS—WS 8-50, D 8-75.