The Asotin Panthers and Northwest Christian Crusaders were looking for revenge Friday night in the State 2B quarterfinals.
The Crusaders were looking to avenge an October loss to the Panthers – their only one of the season – and Asotin was looking to avenge a one-point loss to Northwest Christian in last year’s state playoffs.
After the Crusaders missed a 28-yard field goal in overtime, the Panthers’ Jake Dilling ran in from 2 yards out to ensure it was the Panthers getting revenge, 20-14.
Asotin advances to the state semifinals to face the winner of today’s game between Liberty and Dayton-Waitsburg.
It was a traditional battle in the trenches on a chilly field at Gonzaga Prep, as the Panthers and Crusaders used power running games to wear down the defenses.
“When it came down to it, our leaders stepped up and willed us to win,” Asotin head coach Jim Holman said. “You could see they refused to lose.”
Northwest Christian’s running game tested the Panthers’ defense throughout the night. The Crusaders used long drives to keep Asotin’s defense on the field, but the Panthers bend-don’t-break defense mostly stayed true to its description.
A 12-play drive that used nine straight running plays gassed the Panthers’ defense in the third quarter. But after forcing a punt, it seemed momentum could be on Asotin’s side.
That momentum flew right out the window when Northwest Christian’s Ryan Ricks picked off a Blake Magnuson pass on the first play of the ensuing drive.
Northwest Christian went on a 14-play drive that ended with a Silas Perreiah 6-yard touchdown run.
With its season on the line, Asotin needed only five plays to even the score. Tanner Berzett hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Magnuson to tie the game.
Both teams had drives stall as the game moved into overtime.
“(Northwest Christian) had trouble getting into the end zone and I think that’s just a testament to the desire of our guys to not lose,” Holman said.
After a scoreless first quarter, Asotin took a 7-0 lead on a trick play. Magnuson handed the ball off to running back Pate Earl, who pivoted and threw back to Magnuson on the left side.
Magnuson made one tackler miss and ran into the end zone from 15 yards out.
The Crusaders got on the board on their first drive of the second half when Ryan Harman ran in from 1 yard.
But the Panthers’ defense did just enough to keep the Crusaders at bay, ensuring a joyful 117-mile drive back to Asotin.
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