BENTON CITY - There’s an upside to opening the SCAC East schedule with three-time 1A state champion Royal and perennial state playoff qualifier Connell. You take your lumps early and then it’s time to roll.
Oscar Rodriguez returned to the lineup and passed for 388 yards and five touchdowns to lead Wahluke to a 50-13 win over Kiona-Benton. It was a big road win and one that gets the Warriors (3-2, 1-2 SCAC East) right back into the playoff discussion.
“This is how we’re going to play going forward, for sure,” first-year head coach Ryan Antos said. “As long as we stay healthy and we have Oscar, we’re going to roll. In a lot of ways, I’d rather have Royal and Connell out of the way and now we can focus on making it to the playoffs.”
Rodriguez was ineligible through the first four games, but made up for lost time with a huge day, hitting Isaac Sanchez for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
“Oscar threw the ball really well and they kept playing man-to-man defense,” Antos said. “Sanchez had six catches for 172 yards. But all our receivers had a big day, because they were stacking box trying to take away the run game.”
The key was the blocking scheme and the contributions from tackles Noe Martinez, Miguel Zamorano; guards Seth Weeks, Johnny Garcia and center Pedro Casteneda, Antos said.
Jesus Cisneros had three catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. His longest was a 57-yard scoring strike.
Danny Ayala had banner day scoring on a pick-six and a touchdown reception against a Ki-Be team (2-3, 2-1) that went into the contest 2-0 in the SCAC East.
“It feels good. They’ve played in that wing-T offensive system forever where they run the ball every play,” Antos said. “They were getting kind of discouraged, but last night showed them what we can be and they’re very excited again.”
But it wasn’t just the Wahluke offense teeing off, the defense shut down a very capable Bear offense, creating three fumbles and a pick-six.
“The pick-six was the highlight, but the defense played out of their minds,” Antos said. “Gerardo Ledezma had three sacks, including a strip sack.”
Wahluke hosts River View (1-4, 0-3) on Friday.