ROYAL — Othello junior Isaiah Perez gathered his stuff in the semi-darkness of David Nielsen Stadium Tuesday night in Royal City, one of the last guys off the bench on his way to the bus.
The Huskies rolled into Royal, riding on the wave of emotion and a big win at Ellensburg two weeks prior, ready to earn a berth in the CWAC North Kansas tie-breaker playoff with Ephrata and Ellensburg.
They ended up dropping two games and were eliminated from the 2A postseason. Ellensburg will go into the 2A CWAC championships on Saturday as the No. 1 seed from the North and Ephrata will be the No. 2 seed.
“I had no doubt in my mind we were ready to come in here and play tonight,” Perez said. “We just didn’t execute on any level.
“We didn’t execute on our blocking. They gashed us right up the middle and it just all fell through.”
As it turned out, Ephrata senior Trent Kleyn’s 37-yard pass to running back Tony O’Neel on a seam route gave the Tigers a 9-0 victory in the first game.
“They hit us on every play they planned to try and hit us on. It wasn’t anything new. We’d seen it all before, we just didn’t execute.”
As the scenario played out, the Huskies needed to beat Ellensburg, a team they had previously beaten on a BJ Garza Jr. field goal. But the Bulldogs exploited the Othello defense on the first play when quarterback Brady Helgeson dropped back, waited for the linebackers to clear, then broke off a 25-yard run through the Huskies for the opening score.
Othello went all-out to block the point-after kick and roughed Ellensburg place kicker Elijah Harper. The penalty resulted in a penalty assessed on the Othello possession, giving them first-and-20 on the 50.
“I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to playing on Saturday. I already had plans for it,” Perez said.
On the Huskies’ second possession, they hoped to capitalize on a specialty play, but Barragan’s pass on the halfback option was intercepted by Riley Seed to seal the Bulldogs’ victory and give them the No. 1 seed.