ENTIAT — The Entiat Tigers are perhaps the third or fourth-best 8-man 1B football team in the state. But against the defending state champs from Odessa on Friday, the Tigers were humbled 78-14.
The thing is, Odessa has done this to every team they have played this season, even against last year’s state runner up, Almira Coulee Hartline, which they beat 92-6. In how many other divisions in the state could you say the number two team is so far below the number one team?
“They are an amazing group. They are an amazing team and just light years ahead of everybody else. We’re right there in the next group,” said Entiat Head Coach Brian Bailey. “There’s probably not another team in the state aside of ACH that we can’t play with. They are experienced and seasoned.”
Entiat was 8-1 heading into the contest with number one ranked Odessa. The Tiger’s only loss was to ACH, the number two team in the state.
Interesting side note, both teams are the Tigers and both wear Orange and Black.
In the first quarter, Entiat was hanging with Odessa. The visitors scored on a five-play, 50-yard drive to open the game. With the two-point conversion, they lead 8-0. After the home team stalled on downs, Odessa took over the Entiat 31-yard line. Next play, senior Marcus King rambles in for the score.
Now the lead is 16-0. Then, Entiat came back with a drive. The big play was a pass from senior Colby Crutcher to senior Brandon Hardin for 36 yards to the Odessa 6-yard line. On fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, Chase Crutcher ran it in for the score.
That cut the lead to 16-6, but it would not be until late in the fourth quarter when the home team would score again. However, this was the first time a team had scored on Odessa in the first quarter.
Entiat was successful on the onside kick, but could not move the ball, giving it up on downs.
“For the first quarter and a half, it was a close game, then it got away from us. We had some turnovers and made mistakes. We had a good effort,” Bailey said.
Odessa is impressive, not only with a good running attack, but they could pass the ball effectively and they played stout, hard-nosed defense. Their next two touchdowns came on pass plays as the lead expanded to 40-6 by the start of the second quarter.
The home team had an interception and fumble, after which Odessa scored each time. By the half, it was a 62-6 game. Since it was a lead over 40-points, it was running clock in the second half, something Odessa has seen in every game this season.
“I thought our kids played as hard they could. That is what we asked of them. We didn’t have the goal of beating Odessa. We would love to have done that, but the goal was to play as hard as you can and keep the game as close as you can,” Bailey said.
By the time Odessa put in their subs, it was a 70-6 game. The second unit scored in the fourth quarter to up the lead to 78-6. Entiat was able to put together a scoring drive on the second unit as it was Crutcher to Crutcher for the TD, Colby to Case from 6-yards. With the two-point conversion, that made the final 78-14.
The fourteen points are the most scored against Odessa this season.
“We knew it would be like that. We play in the toughest division in the state. Odessa is the best team I’ve seen in my seven years of doing this. They don’t miss tackles. They don’t miss blocks,” Bailey said.
In the culture of Entiat football, there have been teams in the past that hung their heads when they got down like this, Bailey said.
“I don’t see that from this group. We’ll take that positive away. These guys are fighters. There is a lot of season left. We talked about that. We’re onto the playoffs, so we’ll see how deep we can go and what damage we can do,” he said.
Entiat boasts nine seniors this season. These are the players that have lead Tigers to an 8-2 season.
“This is our biggest senior group in a long time. They’ve had a great senior year and hopefully, they can keep it going. Our goal is to make it to Thanksgiving. That would be the semifinals. That would be awesome. That’s what we are trying to do. We think we can do it,” Bailey said.
Odessa improved to 9-0 on the season.