Prosser vs. Ellensburg

Prosser vs. Ellensburg Quarter Finals 2011

Tri-City Herald -

Prosser rides Magana in second half to 21-14 win

Jack Millikin, Herald staff writer

ELLENSBURG -- Diego Magana can give Mother Nature an assist for giving him a chance to play during Prosser's snowy 2A quarterfinal matchup against Ellensburg on Saturday at Tomlinson Stadium. The Mustangs' backup running back certainly made the most of his opportunity to play during his team's 21-14 win that landed Prosser in the state semifinals for the fifth time since 2005.

Magana took over for starter Isaac Anderson in the second half and rolled up 105 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, allowing the Mustangs to build offensive momentum after the conditions affected their precision passing game. "I wanted to play. I was getting tired of sitting on the sideline," Magana said. "I couldn't go out there by myself, though. We needed the whole team to win."

The No. 3 Mustangs (11-1) will play host to No. 4 Archbishop Murphy (11-1) either Friday or Saturday for a shot at the 2A championship game. Prosser athletic director Casey Gant said he requested Lampson Stadium as the home field but has to await the final pairings by the WIAA.

"We worked on a plan all week, and then you come out here and get dealt something different. We started looking at our personnel and the play sheet and found out that Diego was the guy to go with today," said Prosser coach Benji Sonnichsen, who is making his first trip to the semis in his third year as head coach.

"It wasn't so much the conditions as much as his style of running. He's more of a north-south runner, and with the slippery ground our offensive line could only hold the blocks for so long."

Magana wasn't the only one who took advantage of opportunity. The Mustangs defense forced four turnovers and slowed the Bulldogs' momentum in the second half. Two of those turnovers came in the final 2:40 of the third quarter and resulted in a pair of touchdowns that allowed Prosser to grab the lead for good.

"One thing we tried to do was get the ball on the ground," said Anderson, who intercepted a Matt Bennett pass at the Ellensburg 40-yard line with 2:40 left in the third quarter and then capped a five-play Mustangs drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fassler to tie the game at 14.

The turning point came on the ensuing kickoff, when Bulldogs senior J Foley tried unsucessfully to field a squib kick by Abi Fajardo at the 16-yard line. Mustangs junior Harley Hall fell on the ball with 36 seconds left in the third quarter. Magana powered up the middle for a 15-yard score on the very next play to put Prosser up 21-14.

"Diego did great. I was so impressed with him. On the sideline he told me, 'You block and I'll run,' and that's what we did," said senior lineman Enzo Hurtado, who sealed the victory with an interception -- Bennett's third of the day -- inside the Ellensburg 20 with 1:42 left in the game.

Prosser trailed 6-0 before finally getting on the board just before the end of the half when Fassler connected with Danny Raap on a beautifully-timed 8-yard fade in the right corner of the end zone to make it 7-6.

"That was huge. It gave us a bunch of confidence that we could drive and move the ball in the snow," said Fassler, who completed 9 of 18 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

"That was an option route, either a back shoulder throw or a fade, but we got on the same page. .We worked on that play every day in practice."

Prosser 21, Ellensburg 14

Prosser 0 7 14 0 -- 21

Ellensburg 0 6 7 0 -- 14


E--Matt Bennett 40 run (kick failed)

P--Danny Raap 8 pass from Ryan Fassler (Abi Fajardo kick)

E--Damien Roseberry 10 run (Patrick Smyth pass from Bennett)

P--Isaac Anderson 15 pass from Fassler (Fajardo kick)

P--Diego Magana 12 run (Fajardo kick)


RUSHING--P, Magana 16-105, Anderson 10-42, Fassler 5-3, Joey Hurtado 2-4, team 3-(minus 3). E, Bennett 15-112, Jay Foley 7-19, Roseberry 5-22, Austin Lyman 3-0.

PASSING--P, Fassler 9-18-1-82. E, Bennett 5-16-3-74.

RECEIVING--P, Wyatt Baker 3-19, Anderson 2-12, Sterling Clark 1-23, Josh Lopez 1-11, Bubba Frank 1-9, Raap 1-8. E, Kody Graham 2-23, Roseberry 3-51.

FIRST DOWNS--P 21, E 14 FUMBLES-LOST--P 3-1, E 1-1. PENALTIES-YARDS--P 6-35, E 7-44.

Yakima Herald -

Prep football: Prosser takes care of snow business

November 20, 2011 by Scott Spruill  

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — With a versatile offense that can be tweaked in so many ways to meet certain needs, Prosser coach Benji Sonnichsen spent all week devising a plan for Saturday’s state quarterfinal clash with Ellensburg.

But he was worried about the wildcard — snow.

And snow it did.

“You work all week on a plan and it felt like the whole thing got tossed out the window,” he said. “Next thing you know, you’re calling stuff from the hip.” It was a day for quick decisions on the snow-swept grass at Tomlinson Stadium, and the Mustangs made their best one at halftime as Diego Magana came off the bench to rush for 105 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in a 21-14 grind-it-out victory. Magana, a senior who is third behind Isaac Anderson and Joey Hurtado in carries and yards this season, broke a 14-14 tie with a 12-yard scoring sweep with 23 seconds left in the third quarter — a play set up by Harley Hall’s recovery of a kickoff fumble.

With the lead, Sonnichsen then turned over the game to his offensive line and Magana, who had eight carries in the final period with a 32-yard gain that helped pin Ellensburg back the rest of the way. “Really, 100 yards, are you serious?,” Magana asked when his 105-yard, 16-carry total was revealed. “When they told me at halftime I was going in, I was ready to play and I was excited. We tried to make it simple — if the line does their job and I do my job then we grind out a win.”

