ENTIAT — The Entiat Tigers came into the game Friday night 5-0 and ready to take on one of the powerhouse teams in the 1B, 2-0 Almira Coulee Hartline or ACH. The Warriors have won the state title six times, most recently in 2017.
In the end, the Warriors looked like the state’s second-ranked 1B team as they steamrolled the home Tigers 74-36.
“I think we are all disappointed with the performance. I think they were more physical and maybe a little faster than we thought. We just have to get better. We’ll move on from here. There is a lot of season left. Hopefully, the kids learn from it. We have some areas to make improvements,” said Entiat Head Coach Bryan Bailey.
Entiat had to match ACH score for score but they simply could not do it. The Warriors scored on every possession of the game. Both teams either onside kicked or pooch kicked, so most drives started around midfield.
There were no punts, so each team went for it on fourth down, no matter the distance. And even though the field had field goals, they were never used as both teams went for two after every touchdown.
Yes, 8-man football is a different beast, but it sure is fun to watch.
ACH went up 8-0, but Entiat came back with a score but missed the conversion. The Warriors scored again, but Entiat gave the ball up on downs. Then, the Warriors scored again. The Tigers give the ball up on downs, then ACH scores again.
The game was already starting to get away from the Tigers early in the second quarter as the Warrior offense could not be stopped between sophomore quarterback Dane Isaak and senior running back Brayton Schafter.
Bailey said ACH did not throw anything at them they weren’t expecting.
“Our kids had the best practices all year. They were really well prepared. I think ACH was just a little bit stronger than we thought. They lost a lot from last year, but obviously they have some back,” Bailey said. “They are the real deal. They stepped up tonight and we didn’t quite meet the challenge.”
By halftime, the Warriors led 52-22.
The first possession of the second half, the Tigers stall out of downs at the ACH 19-yard line. Next play, Schafer rumbled 71 yards for the touchdown. The Warriors now led 58-22.
Entiat stalled out on downs again. ACH then drives 63-yards in seven plays for the score to push the lead to 66-22. With a 40-point advantage, the running clock starts, according to WIAA rules.
Bailey said they needed to get some stops, but they just could not do it.
“The problem is when you don’t get stops, you can’t stay in it. I felt like we could get some points on offense, but we had to get stops and get the defense off the field. We didn’t do that very well tonight,”
Even though Entiat was 5-0, ranked fifth in the state, this was their first chance at playing one of the powerhouse teams in the 1B. He felt they matched up reasonably well.
“I think they were more physical than us tonight. We’re going to have to step it up in that way. Obviously, they had a size advantage. That is something you have to deal with. We’ll be okay. We’re one of those elite teams in the state,” Bailey said. “The ACH’s and Odessa’s, that’s what we’re aspiring to be. We just have to keep making steps that way.”
The o-line was tested, Bailey said.
“We’re inexperienced at the center spot and that got exposed tonight. Overall, we have become a better tackling team. ACH, with a kid like Isaak, when don’t tackle, you’re not going to catch a kid like that. We have to tackle better,” he said.
Entiat will get a crack at top-ranked Odessa soon enough. Next week, they play at 4-1 Soap Lake.
“They’ve had a really good start. They are one of the 2Bs that are down on our level now. That will be a good challenge for us. They are a physical team and they throw the ball some. That will be a good experience for our kids to get better,” Bailey said of playing Soap Lake.