Two years ago, Wallowa won a first-round home game over Triad, 58-20.
Saturday, Wallowa hit the road against Triad for the rematch, but this time, the Timberwolves took down the Cougars, 28-6, in the Class 1A quarterfinals at Klamath Union High School.
“We knew that Wallowa was a really, really good team,” Triad head coach Mike Homfeldt said. “Our kids had to be more physical (Saturday) than they have in the past, and they really responded.”
The victory sends the Timberwolves (10-1 overall) to the semifinals, while bringing an end to Wallowa’s (8-3) season in the quarterfinals for the third time in four years.
The contest put two of the most powerful offenses in the state against each other.
But in what became more of a defensive battle it was Triad, the No. 1-ranked team in 1A, that got going early.
Triad running backs Eli Builta and Jesse Wolff strung together a handful of big runs to enter Cougar territory on the opening drive.
From there, senior quarterback Isaac Franklin ran the read option, made a few defenders miss, and then burst to the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown and a quick 6-0 lead.
The Timberwolves struck again later in the quarter. Senior tight end Pete Drost caught a pass over the middle in stride and took it to the house for a 48-yard touchdown. Drost caught the two-point conversion, and just like that, Triad had a 14-0 advantage.
Then on the ensuing Wallowa possession, Drost broke on an out-route and intercepted the pass.
Wallowa stopped Triad, and put together a solid drive, converting twice on fourth down.
But on the Cougars third attempted fourth down conversion, Drost sniffed out a fake punt pass and picked it off to keep Wallowa scoreless at the half.
Wallowa finally got on the scoreboard on a 1-yard run by Austin Brockamp to open the third quarter, but Triad’s defense held on the conversion, keeping the score at 14-6.
Triad answered with a Wolff touchdown run on third-and-14, and added the conversion to go up, 22-6.
Wallowa broke off a huge run to the red zone, but Ethan Roe picked off a on the Triad three-yard line to quell the drive.
Builta added a 1-yard score in the fourth for the final margin.
The Cougars, who had little issue moving the ball all season, were stymied all afternoon. Wallowa entered averaging 58.6 points and 496.1 yards per game, but ended with 191 yards on 50 carries and 229 total yards offense. The total yardage was a season low, and only one team, Adrian, had held the Cougars to fewer yards on the ground. The team’s three turnovers matched a season-high.
Observer reporter Ronald Bond contributed to this report.