ONALASKA — The Onalaska football team saw the downpour due Friday on the weather forecast. And boy, were the Loggers excited.
“Our kids, they like this stuff,” head coach Mazen Saade said. “They love the mud, they love the rain. They’d been waiting on it all year. They weren’t sure about the smoke and the dry weather and all that stuff.”
Rain and mud were available in ready supply, and Onalaska was indeed right at home in them in its district crossover matchup against Morton-White Pass, letting the T-Wolves suffer in the slop in a 26-8 win.
The result sends the Loggers back to the state tournament; they’ll learn their exact fate Sunday following the WIAA’s selection announcements.
It’s the second straight season featuring a major Onalaska turnaround, after the Loggers started the fall 1-4. Since then, the Loggers are 4-1.
“I’m so happy for these kids,” Saade said. “It’s a great opportunity. Our goal every year as a team is to get ourselves into the crossover, and see where we shake. Now we got ourselves into the crossover with a big win over Wahkiakum last week, now we’re in the state playoffs, and we’re going to see where we shake.”
Rodrigo Rodriguez and Kayden Mozingo did nearly all the damage on the statsheet for Onalaska, on a night where rain kept the hosts from completing a single pass. The former went for 177 yards on the ground, while the latter had 162, and both scored a pair of touchdowns.
“Our backs ran hard today,” Saade said. “I thought Blaze Underhill had a great game offensively, he had some big blocks. Ryland McGraw once again played a huge part of what we do, I’m really proud of how he blocked tonight.”
MWP, meanwhile, struggled with the rain right out of the gate. The T-Wolves fumbled the rock away on their first play from scrimmage, setting up Onalaska’s first touchdown of the night. Morton-White Pass’ next drive went exactly the same way, with a wet ball hitting the turf and the defense falling on it.
The Timberwolves wouldn’t give the ball away on a fumble again, but did have four more fumbled snaps that led to wasted plays and stalled drives.
“We’re not a real good wet-weather team,” MWP coach Lee Metcalf said. “We didn’t deal with the adversity, and it showed.”
Carter Dantinne had 63 yards on 19 carries to lead the T-Wolves, and also completed a pass for 28 yards. Facing a 26-0 deficit late, MWP went more and more to its air attack, and while Judah Kelly did complete six passes for 76 yards, he also threw a pair of interceptions.
MWP also had multiple first-half drives work deep into Onalaska territory before ultimately losing steam and ending on turnovers on downs.
“We didn’t make enough big plays, and when we did get a few drives going, we couldn’t capitalize on them,” Metcalf said.
Morton-White Pass ends its season with a 6-4 record, in a season that dealt with plenty of outside adversity, with the Goat Rocks fire forcing multiple reschedules.
“It was a really weird year,” Metcalf said. “I think it was Week 5 before we played a game on a Friday. We dealt with a lot of adversity along the way, but we were able to make the best of it, and have a pretty good season. I’m proud of the kids; they competed all year long and gave me all they had.”