Running backs coach Mark Little watched Anderson, his three-year starter, struggle with making cuts on the slippery turf in the first half and felt Magana’s straight-forward approach was better suited to the conditions.

“It was Coach Little’s call, and it was something we were both thinking about,” Sonnichsen said. “Diego is a more north-south runner and with this field and the way things were going, it was in our best interest just to go right at them. He did a great job running and holding on to the ball.”

Anderson, a two-way all-league starter, was limited to 37 yards on 11 carries in the first half. But he made two huge momentum-swinging plays in the third quarter that set off a two-touchdown blitz covering just 15 seconds. With the Mustangs trailing 14-7, Anderson’s interception on Ellensburg’s 30 set up the tying score — a 15-yard touchdown reception he made from Ryan Fassler with 38 seconds left in the period. Prosser’s kickoff was fumbled — the Bulldogs’ third of four turnovers — and Hall pounced on the loose ball, leading to Magana’s go-ahead score moments later.

As for Anderson, there were no hurt feelings watching Magana take over in the second half. “That was a really good idea putting Diego in,” he said. “I’m used to cutting and making people miss and I didn’t get used to the field. Diego went in there and took the load. That’s good for us.”

Total yardage was nearly the same — Prosser 234, Ellensburg 231 — but the turnovers were too much for the Bulldogs to overcome. “We didn’t back down and we played a tough, hard-nosed game. You can’t ask for more than that,” said Ellensburg coach Randy Affholter, whose team finished 9-4 with wins last week over Cheney and Deer Park. “We kind of crashed the playoff party — nobody thought we’d make it this far.”

Prosser (11-1) will take an 11-game win streak into the Class 2A state semifinals next week against Archbishop Murphy (11-1), which humbled Othello 34-0 on Saturday. Prosser is in the bottom half of the bracket and has requested Lampson Stadium as the site but the WIAA will determine the place and day on Monday.

“We get another week together,” Sonnichsen said. “We told the kids to be patient in this weather. It’s a different game now and it’s changing some of the things we want to do offensively. We stuck together and got it done.”

Yakima Herald -

Fassler ignores elements, helps lift Mustangs

November 20, 2011 by Roger Underwood  

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Before the turf at Eastern Washington University’s Roos Field was red, it was white. Sometimes it was, at least, including Nov. 10, 1995, when Prosser opposed Cheney in a first-round Class AA state playoff game.

“The main thing I remember about it, other than we won, is that Matt Hoefer had four interceptions,” Benji Sonnichsen, a Mustang then and Prosser’s head coach now, said Saturday after his team had navigated the snowy surface of Tomlinson Stadium for a 21-14 quarterfinal victory over Ellensburg. So there wasn’t much he could offer in the way of advice to quarterback Ryan Fassler before this showdown of CWAC rivals.

“No kidding,” Sonnichsen said. “We were calling stuff from the hip.” Fortunately for Prosser, Fassler didn’t shoot from there. And on a day of understandably modest aerial numbers, the junior delivered two absolutely spot-on throws that loomed large in the drastically dialed-down offensive scheme of things.

Nothing, you see, came easily on this day on this field, which 24 hours earlier had been plowed free of the white stuff, according to E-burg athletic director Eric Davis. Game time Saturday saw a fresh coating, however, making not only throwing the ball an unexpected challenge, but catching it, too. There was also the matter of starting, stopping, cutting, or making any abrupt physical move connected to one’s feet. “Ryan came to us at halftime,” Sonnichsen said, “and said he preferred staying in the pocket to rolling out.”

Said Fassler, “Stopping and then planting to throw was tough.” As a result, this game had a 14-13 feel to it well into the second half, and the Bulldogs’ chances of reversing their 32-28 regular-season loss at Prosser seemed clearly enhanced.

Especially when Matt Bennett, Ellensburg’s fleet-footed QB, scampered 40 yards for a 6-0 lead with 4:57 left in the first half. Back came the Mustangs, however, moving to a first-and-goal at the 8 yard line with nine seconds before intermission. Fassler took the snap from center, looked to his right and saw fellow junior Danny Raap headed for the corner of the end zone.

Despite blanket-tight coverage by Bennett, Fassler found his receiver in stride, and the ensuing PAT gave Prosser a 7-6 lead. “I knew right where he was going. We rep that route a lot every week in practice,” said Fassler, who threw the ball as if it were just another rep in practice.

Late in the third period, the Mustangs found themselves down 14-7. But an interception by Isaac Anderson gave Prosser possession at the Bulldogs 30, and four plays later Fassler drifted to his left and found the senior running back in the end zone for the tying score. Again, Bennett was in very tight coverage. But again, Fassler was right on the money.

And with their quarterback executing as if he were on a dry practice track in August, the Mustangs had capitalized on exactly the break that would send them toward victory. “That’s just a little leak route where he waits and then comes out of the backfield,” Fassler said.

By this time the game was over, the sun was out and Fassler was savoring the moment with family and friends. His smile reflected probably the best 82-yard passing day — Fassler finished 7 for 16 with one interception — a quarterback could have. “We always talk about turnovers, about how they can turn a game around and give the other team momentum,” Fassler said. “We try to always be secure with the ball. We always try to make good decisions.”

Easier said than done, of course, especially in the heat of postseason battle on an icy playing surface. Best win of his career?

“Definitely, definitely, definitely,” Fassler said, sounding as if he had warmed to the task on a frigid afternoon. “And who knows, it might even be snowing next week (when the Mustangs meet Archbishop Murphy in the semis). I guess as long as we’re still playing, it doesn’t really matter.”