Lyle/Wishram/Klickitat won the takeaway game handily against Yakama Nation, putting up 52 first-half points on the way to a 70-8 Southeast 1B League victory.
It was LWK’s fifth consecutive win since a season-opening defeat. The Cougars stand 5-0 in league, one game up on Tekoa-Rosalia in the win column.
LWK visits league opponent Colton on Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Colton lost 62-20 to Tekoa-Oakesdale last weekend.
Aaron Smith provided a change of pace in the run game and ran for 68 yards and one score. Quarterback Cruz Montoya threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes (27 yards to David Bernier and 42 yards to Brandon Montoya).
The Cougars had the Yakama Eagles on their heels from the opening kickoff. They led 26-0 after one quarter and 52-0 at halftime. The teams played the second half under the 40-point-lead running clock rule.
A series of miscues and turnovers by the Eagles gave the Cougars advantageous field position throughout the first half.
“We started out kind of flat in my opinion,” Cougars Coach Antoine Montoya said. “After watching multiple games on Yakama we felt they were going to throw a lot more than run but didn’t think they were going to not run at all really.”
LWK’s defense caused and recovered two fumbles and had one interception. LWK also capitalized in the first quarter when Yakama gave the ball up inside its 5-yard line after the snap from center sailed over its punter’s head.
Mainly, though, the Eagles just struggled to move the ball against a swarming, hard-hitting Cougars defense that stuffed running backs in their holes and gave the quarterback little to no time to set up his passes.
Smith did a bit of everything on the defensive side of scrimmage. He recorded 10 total tackles, made an interception, forced a fumble, and recovered one Brandon Montoya caused. Montoya finished with 10 total tackles.
After establishing an insurmountable lead, LWK took the opportunity to work on its kicking game, as in, kicking points after touchdown.
“Our goal is to kick a few extra points, get our kicker used to just kicking the ball, for a last-minute field goal to win the game,” should the need arise, Coach Montoya said.
Another point of emphasis going forward will be diversification of the offense to keep defenses from stacking six men at the line of scrimmage.
“We try to balance out our offense, even though we’re ground-dominant,” Montoya noted. “We needs to get Cruz Montoya a bit more comfortable in the pocket and to see the blitz coming when a team is bringing six guys, more than our guys can block at once. We will get there hopefully.”