If the preseason vote of Whitepine League coaches knocked Prairie off the top of the winners podium, the Pirates pushed much more forcefully for the league’s highest place with a 48-8 win over Genesee last Friday night, Sept. 4.
Only one other WPL team — Troy — has a league win to its credit thus far.
Meanwhile, top-voted Kamiah added a second shutout rout to its ledger — 46-0 over Pomeroy — albeit over a non-league opponent.
That afternoon, Clearwater Valley won its season opener for the third straight year, crushing non-league Cascade 80-28.
Prairie 48, Genesee 8
COTTONWOOD — Lucas Wemhoff came into the season having taken a few handoffs last season, but looked like a completely different player last Friday night, Sept. 4. On Wemhoff’s nine rushing attempts, Prairie scored four touchdowns and piled up 86 yards — mostly by using his speed to attack the edges of the field.
Out of the defensive backfield, Wemhoff got in on seven tackles and PHS sophomore defensive lineman Jayce Huling wrecked play after play in the Genesee backfield.
Prairie also got what it has come to expect from seniors Jake Bruner and Calvin Hinkelman. Bruner scored the first Pirates touchdown of the season the first time PHS snapped the ball, and Wemhoff cut behind Hinkelman’s block to score the conversion.
Genesee went three-and-out after Brandon Anderson brought down Genesee’s Jake DeMeerleer in the backfield.
On the Pirates’ next series, a sack on third down had Prairie backpedaling inside its own 20, but Bruner spotted Hinkelman and completed the pass for a first down beyond midfield.
Wemhoff took it around the right side the rest of the way — 48 yards — for a 14-0 PHS lead .
On the next series, Genesee tried completing a fourth down pass, but instead delivered the ball to Bruner, who returned it 44 yards for another quick score.
Then the rain started falling, and Genesee started moving the ball. The Bulldogs converted fourth-and-five and shrugged off a sack by Huling to extend the drive inside the Prairie red zone, third-and-one from the 19 with 12 seconds left in the first quarter.
Then Genesee committed back-to-back penalties and lost still more yardage to a sack, bringing up fourth-and-15 on the first play of the second quarter. Despite the large amount of time left, it proved Genesee’s last chance to put the outcome in doubt; the pass fell incomplete, and Prairie’s lead grew to 40 before halftime despite the cold, wet weather.
The Pirates went to Hinkelman several times early in the second quarter; he made one first down on an 11-yard run and another first down on a screen pass before punching in a three-yard run for a 26-0 PHS lead.
Genesee’s next series ended in a punt, and Wemhoff found the end zone twice more before intermission. Wemhoff scored again in the third quarter, and the Pirates held the Genesee starters scoreless.
Prairie totaled 340 yards on 35 plays from scrimmage, netting more than nine yards per attempt on Bruner’s rushes — as well as Wemhoff’s — and nearly 14 yards per pass when Bruner threw the ball.
Up next, Prairie (1-0) is set to host Long Pin Conference hopeful Salmon River (1-0) at 7 p.m. The Savages have a 28-20 victory over Colton, Wash., this season, but lost to Prairie 60-6 last year.
Kamiah 46, Pomeroy 0
KAMIAH — Two games into the season, KHS speedster Taylor McAlister has six touchdowns to his credit, having added three to his count during the storm-shortened rout of Pomeroy last Friday night, Sept. 4.
McAlister — who won the Lewiston Tribune’s “athlete of the week” poll for a three-score performance against Oakley — tallied against Pomeroy on runs of 11, 13 and 78 yards.
Bailey Christopherson, Parker Whipple and Caleb Oatman also scored touchdowns before the game gave way to the lightning that flashed out over the fire-struck hills above Kamiah.
Up next, Kamiah (2-0) will host its Whitepine League opener at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 against a Lapwai group that projects to be of the WPL’s most athletic squads.
Lapwai had planned a Zero Week opener against non-league Wallace, but that was postponed due to smoke from the late-August fires. Last year, Kamiah got the better of a game that saw the Kubs and Wildcats combine to score 110 points.
CV 80, Cascade 28
KOOSKIA — The Rams ripped through Cascade’s defense, and Trey Pfefferkorn did much of the ripping with 275 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Isaac James returned the opening kick 80 yards and the Rams led by four scores before Cascade broke through.
Up next, Clearwater Valley (1-0) will play at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Timberline. The Rams have beaten the Weippe team by 48 points the last two seasons. Timberline beat Lewis County 44-16 last week.