EPHRATA — Ephrata picked the first win of the season, shutting out Quincy in the Battle of the Basin, 38-0.
The Tigers moved to 1-5 on the year, while the Jacks fell to 3-3.
An ugly first quarter saw both sides trading blows, with neither team able to gain an edge. A fumbled punt return put the Jacks within scoring range, but Quincy was unable to convert as errant snaps from center cost the visitors throughout the game. The Tigers were able to open up a lead with Mac Laird bursting a big run with six seconds to play in the first to put Ephrata ahead 7-0.
Both sides failed to find the end zone in the second quarter, as fumbles were costly for both sides. The Tigers were able to build on their lead with under 10 seconds to play in the half as another bad snap forced the Quincy punter to scramble before he was taken down in his own end zone for the safety. Ephrata took a 9-0 lead into the locker room.
A second safety for the Tigers opened up the scoring in the second half as Ephrata took a 11-0 lead with just under nine minutes to play in the third. Tony O’Neel rushed in for the second rushing touchdown of the evening for the Tigers two minutes later, giving the home team an 18-0 lead.
A fumble on the kickoff gave the Tigers the ball right back, with Carter Cox breaking away for a big run and another touchdown for Ephrata. The Tigers took a 25-0 lead into the fourth. Tyler Lybbert took the pick-six in to continue the rout for Ephrata in the fourth quarter, putting the Tigers up 31-0.
O’Neel ran in for his second rushing touchdown of the night to cap of the scoring for Ephrata, as the Tigers took the Battle of the Basin 38-0.
Ean Boyd finished with 91 passing yards for the Tigers, while O’Neel led the way for Ephrata on the ground with 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Tigers head coach Jay Mills said it was good seeing his team continue to play hard and execute into the second half of the victory.
“It was great that they stayed together and kind of saw a game through finally and, in the second half, really separated themselves,” Mills said. “And, making adjustments and continuing to play hard in the second half was key.”
Getting the shutout on defense is always exciting, Mills said, but the Ephrata coach said he was especially proud of his offensive line’s performance on the night.
“We were able to move the ball on the ground tonight which we’ve struggled with all year,” Mills said. “And our offensive line was able to, most of the game, control the line of scrimmage.”
Mills said he wasn’t pleased with the penalties his team gathered in the game, and said it could have been more costly in a tighter game.
With a banged up team, missing a lot of players, Quincy head coach Wade Petersen said they don’t want to make excuses for the results.
“We’re down a few guys and a couple guys got hurt tonight, but no excuses,” Petersen said. “Ephrata played better than us, they deserve the victory. We’ll just try and get back to working harder and playing better.”
Petersen said errors on fundamental things cost his team tonight. Dealing with a number of missed snaps and other miscues, the Quincy head coach said it can get frustrating, and sort of “snowballed” for his team in the second half.
“It’s hard because your going second and 20 every time you’ve got a drive,” Petersen said. “We don’t have many plays drawn up for that. That made it so much harder.”
At .500 on the season, Petersen said the goals are still on reaching the playoffs at the end of the year. The Quincy coach said he’s just working on ways to keep his players motivated and see how they adjust with their backs against the wall.
“I’ve been around sports a lot, coaching,” Petersen said. “When adversity happens, it reveals character. It reveals who you are, tells what kind of person you are.”
Next up for the Tigers after the win is a home game against Selah, while the Jacks return home for a matchup against East Valley (Yakima).