OTHELLO — Othello football picked up a win in their Homecoming game on Friday night against Ephrata, defeating the Tigers 27-8.
After trading drives early in the game, the Huskies were able to open up a lead with a little over five minutes left in the first quarter as Isaiah Perez took back a pick-six for Othello. On the first play of the next drive, Nathan Garza Jr. picked up the fumble, taking it into the end zone as the Huskies took a 14-0 lead in a matter of moments.
Perez picked up a fumble in the second quarter for his second takeaway of the game, giving Othello the ball on the Ephrata 18-yard line. Isaac Barragan was able to run in for the score to put the Huskies ahead 21-0.
A quarterback sneak from Logan Hollenback helped Othello go into halftime with a 27-0 advantage over the Tigers.
Ephrata was able to get on the board late in the third quarter, as the Tigers blocked an Othello punt out of the back of the end zone for the safety. Ephrata cut into the lead again early in the fourth quarter, with a tight ball to the back corner of the end zone, trimming the lead to 27-8. Neither team was able to cross the goal line again in the remaining minutes, as the Huskies held on for the win.
Barragan led the way for Othello on the ground, with 174 rushing yards and a touchdown. Steven Ochoa had 63 yards rushing for the Huskies as well.
Othello defensive coordinator Jacob Johnston said after the game that the Tigers were a tough opponent to game-plan for, and that their record doesn’t reflect the quality of the athletes and team.
“Take away those two defensive touchdown and it’s still a game,” Johnston said. “That was our main focus this week, get the defense playing with their hair on fire, bouncing around.”
In addition to Perez and Garza, with defensive touchdowns, Johnston said Cameron Carl played well defensively, landing some big hits for the Huskies.
“Offensively, I’d have to give it to our tailback,” Johnston said. “He was reading the holes, cutbacks. I don’t know how many yards he had, but he had a pretty good game.”
Johnston said the Huskies will look to continue working on blocking and reading the holes with their backs on offense, while the defensive adjustments land on playing the matchup game, making sure the right personnel is in for the opponent.
With the defense getting better every game, Johnston said he hopes the Huskies can lock in first place in the conference, and keep driving towards the postseason.
Ephrata head coach Jay Mills said the Tigers found themselves in a hole in the first half, with the back-to-back turnovers.
“That really hurt us,” Mills said. “It affected us more in our heads, I think, than it did physically. I’m really pleased with how my team came back in the second half. We had some chances and it could have been a different game there, and we had opportunities.”
Mills said he told his team after the game that he was proud of them fighting back, and said it could have turned into 60-0 quickly.
“When a mistake happens, you’ve gotta just move on to the next play, and not let the last one affect the next one,” Mills said. “They’ve got to be resilient and try and win the next play, that’s a big thing.”
The Ephrata head coach said he’s been happy with how the defense has played all year, including against the Huskies, but said his team was a bit overmatched physically at times, and that Othello took advantage.
The Huskies will travel to face East Valley (Yakima) in their next game, while Ephrata gets set for their rivalry game against Quincy at home.