PASCO — Sometimes you just tip your cap to your opponent because they are bigger, faster, and more physical than you are on that night. Liberty and running back Tyler Haas were all the above here Saturday in state 2B quarterfinal football action at Edgar Brown Stadium. The Lancers ended Dayton-Waitsburg’s first season as a combine and advanced to the semifinal round with a 48-19 win.
“We knew eventually we would run into a monster,” D-W coach Troy Larsen said. “You could tell they spent a ton of time in the weight room. They are big, physical and quick. I never imagined that a team would run over us like that.”
The first two plays of the game were the foreshadowing of what was to come for D-W. Liberty pouched the opening kick off and the ball took a bounce away from D-W into the hands of Liberty’s Austin Colby. First down Lancers at the D-W 35. Haas took the opening play from scrimmage 35 yards for a 7-0 Liberty lead eight seconds into the game.
“Simple mistakes,” D-W senior co-captain Jacob Dunn said. “That we make in the beginning, build quickly and you can’t let those things happen.”
Haas, a 5-10, 185 pound senior was just getting started. On the Lancer’s third possession, Haas gobbled up 46 yards to set up a four-yard TD run by Chase Burnham and a 14-0 Lancer lead with 2:54 left in the first.
D-W answered with their own 5-8, 180 pound senior running back, as Travis Crockett reversed his field and jitterbugged his way down the sideline for 77 yards and D-W was within 14-7 with 2:31 to play in the first.
Haas had all the answers on this night. A 41-yard screen pass from Garrett Rogers to Haas set up Haas’ second TD as Haas bulldozed in from the 11 to give the Lancers a 21-7 lead after one. Haas ran for 96 yards on 11 carries in the first quarter. Haas only had one negative run on the game as D-W’s Tyler Hoffman stopped him for a two-yard loss in the first quarter.
Second quarter, more Haas. Haas ran for 124 second-quarter yards and added his third TD as the Lancers went to intermission up 35-7.
“Our difficulty (in stopping Haas) was getting off the blocks,” D-W safety Dunn said. “They get through and come around well and they block. We just couldn’t get off the blocks to make the tackles.”
Third quarter, more of the same. The Lancers opened the second half with a 62-yard scoring march. Haas ran for 54 of those yards and capped the drive and ended his night with a three-yard TD plunge.
Haas finished with 274 rushing yards on 30 carries and four TDs.
“We hadn’t seen that (running and blocking ability) before,” Larsen commented. “They got double teams on (D-W leading tackler) Cal Martin. Cal didn’t have a chance to do much (defensively). We tried everything to combat it (the double teams). The guy (Haas) was a good runner. He was quick and could cut back. He could wait because he knew those guys would be there on the back side and they had Cal all bottled up so he was running without fear.”
D-W added two late scores on a one-yard Crockett plunge and a 75-yard Crockett scamper, but on this night it was not enough.
Crockett ended his high school career with 274 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Year one of the D-W combine ends with a 10-2 overall record and the run to the state quarters.
“This (the combine) was the best thing that could’ve happened,” Dunn said. “This didn’t just bring the kids together, it also brought the communities together.”
The combine grew from an opening loss to Milton-Freewater to a 10-game winning streak, to a quarter final run in the state tournament.
“If we had these kids for four years, I think that game would’ve been different,” Larsen added. “Each week was bigger and heavier on us. This game was a great life lesson for them. First year together, getting to the 10-win mark, and reaching the quarter finals, is still a successful season.
“We have a ton of new friends,” Larsen continued. “The combine has been great. Hopefully, we’ll build off it.”
D-W graduates a combined 14 members of the first ever D-W combine.
“I want to thank the coaches, it’s what they do to teach us everything we need to do,” Dunn summarized. “We (the players) are like a brotherhood. We all depend on one another.”
“It’s really sad to say good-bye to 14 seniors,” Larsen added. “I’ll never have a group that is all into it (like the 14 were). It’s going to be hard to wake up tomorrow without them. I’m blessed to be a part of it. I’ll remember it the rest of my life.”
Liberty 48, Dayton-Waitsburg 19
Lib — Haas 35 run (VanSlyke kick).
Lib — Burnham 3 run (VanSlyke kick).
D-W — Crockett 77 run (J. Adams kick).
Lib — Haas 11 run (VanSlyke kick).
Lib — Haas 21 run (VanSlyke kick).
Lib — Harrington 2 run (VanSlyke kick).
Lib — Haas 3 run (VanSlyke kick).
Lib — Burnham 27 pass from Rogers (kick failed).
D-W — Crockett 1 run (kick failed).
D-W — Crockett 75 run (pass failed).
RUSHING — Lib: Haas 30-274-4, Burnham 11-44-1, Harrington 2-9-1, King 4-15, Team 2-(-2); D-W: Kleck 3-3, Dunn 1-(-1), Kitselman 1-2, Crockett 16-274-2, Martin 4-13, Team 1-(-8).
PASSING — Lib: Rogers 2-2-0, 68 yards, 1 TD; D-W: Dunn 8-20-0, 74 yards, 0 TDs.
RECEIVING: Lib: Haas 1-25, Burnham 1-27-1; D-W: Martin 1-10, Crockett 3-27, Bren 1-4, Kleck 3-33.