WELLPINIT - It was a high-scoring, well-fought battle between the Sunnyside Christian Knights and the Wellpinit Redskins last Friday.
However, the host Redskins prevailed 76-56 in the battle between the two teams.
Sunnyside Christian Coach Ray Hernandez said the first half is what did his team in. In spite of adjustments made to the Knights' defense and a rally from behind on the part of the offense, Wellpinit had too much of a lead in the first half for the Sunnyside Christian team to overcome.
"We did pretty good, considering they were 9-2 last year," said Hernandez.
Sunnyside Christian gave up 56 points in the opening half of last Friday's gridiron battle, while getting just 20 points of its own.
The Knights in the third quarter marched toward the Redskins goal for another 14 points in the third quarter and outscored Wellpinit by 22-20 in the final stanza.
"Luke Wavrin (of Sunnyside Christian) controlled the blitz in the second half to pressure their quarterback," said Hernandez.
He said Drew Puterbaugh also showed some grit during the closing half, playing outside linebacker. "He played the option well...when he needed help, he got it," said the coach.
Nate Scheenstra, too, was credited for adjusting to the adjusted defensive strategy. He served as nose tackle.
"Our offensive line worked hard, too, blocking the defense of the Redskins...it built confidence in preparation for this coming Friday against Lacrosse-Washtucna," said Hernandez.
He said the offense was responsible for 453 rushing yards and 135 passing yards.
Wavrin had 24 carries and rushed for 211 yards. He scored four touchdowns.
Also scoring for the Knights was John Newhouse, who had two touchdowns and ran for 227 yards on 25 carries.
Sunnyside Christian quarterback Wyatt Hoff was 6-for-14 through the air for 134 yards. He scored on a touchdown pass and had a rushing touchdown.
Receiver Brandon Broersma connected with Hoff two times for 88 yards and a touchdown.
"We're getting better...this is quite a process and we'll know this coming Friday if it's real or if we just got lucky," Hernandez said of the improvements he is seeing on the field.
He credits the Knights for being a well-conditioned team, having worked hard to make gains.
"We are still playing well when our opponents are cramping," said Hernandez, stating the endurance is indicative of the hard work paying off.
"This is the most hard-working team I have coached," said the coach.
This coming Friday Sunnyside Christian (1-2) will host Lacrosse-Washtucna at Grandview's Rich Leenhouts stadium. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.