YAKIMA — The Wenatchee football team repented a close season-opening loss with a 53-13 blowout road win Friday over Davis.
Not surprisingly, Wenatchee’s offense put up big numbers and put the team ahead early. But its defensive unit made the difference.
The Panthers defense snared two interceptions, forced several three-and-outs and held the home team to just four first downs in the first half. The Pirates, who trailed 46-0 going into the fourth quarter, finished the evening with nine yards rushing and 252 yards passing.
Wenatchee’s stout defensive display was a far cry from its Big Nine opener a week ago, in which it surrendered nearly 400 yards through the air in a 27-21 loss against Eisenhower. This week, though, the play of the linebackers and secondary was drastically improved and the line exploited Davis’ undersized offensive line.
Essentially, coach Scott Devereaux saw a hungrier, more aggressive team.
“I knew we had it in us,” Devereaux said in a phone interview. “Our guys were pretty upset with our play on both sides of the ball (last week against Eisenhower). We didn’t play up to our standards on either side of the ball.”
And though the offense hummed along, it looked a little different than last week. The Pirates’ defensive gameplan focused heavily on shutting down Wenatchee back Isaiah Brandt-Sims (14 carries for 123 yards and two scores). They blitzed often and left their secondary in man coverage.
But that left plenty of room for the Panthers’ receiving corps to get open.
Quarterback Dillon Sugg took advantage of the aggressive defense and connected on several long passes. He left the game in the third quarter after setting a school record with 300 passing yards. He threw three touchdown strikes — all to Spencer Smith, who finished the night with 168 yards.
While the offense was effective again, it could have put up even bigger numbers.
Senior center Aidan Maher felt numbness in his arm after getting hit in the funny bone, which caused a number of errant snaps in the first half and there were a number of penalties that stalled drives early on.
“We can do some pretty good things when we don’t shoot our own toes off,” Devereaux said.
Still, the offensive output was more than enough to get the job done, and with the defense performing at a much higher level, the Panthers looked more like the seasoned squad that was ranked No. 10 in the Seattle Times preseason poll.
“They’re pretty excited,” Devereaux said of his team after the win. “Just like any other high school kid, they’re living in the moment, hooting and hollering and being goofy.”
It’s just one win, but Wenatchee is in for a strong season if it continues at this pace.