The Ellensburg Bulldogs did something on Saturday that no other team was able to do this fall: slow down the Deer Park Stag offense.
The Stags, who averaged 36.6 points per game during the regular season, were held to fourth quarter touchdown in the opening round of the state Class 2A playoffs on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (9-3) , who defeated Cheney 36-35 in overtime in a play-in game on Nov. 8, will now move on to play Prosser following the 21-7 win. The Stags finished their most successful campaign in school history with a 9-2 record.
“We had trouble getting untracked, offensively,” said Stag head coach Keith Stamps.
Deer Parks’ offensive woes included a season-high four turnovers and a missed field goal.
The Bulldogs took advantage of the Stags’ offensive troubles to build a 14-0 lead at halftime. They added another touchdown in the third quarter when Josh Ketner recovered a fumble on the Stag 1-yard line. One play later, following a Ellensburg illegal motion penalty, Austin Lyman scored from 6 yards out.
The Bulldogs finished with 249 yards rushing.
“We starting running the ball well and just kind of stayed with that,” said Ellensburg head coach Randy Affholter.
Ellensburg quarterback Matt Bennett finished 2 of 4 passing for 5 yards, but added 110 yards rushing on 20 carries. The junior scored twice in the first half on runs of 9 and 4 yards.
The Stags finally got untracked offensively following Lyman’s touchdown with a 76-yard drive. Quarterback Colton Mead, who finished with 203 yards passing in weather conditions that included wind gusts of more than 30 mph, completed three passes on the drive, two to Dalton Hanson and a 14-yard scoring toss to tight end Dylan Miller on the third play of the fourth quarter.”
Deer Park had one more chance to cut into the Bulldog lead, but they were forced to turn the ball over on downs at the Ellensburg 29-yard line with 3 minutes left in the game.
“Ellensburg had a good game plan for us,” Stamps said.
The Bulldogs’ main focus was containing Stag tailback Jason Jorgensen. The senior finished with 66 yards rushing on 21 carries.
“We told our kids that if they got outside we just had to run like crazy to the corner,” Affholter said.
Deer Park finished with 90 yards rushing on 34 carries.
“Their D-line played a good game,” Stamps said.
In addition to their strong defensive line play, Bulldog defensive back Michael Wyatt picked off three Deer Park passes in the first half.
Hanson was the Stags’ main offensive weapon with 109 yards of total offense (89 receiving and 20 rushing), while senior Zach Mohr added 62 yards receiving on five catches.
Foley led the Bulldogs with 110 yards rushing on 14 carries.