QUINCY — Did Sergio Magana run into the end zone to score a two-point conversion and give the Ephrata football team a one-point lead over arch-rival Quincy with less than 90 seconds to go in Friday’s Battle of the Basin contest at Jaycee Stadium, or didn’t he?
That’s a question that surely will debated in both Columbia Basin towns in the coming weeks, months and possibly years. Heck, even the referees couldn’t agree if Magana had crossed the goal line or not.
A line judge initially signaled that the Jackrabbits had stopped Magana from scoring, causing Quincy players and fans to erupt in jubilation. However, about 10 seconds later, another referee, still standing near the goal line, indicated the Magana had crossed the plane, a reversal which of course silenced the Jackrabbits and touched off a raucous celebration on the Ephrata sideline.
After a short huddle, the referees determined that the second call was correct, giving Ephrata a one-point lead. Minutes later, Ephrata claimed a surreal 22-21 victory and the Battle of the Basin trophy for the first time in five years.
“That’s going to be talked about in coffee shops around here for the next couple of weeks for sure,” said Tigers coach Jay Mills. “It was a controversial call that obviously could’ve gone either way. I’m just glad (the officials) got together to talk about it, and I obviously liked their decision.”
Mills said that he couldn’t tell if Magana had indeed crossed the goal line or not.
“All 22 players were really piled up in there,” he said. “They were literally within feet of each other. I couldn’t see much, so I was watching our kids’ reactions to see what was going on and trying to think positive.”
After the first call was overturned, Quincy coach Stephen Wallace walked onto the field to protest. He obviously wasn’t happy with the call, and didn’t seem thrilled about the explanation he received from the referees, either.
“All they said was they got a better view after they got closer,” he said. “But the game wasn’t decided on just that one play; we had more than one opportunity to put it away before that.”
Quincy took advantage of four Ephrata first-half turnovers and took a 14-6 lead into halftime, then extended its advantage to 21-6 on a Jacob Durfee 5-yard run with 3 minutes, 39 seconds left in the third quarter.
At that point, Ephrata began to use its speed advantage to make plays against a bigger, slower Quincy defense, and the Jackrabbits’ offense stalled repeatedly.
Tyson Martin scored on a 12-yard run with five minutes left in the fourth quarter to pull the Tigers to within seven, and after the Tigers got the ball back with about two minutes to go, they embarked on a nine-play, 46-yard drive that culminated with a Chance Flanigan 20-yard scamper with 1:19 remaining.
Flanigan’s score came on a basic counter play called ‘41 Sally’ that finally worked after several botched attempts earlier in the game.
“We called the play twice in the first half, and (quarterback) Tyler (Clark) ended up with the ball,” Flanigan said. “It was weird. We called it again in the second half, and I fumbled. I knew that I wanted the ball again in that situation. I believed that I could do it. (When I scored), it was a great feeling.
“(Magana’s ensuing conversion run) was intense. I had no idea what was going on. When they said that he got in, it was amazing. We never gave up. We struggled early; we probably came in a little cocky. But we told ourselves that we could come back, and we did.”
Cashmere 39, Cascade Christian 0
Moe Roberts ran for three touchdowns and Casey Ruether passed for two more and ran for another in Cashmere’s overwhelming upset of Cascade Christian. Cashmere’s coach Phil Zukowski said he couldn’t be prouder of any group other than his 24 players that were suited up for the upset.
South Whidbey 28, Chelan 15
Chelan held South Whidbey to a close game until a big third quarter when South Whidbey scored three touchdowns. Chelan coach Darren Talley said the defensive line showed great intensity for the first half but grew tired due to lack of substitutes that will suit up for the Goats’ next game.
Royal 52, Cascade 14
Though the team stats were evenly matched, Royal dominated the scoring in a opening-day win over Cascade. Royal put on most of the pressure and put up the most points with its special teams.
Lynden Christian 39, Omak 0
Lyncs coach Galen Kaemingk was victorious in his first game against the Pioneers, a program he led for 12 seasons.
Lynden Christian led 20-0 at halftime against Omak, using their team speed to swarm toward Pioneer ballcarriers.
Stats were not available, and Omak coach Nick Sackman did not return calls seeking comment.
Okanogan 25, Warden 14
The Bulldogs rebounded from an early deficit with a pair of second-half touchdowns to pull away from the Cougars on Friday night in Okanogan.
Warden scored two special teams touchdowns in the first half, running back the opening kickoff for one score and then returning a blocked punt for another.
Game stats were not available.
Tonasket 47, Bridgeport 6
Michael Orozco ran for 64 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries and returned an interception 67 yards to the house to lead the Tigers in their win over the Mustangs.
Jacob Cory added two touchdown receptions and Austin Booker had 87 yards and a touchdown on the ground for Tonasket.
Brewster 21, Oroville 6
Brewster’s defense kept the Hornets out of the end zone until the fourth quarter, allowing the Bears to jump out to a commanding 21-0 lead.
Entiat 38, Waterville 6
Entiat’s running game was enough for coach John Draper to feel comfortable in his team’s ability to put up numbers. No passes were completed in Pateros’ three attempts but it pulled off the big win.