A Columbia-Inchelium football team that struggled with consistency and continuity early-on this football season seems to be rounding into form as the stretch run toward the 1B (eight-man) football playoffs looms.
The Timberwolves (4-2, 2-1) blasted overmatched Waterville (1-5, 1-2) last Friday afternoon at Inchelium, 62-12, in a battle of Northeast 1B North and NE 1B South teams.
C-I rolled to a 24-6 first quarter lead and increased that working margin to 44-12 at halftime.
The Wolves moved into third place in the NE 1B standings. Second-ranked Cusick is steamrolling through the NE 1B this fall, putting up points like a high-scoring college basketball team. The Panthers (3-0, 6-0) are coming off a 70-20 blasting of Republic (2-2, 3-2) last Friday night in Pend Oreille County.
Columbia-Inchelium will visit skidding Northport on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Mustangs (0-3, 2-4) are on a three-game losing streak and are in desperate need of a win. C-I is looking to avenge a costly loss to Northport last fall.
“We are playing a lot better,” conceded C-I head coach Chuck Wyborney. “I hope we can go up there and dominate…get a little momentum going for those last two league games (against Cusick and Selkirk).
“We were embarrassed by Northport last year. This is a great chance to erase that memory.”
For the first time all season long, C-I is healthy and at full strength.
“We are really starting to gel as a team,” Wyborney said. “We have kids flying around on defense and we saw some nice hits from our guys against Waterville.”
Wyborney’s son, Dustin, had a big game against the Shockers, rushing for a career-high 287 yards on 16 carries and scoring four times (70, 14, 48, 18 yards).
The converted quarterback said he’s starting to “finally feel like a tailback,” his father said.
Dustin Elliott had 11 tackles on defense “and stuffed the middle all game long,” coach Wyborney said of his senior.
“The kids are really starting to rally to the ball (on defense),” Wyborney said. “And on offense, we have had the same combination for two weeks in a row. I feel like we can move the ball on anybody. We have a good mix inside, outside and throwing the ball.”
Wyborney says it helps that the Timberwolves are starting 13 different players.
“That makes a big difference when you can do that,” Wyborney said. “It also picks up things in practice and makes it more competitive.
“Now, if we can get a little bit nasty out there and dominate…I’m starting to see a little bit of that.”
Rushing: Wyborney, 16-287; Cohen, 3-15; Elliott, 8-55; Holford, 8-112; Zehetmir, 3-22; LeaderCharge, 2-23; McDowell, 4-32. Total: 44-546 yards.
Passing: Cohen—5-12—979 yards.
Receiving: Elliott, 2-60; McDowell, 2-22; Wyborney, 1-15.
Tackles: Elliott 9, Stensgar 5, McDowell 6, E. Reynolds 5, Zehetmir 3.
McDowell and Jones both recovered fumbles.
Rushing: 22-189 and 3-13—20 yds. passing.
WHS 6 6 0 0—12
C-I 24 20 12 6—62
C-I—Elliott 2 yd. run (pass Holford from Cohen)
C-I—Wyborney 70 yd. run (pass McDowell from Cohen)
Wat—Clements 44 yd. run (run failed)
C-I—Wyborney 14 yd. run (Leadercharge pass from Cohen)
C-I—Holford 7 yd. run (Elliott run)
Wat—Deshazer 75 yd. run (pass failed)
C-I—McDowell 14 yd. pass from Cohen (pass failed)
C-I—Cohen 8 yd. run (pass failed)
C-I—Wyborney 48 yd. run (pass failed)
C-I—Wyborney 18 yd. run (pass failed)
C-I—Holford 18 yd. run (run failed)