So stunning was the outcome of the 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,” first-year coach Rob Bartlett said 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 of 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 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.
Was this victory the biggest in school history?
“That’s the biggest win in my career, let’s leave it at that,” rookie head coach Bartlett said.