Defense Accelerates Greyhounds’ Playoff Drive
Pullman may have the most explosive 2A offense in the state but it was the Greyhounds’ defense that put a bite on the Kodiaks of Cascade-Leavenworth.
The No. 5 Greyhounds controlled No. 2 Cascade Friday night in the Apple Bowl for a 24-14 win in the quarterfinals of the State 2A football playoffs. Pullman (10-1) plays the winner of today’s Medical Lake-East Valley (Yakima) game in the semifinals next weekend.
“Nothing was clicking,” Cascade quarterback Brandon Klump said. “That’s by far the fastest team I’ve ever played. They got a good start and we never bounced back.”
Pullman coach Doug Christie said, “I was surprised too. I knew (the defense was) capable. We’ve had to do that in our league against big teams, shut down the run. I thought this team might even be better than the teams we played with their running game and their size. Our guys just did a great job, especially in the first half.”
Pullman, which averaged 47 points a game, cashed in on a Cascade turnover and got a pair of Aaron Linehan-to-Nate Brown touchdown passes for a 21-0 lead at the half.
One drive was set up when the defense stopped the Kodiaks on downs at the Greyhounds’ 11, thanks to two big stops by D.J. Hammond.
Linehan completed 13 of 23 passes for 226 yards with Brown catching nine balls for 163 yards. The Greyhounds also had 139 yards rushing.
“Me and Linnie, that’s us right there. That’s our passing game,” Brown said. “We just hook up when we need to. We worked all summer for it. They were playing off big time. They didn’t have very good DB’s. Our line held up good. Linnie was able to pass.”
The Greyhounds turned the ball over on the first play of the second half and the Kodiaks responded. Micah Rieke took a handoff on an inside reverse and went 71 yards for the Kodiaks’ first score.
Cascade, which averaged 43 points a game while running up a 10-0 record, went 80 yards on seven runs on its next possession to make it 21-14.
“From what we’d seen, we knew they had only had to come back a couple of times,” Hammond said. “We knew the second half was going to be real tough, we knew they weren’t going to roll over. We thought it would be a real close game and it was. They never let up.”
The Greyhounds’ defense, despite a handful of injuries, regrouped and a 27-yard field goal by Brown midway through the fourth quarter sealed it.
The Kodiaks rushed for 323 yards but 104 were by Rieke on four inside reverses. However, they only completed 4 of 11 passes for 62 yards.
“Our D picked it up in the first half and then held on in the second half,” Brown said. “Little guys from the Palouse taking it to the big boys. We wanted it more, that’s all.”
Pullman 24, Cascade 14
Pullman 7 14 0 3 - 24
Cascade 0 0 14 0 - 14
P - Sheridan 7 run (Brown kick)
P - Brown 38 pass from Linehan (Brown kick)
P - Brown 3 pass from Linehan (Brown kick)
C - Rieke 71 run (Klump kick)
C - Anderson 4 run (Klump kick)
P - Brown 27 field goal