PASCO - Dallas Isaak accounted for 11 touchdowns and 576 yards of total offense, and Almira/Coulee-Hartline got past Liberty Christian 82-70 in 1B State semifinal action at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco Saturday.
It was the 12th win in a row and sweet revenge for the Warriors who were handed an opening day 66-42 loss from the Patriots.
“What a game. I could go on and on about it, but it really came down to our kids having a lot of heart and absolutely no quit in them,” coach Brandon Walsh said. “We fell behind 16-0 in the first four or five minutes of the game and had to battle back. We ended up forcing five turnovers, recovered three onside kicks and that enabled us to keep the ball out of their hands and give us extra chances in the game.”
ACH dug itself a hole down 30-14 after Liberty Christian quarterback John Lesser scored his fourth touchdown with 2:36 left in the first half.
Trailing by a couple of scores and with time winding down, the Warriors had time to rally and did when Isaak hit pay dirt on a 45-yard run on the first play following the Lesser TD.
ACH forced a three-and-out on the Patriots next possession and got the ball back with 90 seconds left in the half. Isaak moved the Warriors into scoring position, and then found Parker Zappone in the back of the end zone as time expired. The 2-point conversion was good and the teams went to the locker room even at 30-all.
ACH continued to roll in the second half recovering two onside kicks while exploding for 52 points.
Isaak completed 12 of 25 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns. He also carried the rock 35 times for 272 yards and six scores.
“Dallas had a great night throwing the ball as well as rushing, and our receivers made big plays down the field all night long,” Walsh said. “But our O-line might be the unheralded MVP's of the game as they did a great job of protecting the QB and opening holes against a very aggressive and athletic defense.”
Charles Hunts hauled in eight Isaak passes for 155 yards and two scores.
The win advances ACH to the 1B State Championship Game with Lummi Nation Friday at 4 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome.
This is the third dance on the big stage for coach Walsh and his staff. The Warriors were crowned champion in 2007, and were runner up to Neah Bay in 2011.
“We are excited to be in the title game. This is a rare and special group to accomplish what they've accomplished after going 2-8 a season ago. They are committed to the process of getting better each week and maybe more importantly, they are committed to one another and are great teammates,” Walsh said. “I don't know much about Lummi. I do know that they're always well coached and have a big, bruising running back that we'll have to contend with.”