PASCO — The Eastmont football team’s offense proved it could score in its season-opening loss to Davis, but on Friday at Pasco, the Wildcats’ defense stepped up to seal a 33-14 win.
The Wildcats scored 26 points in the first half and shut out the Bulldogs in the second half as Eastmont took the nonleague victory.
Eastmont started the game the way it left off its last contest against Davis — with a turnover. But the Wildcats rebounded when David Berry fell on a Pasco fumble. A handful of plays later, junior quarterback Killion McGinnis found senior receiver Carter Haehl in the end zone from nine yards out, which was Haehl’s second touchdown catch of the season.
After a Bulldogs punt, senior running back Brian Burt anchored a strong Eastmont drive that ended with the speedy back powering his way across the goal line.
Junior defensive back Griffey Halle got his first start of the season at cornerback and did not make Eastmont head coach Doug McGill regret that decision. In the second quarter, Halle grabbed an interception at the 19 and took it to the house to give Eastmont a 20-7 lead.
Burt extended that lead even further with under four minutes left in the first half when he busted a screen route 45-yards for his second score of the game. After a blocked extra point, the Wildcats led 26-7. Burt finished the game with over 200 all-purpose yards, including 157 on the ground.
The Bulldogs were not fazed by the lack of time on the clock and scored to make it a 26-14 game going into halftime.
The defenses thrived in the second half in comparison to the back-and-forth first. Neither team could find the end zone as the Bulldogs and Wildcats jostled for field position. Berry punted the ball more than a half-dozen times, each helping the defense keep Pasco in its own territory.
The dagger came when Eastmont junior Alex Hardgrove scooped up a Pasco fumble in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and ran it back 52 yards to seal the Wildcats’ first victory of the season. Contrary to last Friday, this time around the Wildcats won the turnover battle 4-2.
Eastmont will play another road game next week against Eisenhower in Yakima. The Cadets beat Wenatchee in the first week of the season 27-21 but lost to Moses Lake on Friday.