The first quarter went well.
The second quarter, was fine, too, and the Othello Huskies carried a 14-7 lead into the locker room at halftime of their first-round 2A state matchup against Cheney at Huskie Stadium.
But the Huskies hadn't yet given the people what they came to see -- a balanced offense and a dominant defense that has carried the team to 10 consecutive victories.
The third quarter, however, left little doubt as to why Othello has been the top-ranked football team in the state for most of the season, as the Huskies scored three third-quarter touchdowns in a 42-7 landslide win over the Blackhawks to advance to the 2A quarterfinals.
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The Huskies (11-0) will face CWAC rival Prosser (10-1) in a rematch of Othello's 30-14 Week 3 win over the Mustangs. Prosser athletic director Anna Fazzari is working on securing Lampson Stadium for an afternoon game Saturday, according to Huskies AD Don Bullis.
Othello quarterback David Garza had a hand in four of the team's six touchdowns against Cheney, running for two on his own and passing for two more. Garza finished with 82 rushing yards on 10 carries and completed 8 of 15 passes for 106 yards.
"We knew we were going to be able to run. The option worked, and they were unable to defend it," Garza said. "Our offensive line got in a groove."
The Huskies' front five of Conor Weise, Chase Johnston, Colton Hall, Bubba Ruiz and Derek Valdez worked well in the cold conditions, creating plenty of space for Garza, Josiah Petersen and Tanner Wagner, who combined to run for 219 yards and four TDs.
"Everybody played off the first-half jitters,"Valdez said. "Coach (Roger Hoell) talked to us in the locker room. We came out in the second half and put that to good use."
Othello piled up almost half its rushing yards in the third quarter alone, gaining 107 yards on 13 attempts.
The defense did its part, too, holding Cheney to just 19 yards from scrimmage in the third quarter. During that time, the scrappy bunch did several things to impress the fans and their coach.
Caleb Villareal started things off with a blocked punt, which set up a 5-yard TD pass from Garza to Trevor Walker that made it 21-7.
After that, it was linebacker Randy Gomez hitting Black-hawks' running back Austin Kautzman in the backfield and jarring the ball loose for Derek Gilbert to recover. That led to a four-play scoring drive capped by Petersen's 2-yard TD run to make it 28-7.
Petersen finished with 74 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
"The third quarter got away from us. They did a nice job getting turnovers. That set things up for them," Cheney coach Jason Williams said. "They score a lot of points, but that defense is the real deal. They're very good and very sound."
Linebacker Matthew Melo got into the act, too, busting through the line of scrimmage to bring down Maquis Allen for a loss of 5.
The Huskies defense gave up 143 yards total -- 74 rushing and 79 passing.
"Our defense is always good. We might not be the biggest guys in the league. We're just tough," said Valdez, who also starts at defensive tackle.
Cheney 0 7 0 0 -- 7
Othello 7 7 21 7 -- 42
O--Derek Cantu 6 pass from David Garza (Miguel Gonzalez kick)
O--D.Garza 5 run (Gonzalez kick)
C--Eric Igbinoba 12 pass from Andrew Graham (Theo Petropoulos kick)
O--Trevor Walker 2 pass from D.Garza (Gonzalez kick)
O--Josiah Petersen 2 run (Gonzalez kick)
O--D.Garza 35 run (Gonzalez kick)
O--Petersen 1 run (Gonzalez kick)
RUSHING--C, Igbinoba 5-28, Austin Kautzman 13-21, Coleman White 1-2, Graham 4-(minus 11), Maquis Allen 6-10, Cameron Schlotter 1-7. O, D.Garza 10-82, Petersen 20-74, Tanner Wagner 10-63.
PASSING--C, Graham 8-24-2-86, Igbinoba 0-1-0-0. O, D.Garza 8-15-0-106.
RECEIVING--C, Kautzman 1-(minus 1), Calvin Berstler 2-28, Igbinoba 2-24, Keenan Williams 2-28, White 1-7. O, Juston Lind 2-38, D.Cantu 3-27, Petersen 1-4, Walker 2-40.
FIRST DOWNS--C 10, O 14. FUMBLES-LOST--C 1-1, O 4-1. PENALTIES-YARDS--C 7-47, O 4-47.