High School Football

Pasco struggles in loss to Eastmont

PASCO -- A big brawl marred a back-and-forth game between Pasco and Eastmont on Friday at Edgar Brown Stadium.

On the field, the Wildcats picked up their first victory of the season, holding on for a 21-16 CBBN 3A victory.

Off the field, the fight broke out when the handshake line was nearly over and at least one Eastmont player was seen swinging his helmet.

The event marred a solid defensive effort by the Bulldogs, who are still seeking their first victory of the season.

"The defense played great at times," Pasco coach Dustin Lamb said. "They were just on the field too much."

The Bulldogs forced two turnovers and held Eastmont to 11 first downs, but couldn't find much rhythm offensively.

After starting quarterback TJ Avery struggled in the first quarter, Pasco put backup Sean McNiel under center.

McNiel was hit-and-miss all night, throwing two touchdown passes. He finished 12-of-21 for 172 yards with an interception.

On the first play of the game, McNiel hit Ethan Cantu on a halfback pass for a 71-yard touchdown and an early lead.

Eastmont responded late in the second quarter, as quarterback Lucas McGill scored on a 2-yard run with 1 minute, 51 seconds left in the quarter.

Two plays later, McNiel was hit as he attempted to hand the ball off, fumbled away the football, and Eastmont immediately capitalized as McGill scored from a yard out for a 14-7 halftime lead.

"We had times when we played well," Lamb said. "Our battle is consistency. We've got to get a consistent effort."

After Eastmont turned it over on downs early in the third quarter, Pasco went on a five-play, 77-yard drive.

McNiel hit Luis Murrillo on a 34-yard swing pass, and after a couple of nice runs by Clifton Lozano, McNiel and Josh Hagan hooked up for a 14-yard touchdown, highlighted by Murrillo fighting for extra yards and the score.

On the ensuing kickoff, the kick bounced off an Eastmont player's leg -- on the first row of the return unit -- and caromed right back to Pasco, which recovered and seemingly had all the momentum on its side.

But three plays later, McNiel was intercepted on a nice tip play by Eastmont's Josh Woodward.

The Wildcats then scored the game winner, when McGill scored on a 57-yard run on a fourth-down play.

Pasco did have a few more chances in the fourth quarter, but could get nothing going.

The Bulldogs did have a few bright spots, including the play of Lozano, a sophomore who ran the ball hard. He finished with 45 yards on 12 carries. He also intercepted a pass on defense.

"He had a great game," Lamb said. "We just have to keep going forward. That's all we can do."

* Craig Craker: 509-582-1509; ccraker@tricityherald.com; Twitter.com/craig_craker

Eastmont 21, Pasco 16

Eastmont 0 14 7 0 -- 21

Pasco 7 0 7 2 -- 16

SCORING PLAYS

P, Ethan Cantu 71 pass from Sean McNiel (Ryan Gibson kick), 11:42

E, Lucas McGill 2 run (Jeremy VanAssche kick), 1:51

E, McGill 1 run (VanAssche kick), :33

P, Josh Hagan 14 pass from McNiel (Gibson kick), 8:15

E, McGill 57 run (VanAssche kick), 1:55

P, Hagan safety

STATISTICS

RUSHING--E, McGill 18-90, Darin Hardgrove 20-78, Berlie Walker 3-41, Dalin McDonnell 1-3; P, Clifton Lozano 12-45, Luis Murillo 7-0, Lonnie Hurley 1-8, McNiel 5-(-15), team 1-(-8).

PASSING--E, McGill 5-13-1--49; P, McNiel 12-21-1--172, TJ Avery 6-12-2--54.

RECEIVING--E, Trenton Osborn 2-26, McDonnell 1-11, Josh Woodward 1-7, Walker 1-5; P, Ethan Cantu 6-102, Hurley 5-64, Hagan 2-20, Austen Clarek 1-11, Lozano 1-9, Murillo 1-8.

FIRST DOWNS--E, 11; P, 13. FUMBLES-LOST--E, 5-1; P, 6-1. PENALTIES-YARDS--E, 9-45; P, 6-68.

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