TROY — Lapwai and quarterback Titus Yearout were probably feeling a little cooped up, being the only Whitepine League Division I team entering Friday to not yet have played a game.
“Our season got postponed a couple of weeks,” Yearout said. “We’d been waiting so long.”
So during their road contest at Troy, the Wildcats and their star field general let loose, shooting out of a cannon offensively and flying around on defense to capture the momentum immediately, then eventually cruise to a 50-6 WPL victory against the Trojans.
“It felt good being back,” the junior signal-caller grinned.
Yearout lit up the stat sheet, posting spectacular running plays of 70, 60 and 50 yards, and thriving on a backyard-football type of open offense to tally 536 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns.
“Spreading the field out to give him open lanes and options,” Lapwai coach Josh Leighton said. “Using his abilities and skills, it’s just always up the field.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder ripped off a 14-yard juke-and-go scoring run on his first attempt — the Wildcats’ second play from scrimmage. He scurried for 30 yards to open the ensuing drive, then placed a perfect 19-yard ball on Kross Taylor’s numbers for another quick 6.
Lapwai’s agile offense showed clear confidence and pyrotechnics, and was rolling right away in its opener.
“We were going to the field, running routes, even when we were off,” said Yearout, who rushed for 269 yards on 17 attempts (15.8 average). “These guys take it serious. They’re out there busting their butts, in the weight room, and it showed on the field.”
In the first half especially, Troy (1-2, 1-1 in league) was plagued by high snaps, giving way to a stout Wildcat rush that totaled 11 tackles for loss against Troy’s two. The Wildcats outgained the Trojans 587-156.
“They were pressuring ’em up good,” Yearout said.
Sage Lone Bear — a 6-foot-3, 250-pound freshman — defensive end Christian Brown, tackle AJ Ellenwood and linebacker Mason Brown were in the backfield often in Lapwai’s pressure-heavy system.
“We just had all these weeks to prepare for our first opponent,” said Leighton, whose team keyed in on Troy tendencies like screens and draws.
The Trojans went 3-and-out on each of their first three series — after the third, Yearout made it 20-0 with a 55-yard bomb to Taylor, following it up with a spin up the middle for a short touchdown run.
Yearout, a two-time All-State basketball point guard, created offense by keeping plays alive with his legs, and could either jolt ahead for a chunk gain, or stick a foot in the turf, find some balance and fling an on-target ball to one of many athletic skill players.
“There’s a lot of similarities (between point guard and quarterback),” Yearout said. “When it comes to passing, running and reading stuff, it’s basically the same, except you get to hit people in football.”
Receivers Terrell Ellenwood-Jones and Kross Taylor each logged more than 80 yards and two touchdowns, rookie Mason Brown hauled in four grabs for 76 yards, and Yearout went 12-for-18 for 267 yards and four scores, with no picks.
Ellenwood-Jones’ 62-yard touchdown reception on a tough, over-the-shoulder catch put the icing on top at the 4:16 mark.
“A lot of basketball players, but they’re learning to be football players,” Leighton said. “Seeing what we’re coming back with, it’s pretty exciting.”
Quarterback Darrick Baier prevented a Troy goose egg with a 21-yard dart outside for a score in the fourth. Baier chalked up 136 passing yards on 9-for-19.
Elijah Phillis contributed 87 yards rushing, and had a contested 45-yard reception.
Troy found itself in the red zone twice in the first half, but a high snap-fumble — recovered by Lapwai’s Jalisco Miles — and miscommunication on an under-center snap on fourth-and-goal were costly.
“We’re young and we just gotta keep building,” Troy coach Bobby Wilson said. “We’re trying to build up this program, and it’s the simple things — blocking and tackling — and we had a tough time with that.”
NOTE — The game was originally scheduled to be played at Lapwai, but was moved to Troy just hours before kickoff because of smokey air conditions
Lapwai 20 12 12 6—50
Troy 0 0 0 6—6
Lapwai — Titus Yearout 14 run (Yearout run).
Lapwai — Kross Taylor 19 pass from Yearout (pass failed).
Lapwai — Yearout 2 run (run failed).
Lapwai — Yearout 60 run (pass failed).
Lapwai — Terrell Ellenwood-Jones 3 pass from Yearout (run failed).
Lapwai — Taylor 16 pass from Yearout (run failed).
Lapwai — Yearout 3 run (pass failed).
Troy — Baier 21 run (pass failed).
Lapwai — Ellenwood-Jones 62 pass from Yearout (pass failed).
Rushing — Lapwai: Yearout 17-269, Mason Brown 6-51. Troy: Elijah Phillis 13-87, Baier 14-36.
Passing — Lapwai: Yearout 12-18-0—267. Troy: Baier 9-19-0—136.
Receiving — Lapwai: Ellenwood-Jones 4-89, Taylor 3-83, Mason Brown 4-76 Ahlius Yearout 1-19. Troy: McCully 2-49, Rider Patrick 3-46, Phillis 1-18, Chandler Blazzard 2-16, Landen Buchanan 1-7, Boden DeMeerler 1-2.
Clark may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @ClarkTrib or by phone at (208) 848-2260.