On a frigid field, Connor O’Neill made sure to provide some heat.
The Lind-Ritzville/Sprague senior running back scored three touchdowns and finished with 125 yards rushing in a 43-0 victory over the Colfax Bulldogs in the State 2B quarterfinals at Cheney High School. LRS will play the winner of today’s Reardan-Adna game next week in the semifinals.
“I’d hate to have to put a defense plan against (O’Neill) together,” said LRS head coach Greg Whitmore. “He can do it all. He’s developed that toughness as well.”
O’Neill got the Broncos on the board on the team’s first possession, scampering in from 5 yards. The play was made possible by a LRS fake punt a few plays earlier.
O’Neill scored on the Broncos’ next possession when he turned in a 65-yard touchdown run. LRS converted a two-point conversion to extend its lead.
The teams traded punts for much of the second quarter before LRS receiver Ryan Whitmore – the coach’s son – hauled in a 52-yard pass from quarterback Dylan Hartz. O’Neill scored his third touchdown as the first half came to an end when he darted in from 3 yards.
The second half wasn’t much different, though O’Neill wasn’t as much of a factor. After Hartz picked off a pass on the opening possession, fullback Tyler Frederick – on his birthday – scored on a 2-yard run.
The Broncos recovered a fumbled kickoff return after the Frederick touchdown and Jacob Saetre soon ran in from 27 yards.
From then on, the teams played with a running clock.
Whitmore said the score wasn’t an indication of the gap between the two teams. He also stressed there are still things his team needs to improve.
“There are a few things we need to clean up,” he said. “We put the ball on the ground a couple times and that can’t happen.”
LRS remains undefeated through 11 games and is looking to repeat as state champion. The Bulldogs saw their season end with a 6-5 record.
Rosalia 76, Colton 32: Craig Nelson ran for 350 yards on 25 carries and scored four touchdowns to guide the Spartans (9-2) past the Wildcats (9-3) in a 1B state playoff game in Clarkston.
Three of Nelson’s scores came in the first half. Clay Shelton added 265 yards on the ground and three touchdowns for Rosalia, which will play Wilbur-Creston or Touchet in the semifinals next weekend.
Neah Bay 80, Cusick 28: The Red Devils routed the Panthers (8-3) in Silverdale, Wash., in the first round of the 1B state playoffs. Neah Bay will play Lummi or Wishkah Valley in the semifinals next weekend.