Touchet won the turnover battle and the Indians (11-1, 6-1) ground out a 36-14 win over Wilbur-Creston in a State 1B quarterfinal at West Valley on Saturday.
Touchet got on the board first when Ruben Butler intercepted Trystan Rosman’s pass at the 14-yard line and returned it for the score with 6:20 left to play in the first quarter. The Indian’s run failed on the 2-point attempt, but they were able to keep the 6-0 lead for the next 12-plus minutes.
With 3:57 left in the half Alex Putman punched it in from 4 yards out and crossed the goal line again for the 2-point conversion to give the Wildcats (10-2, 6-0) an 8-6 lead.
It didn’t last long.
Cesar Velasquez returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to the Wilbur-Creston 8 and three plays later Colter McKeown rumbled into the end zone from the 2 to give Touchet a 14-8 lead.
Things got worse for Wilbur-Creston right before the break when Mason Copeland fumbled the ball at the Wildcats 45 and the Indians recovered.
Touchet capitalized on the turnover when quarterback Elias Martinez scrambled around in the backfield before lofting the ball to a wide open Edgar Rincon for an 11-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left in the second quarter. The Indians took a 22-8 lead into halftime.
The Touchet offense added two more scores after the break but it was their defense that shined. The Indians held a Wildcat offense that averaged 64 points-per-game coming into the matchup to 14.
“We were hoping for the old bend, don’t break, but boy we exceeded what my expectations were,” Touchet coach Gary Dorman said. “I was thinking it would be a 50- or 60-point ball game, but that wasn’t the case tonight.”
Copeland caught a screen pass from Rosman and took it 83 yards for a touchdown to make the score 30-14 with 9:21 left to play, but WC couldn’t muster up another score.
Touchet will face Rosalia next weekend in the 1B semifinals. The Spartans beat Colton 76-34 on Friday night thanks to Craig Nelson (350 yards) and Clay Shelton (265 yards) rushing and seven combined TD’s.