So stunning was the outcome of their football game, not even University’s coaches saw it coming.
The Titans (7-4) made school history with a shockingly easy 34-6 romp over visiting O’Dea and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs for the first time. They will be the home team against North Thurston, a 35-23 winner over Kennewick on Saturday.
The Titans led 21-0 at halftime and the 231-79 yardage advantage was evidence the margin could have been bigger.
It came against a team that had knocked off perennial 3A power Lakes the week before and gave U-Hi’s coaches reason for concern. Turned out the worries were unfounded.
“It did surprise us a bit, I won’t lie to you,” said first-year coach Rob Bartlett of the triumph. “They had some real size up front and good linebackers. They beat a phenomenal program.”
But they ran into a buzz saw at University, on a crisp late-fall Saturday afternoon.
First there was a defense that stopped the Fighting Irish option attack cold until it didn’t matter. Even when they ventured inside the 10-yard line on a couple occasions, the visitors were denied the end zone.
Then there was a big-play offense that complemented U-Hi’s stifling team defense. After the Irish were stopped on fourth down at their 42-yard line to open the game, it took two plays for U-Hi to take the lead – a 23-yard pass from Jeff Beaty to Trevor Martin and Adrian Bonner’s 19-yard run.
Later in the quarter, the Titans had the ball at O’Dea’s 2-yard line, following a 28-yard Beaty-to-Martin pass, but came up empty.
But the defense came up big again, thwarting O’Dea at the U-Hi 4-yard line in the second quarter. Three plays later, Beaty had hooked up with Austin Flynn for a 78-yard pass-and-run score.
On the ensuing squib kick, U-Hi’s Nathan Hundeby recovered at the Irish 32. Less than 3 minutes later the score was 21-0. He recovered another squib on the next kickoff as well, but a Beaty interception quelled a fifth scoring possibility.
Bonner’s 54-yard dash set up a fourth Titans score in the third quarter and his 27-yard breakaway completed the scoring.
Bonner ended up with 195 yards rushing. Beaty had 204 yards of total offense.
Not bad for a quarterback who was projected to be a slot receiver at the beginning of the season.
“I didn’t know how to play the position,” Beaty said after the game. “Coach Bartlett had me throw a couple of times after practice and I liked it.”
He wound up the second-leading passer in the Greater Spokane League as a junior.
Beaty gave due credit in this win to the defense, which he called “fantastic,” and the coaches for putting in a great game plan.
“I have reads in the offense and when it’s the right read, we get big plays,” he said.
“Our quick game was working well for us: The slants, hitches and pump fakes.”
Was this victory the biggest in school history?
“That’s the biggest win in my career, let’s leave it at that,” said rookie head coach Bartlett.
He said the way O’Dea aligned, U-Hi knew it would be able to throw the ball effectively, which opened up its trap running plays. In the second half “we came out and said we wanted to establish the run.”
Beaty passed for all 171 of his yards in the first half. Bonner gained 147 of his 195 rushing yards in the second half.
Nearly half of O’Dea’s 245 yards of offense came in the fourth quarter.
“Our kids played so well,” Bartlett said. “They played out of their minds.”
That means another home game next weekend, their ninth this year.