Sometimes the most important wins are the ones that don’t come easy, that are littered with mistakes that must be overcome one way or another.
That was Kalama’s Saturday afternoon. The Chinooks offense turned the ball over four times — three of which were fumbles — but the Chinooks defense was monstrous and dominated Lake Roosevelt from start to finish in a 43-0 drubbing in a 2B quarterfinal game at Chinook Stadium.
“Business as usual, it seems like,” Elijah Haynes said after rushing for 143 yards.
It says a lot about Kalama that with three turnovers, some weirdly inaccurate throws from Jackson Esary and a running game that wasn’t terribly effective, Kalama still led by three touchdowns at the break.
It takes a special team to not allow those kinds of things to derail a football game and at this point of the schedule, the season as a whole.
Kalama held firm to what it does: to play solid defense and efficient, potentially explosive offense. And in the second half that meant 21 more points and a stifling defensive performance.
“We played a good second half,” Kalama Coach Sean McDonald said. “Again, (we’ve had) two weeks in a row, though, where we’ve had a sloppy first half or second half. We gotta clean it up and do the things we gotta do to get ready.
That stifling defense only got better as the afternoon wore on.
Lake Roosevelt quarterback Hunter Whitelaw rushed for 46 yards in the first half, but just 18 afterwards.
He completed just two passes after halftime, and finished with just 42 yards on 5-of-23 passing with three interceptions, two of which went to Jack Doerty.
“We were just playing our gaps, our zones,” Haynes said. “There were people there to wrap up and make the tackle, pressure. It was pretty great all day.”
Kalama limped into the break by getting just enough from its offense.
Esary was 11-of-14 for 194 yards, three touchdowns and a pick before halftime. The interception came right at the end of the second quarter on a badly underthrown ball.
It wasn’t easy earlier, either.
Kalama fumbled at the Lake Roosevelt 30 on its first drive, then it fumbled on its second drive at the Lake Roosevelt 15.
McDonald said earlier in the week that he wanted to start fast, and two plus-territory fumbles is the opposite of that.
But the defense was stellar and Lake Roosevelt couldn’t capitalize on the two gifts, letting Kalama strike the first blow.
After a Raiders punt, Esary found Vance for 19 yards and the game’s first score. Kalama got the two-point and took an 8-0 lead with 2:30 to play in the initial period.
Doerty then snagged his first of the two picks, and, after a Haynes run down to the 5, Esary casually flipped one to Cox for a two-score lead. Esary ran in the two and Kalama held a 16-0 just seconds into the second quarter.
“Jackson Esary’s taken the handle at quarterback,” Haynes said.
Doerty then came up with his second pick, setting up another of Vance’s magical plays.
Deep in their own territory, Kalama elected to get a chunk play to at least flip the field. The vertical pass wasn’t Esary’s best effort, and Vance had to fight for it. He ripped it away from the Lake Roosevelt defensive back minding him, broke a tackle, broke inside and raced for a 90-yard touchdown.
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That play was a back-breaker that put Kalama up 22-0 still early in the second quarter.
The third quarter didn’t necessarily start ideally for Kalama. While the defense continued to eliminate the Lake Roosevelt offense, the offense scuffled. At least initially.
Doerty fumbled after picking up a first down in Lake Roosevelt territory, the third time the Chinooks fumbled within striking range.
But the defense held, the Raiders punted, and Esary eventually powered in a 1-yard TD run after a short punt, but Cox dropped the two-point pass and Kalama led 28-0.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Kalama added another score when Cox caught a little smoke screen and snuck in from 8 yards out. Esary rolled right on the two-point, elected to run, and got to the pylon safely for a 36-0 lead.
That essentially put it on ice.
But Nate Anderson’s interception at the Kalama 1 after being beat on a straight go route actually put it on ice, then Vance took a pitch and raced 63 yards to add insult to injury.
“We’re rolling,” Haynes said.
Kalama awaits its semifinal opponent. It will either be No. 2 Napavine or No. 10 Toledo. At the time of writing, Napavine was leading Toledo 35-0 at halftime.
Kalama 43, Lake Roosevelt 0
Lake Roosevelt; 0; 0; 0; 0—;0
Kalama; 8; 14; 6; 15;—;43
K: Brennon Vance 19 pass from Jackson Esary (two-point good)
K: Max Cox 5 pass from Esary (Esary run)
K: Vance 90 pass from Esary (pass failed)
K: Esary 1 run (pass failed)
K: Cox 8 pass from Esary (Esary run)
K: Vance 63 run (Nate Anderson kick)
RUSHING — L: Hunter Whitelaw 14-64, Devon Hobrecht-Marconi 6-21, Brit Egbert 2-(-6), team 3-6. K: Elijah Haynes 15-143, Brennon Vance 6-84, Jackson Esary 9-63.
PASSING — L: Hunter Whitelaw 5-23-3, 42, Brit Egbert 1-1-0, 35. K: Jackson Esary 16-21-1, 222, Brennon Vance 0-2-0, 0.
RECEIVING — Sam Wapato 4-58, Chase Clark 2-21, Devon Hobrecht-Marconi. K: Brennon Vance 4-108, Jack Doerty 3-39, Max Cox 3-39, Nate Anderson 3-37.