Big second half propels Wellpinit over Northport

After getting close to high-powered Wellpinit (3-0, 6-1) back in early September, Northport High faithful had every reason to believe that the second time around would be different and the Mustangs might pull off a monumental upset. Well, things were different. NHS (3-1, 4-3) had few answers for the Wellpinit running-back A.J. Kieffer and the high-octane Redskins’ offense. The result was a lopsided 58-18 loss to fourth-ranked Wellpinit in a key Northeast 1B North eight-man game at Northport last Friday night. After leading 28-14 at halftime, the visitors dominated the second half, outscoring Northport, 30-6. NHS head coach Don Fox took much of the blame for the loss, although the veteran coach wasn’t credited with any of a number of missed tackles turned in my his beleaguered defense. Well prepared “They were obviously well prepared for us,” Fox said on Sunday. “They had us well scouted, and I don’t think we did some of the things that we should have…we have to play our A game to beat people. And we weren’t close to that.” For one thing, like so many of Wellpinit’s opponents this fall, NHS had no answers for the 6-3, 185-pound Kieffer (210 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 67 and 14 yards. “He’s the best running back in the league,” Fox said. “We couldn’t slow him down.” Wellpinit amassed 600 yards of total offense. The majority of it was on the ground. The Redskins passed for 115 yards. Northport totaled 258 yards. The Mustangs passed for 138 and ran for another 120. NHS tailback David Higgins was held to a season-low 52 yards on 14 carries. Northport simply couldn’t find Kieffer consistently enough and get enough stops. Still, it was a competitive first half for Northport, who hung in—until the second half. Wellpinit, bullied and beaten badly one week earlier by second-ranked Almira/Coulee-Hartline, got started fast against Northport when Kieffer, on a second and nine play early in the opening quarter, raced 67 yards for a touchdown. The two-point PAT run failed and the visitors led 6-0. Higgins score Northport answered the quick Wellpinit strike when Higgins capped a quick four-play drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Jeremiah Johnson had a couple of big runs in the drive. The PAT run failed and it was 6-6. Wellpinit answered when Kieffer bolted in from 14 yards out late in the first quarter to make it 12-6. A 52-yard pass from Wynecoop to Kieffer was the big play of the drive. Early in the second quarter, Arlen McCrea hauled in a three-yard pass from Wynecoop and the Redskins led 20-6 after a successful two-point conversion run. The drive took five plays and covered 73 yards. Kieffer had a 50-yard run during that drive. But Northport answered the drive when Johnson hooked up with Josh Konkler on a 62-yard pass and run play for a touchdown. Later in the second quarter, WHS took advantage of a muffed Northport punt, scoring on a McCrea 10-yard run. Key play on the drive was a 22-yard Wynecoop to Kieffer pass and run. “We were still within striking distance at that point,” Fox said. In fact, Northport closed the gap ton 28-18 early in the third quarter after taking advantage of a 62-yard Higgins kickoff return to open the third quarter. On the first play after the kickoff return, Higgins bolted 18 yards for the score and Northport trailed 28-18. But that was it for the NHS highlight reel. Wellpinit dominated the rest of the way. “We had nothing after that,” Fox said, adding that “our kids didn’t play up to what I think we can do. And a lot of that’s my fault. We are too one-dimensional right now. We need to do a better job of mixing it up on offense.” Fox said that tackling will be a point of emphasis this week as the Mustangs prepare for their Homecoming game Friday at 7 p.m. against Republic. “It’s back to fundamentals this week,” Fox promised. “We’re going to move some kids around a little bit.” Republic next Republic is struggling again this fall. But Fox is wary with a big game on Oct. 28 against Cusick (3-1, 4-2) looming. “We can’t afford to look past anybody,” Fox said. One of the few bright spots for Northport was the play of Belgian foreign exchange student, Jorik Visser-Rios. The linebacker was credited with 20 tackles. “He was all over the field,” Fox said of his 5-11, 170-pound senior. “They were trying pretty hard to run away from him.” ELSEWHERE Columbia-Inchelium (1-2, 2-5) continues to underachieve. The Timberwolves came out flat against Odessa-Harrington (2-0, 5-2) at Inchelium last Friday afternoon, falling behind 24-0 in the first quarter and 30-0 at halftime en route to a 66-28 loss. Jared King ran for four touchdowns and threw for two more against C-I. Quarterback Dominic Cain threw for five touchdowns (30, 7, 3, 31 and 21 yards) as Selkirk (1-3, 2-5) eased past Curlew (0-4, 1-5) 52-12. Cain also scored two rushing touchdowns for the Rangers, who led 44-12 after three quarters. Mitchell Hunt hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Derek Isaak with 58 seconds left in the game to give host Almira/Coulee-Hartline a wild 40-32 non-league eight-man football win over St. Paul (Oregon). Isaak finished with three touchdown passes and a running score for the Warriors. Colin Deyarmin ran for 162 yards on 12 carries for ACH (7-0), tested for the first time this season against the Oregon eight-man power. Cusick (5-2) got 129 yards rushing from Alex Bluff in a 52-8 non-league drubbing of Republic (2-4). The Panthers put up 24 second quarter points and led 30-0 at halftime. WHS 58, NHS 18 WHS 12 16 24 6—58 NHS 6 6 6 0—18 WH—Kieffer 67 yd. run (run failed) NH—Higgins 13 yd. run (run failed) WH—Kieffer 14 yd. run (pass failed) WH—McCrea 3 yd. pass from Wynecoop (McCrea run) NH—Konkler 62 yd. pass from Johnson (run failed) WH—McCrea 10 yd. run (Kieffer run) NH—Higgins 18 yd. run (run failed) WH—McCrea 27 yd. pass from Kieffer (Kieffer run) WH—Doring 48 yd. run (Ford pass from Wynecoop) WH—McCrea 24 yd. run (Ford pass from Wynecoop) WH—McCrea 52 yd. run