Perhaps coming off an overtime victory over rival Cheney was enough of a close call for the West Valley Eagles.
On Tuesday night it seemed they were primed and ready to run away with a victory as Terrynce Duke scored three touchdowns and West Valley shook off a slow start, hammering East Valley (Yakima) with a 35-7 win in a State 2A football play-in game.
With the victory, the Eagles (9-2) advanced to play at Prosser at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“We played a good game,” West Valley coach Craig Whitney said. “We started off a little bit slow – it is a Tuesday. But in the playoffs you might have to play any day, so we move forward and we get a chance to play another game and we’re excited.”
The Eagles’ offense – which spent most of the game on the field – took a quick lead on the opening drive when quarterback Tyler Stavnes pitched to senior standout Dylan Ellsworth, who ran in for a 7-yard touchdown.
The Red Devils (7-4) made progress in their first possession, only to see David Garza fumble on the Eagles’ 29-yard line. The Eagles weren’t able to capitalize on the scoreboard, eventually turning the ball over on fourth-and-2, but they did dominate the clock.
“We went for it on a couple of fourth downs where we maybe should have punted,” Whitney said. “But for the most part going for it worked in our favor tonight.”
After forcing EV-Yakima to turn the ball over on their next drive at their 46-yard line, the Eagles quickly found their way into the end zone. Ellsworth, who finished with 21 carries for 141 yards, ran 16 yards before Duke plowed through the defense and broke free for a 31-yard TD run.
The Eagles held the Red Devils scoreless in the first half when Marcus Jackson sacked Jordan West on the Eagles’ 29 and recovered Jackson’s fumble.
“That was an outstanding play,” Whitney said. “Our defense played hard when they had to.”
Duke scored twice to open the second half – a 46-yard TD run on the Eagles’ opening drive, followed by a 75-yard punt return when West Valley’s defense shut down the Red Devils’ first drive of the second half.
Senior running back Derek Lane added a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we had a great game,” Lane said. “Our defense played great and we were able to keep them scoreless until there was 30 seconds left in the game. We’ve been building on our experience every week and I think preparing ourselves for tougher opponents – so we’re looking forward to playing (Prosser) on Saturday.”
Ellensburg 36, Cheney 35: The Blackhawks finished their season 7-3 after a loss to the host Bulldogs.
Ellensburg will play at Great Northern League top-seeded Deer Park (9-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday. The winner will advance to the Nov. 19 quarterfinals against the WV-Prosser winner.