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Kittitas loses chance at EWAC title; falls to Dayton-Waitsburg 49-6

October 22, 2016 GMT

KITTITAS – Two teams came into Harding Field with 5-0 league records. The high-powered and visiting Dayton-Waitsburg Bulldogs left with the Eastern Washington Athletic Conference championship after a convincing 49-6 victory over Kittitas Friday night.

Kittitas falls to 5-1 in EWAC play and 6-1 overall. Dayton-Waitsburg is 6-0 and 7-1.

D-W immediately came out firing on all cylinders as its 6-foot-5, 225-pound quarterback Jacob Dunn connected with Nick Kitselman for 24 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Dunn completed four passes for 65 yards to get to the Coyote 10-yard line before Kittitas came up with its first of three takeaways in the first half when the KHS defense forced a fumble.

“That’s our defense,” head coach Jamal Weems said. “At the start of the game I thought we were in great shape. They started marching on us a little bit on that first drive. We expected that. They’re a really high-powered offense with all the weapons they have. But what we didn’t expect was to give up four turnovers in the first half. That really hurt us.”

Dayton-Waitsburg scored twice on those change of possessions.

“That gives them extra possessions, which turns into a lopsided victory,” Weems said.

The Bulldogs built a 12-0 lead midway through the first quarter and on the ensuing kickoff return, Kittitas coughed up the ball, giving D-W a short field. Two plays later, the Bulldogs made it 20-0.

On the next play from scrimmage, KHS quarterback Bryce Anderson was sacked and stripped of the ball, resulting in another quick score for the Bulldogs. The visitors went into the second quarter up 28-0.

KHS was picked off again on its next possession, but showed signs of life on both sides of the ball. The Coyote defense would bend, but not break as D-W drove deep into the red zone before the drive stalled on the Kittitas 15. The Coyotes responded with a 12-play drive that spanned more than five minutes, but were again bit by the turnover bug with their second pick of the night, this time at the Dayton 20-yard line.

Kittitas finally got on the board midway in the third period. Anderson connected with Wesley Gibb for a 15-yard gain, setting up a 49-yard strike to Jerome Lael all alone in the middle of the Bulldog secondary. Lael scampered to the end zone untouched to cut into the Bulldog lead, 35-6.

“That was good. Anytime you get on the board that’s a positive,” Weems said. “We’ll build from there.”

But Dayton-Waitsburg was too big and incredibly talented all over the field, scoring two more times in the third quarter.

“Turn the page,” Weems said. “Obviously we’ll see the film on this one and try to learn from it and get better from it. We’ll flush this one and move on to the next one. Still a lot of things in front of us for the season. We’ve got to move on and get ready for the next one.”

That next one is a home game next Friday at Harding Field when the Coyotes host Tri Cities Prep in the regular season finale. While the Bulldogs won the EWAC title, Kittitas and TC Prep will battle for positioning for the Nov.5 crossover game as well as possible playoff seeding.

“Tri Cities Prep will be good as well, so we’ll have to show up,” Weems said.

Despite being intercepted three times, Anderson finished the game with 173 yards in the air with one touchdown strike. Lael finished with 107 yards receiving.