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Central Washington got a rare regular season test Saturday from Washington in Seattle, and the Huskies actually led the Wildcats 8-7 at halftime. UW’s defense was more organized than most of the teams CWU’s faced so far in NCRC play, and the Wildcats struggled to adjust early on, though they exploded once they did, winning 42-8.

“We’ve kind of been playing in games where it was one phase, two phase and try, so it was playing with that expectation that it’s going to come right back,” said CWU coach Tony Pacheco.

“It’s not a good thing against a good side like UW. They make you earn it. Just a little bit of patience, playing more phases, and having the opportunities come off that.”

Central Washington had plenty of chances to score in the first half, but self-inflicted mistakes would make them pay, like an interception thrown inside the attacking five meters that Washington ran all the way back for a try.

“It wasn’t for lack of opportunities. We had tons of them, but we left them begging and then we drove five meters out, we throw a pretty poor pass, it gets intercepted and goes the other way,” said Pacheco.

“We had a lot of possession in the first half, we just didn’t finish off opportunities. UW did a good job in scramble defense, especially on line breaks. They covered our line breaks really well and were able to disrupt that tackle contest.”

Central’s now 8-0 in the NCRC, having scored almost 600 points while conceding less than 100. The Wildcats’ end-goal is a deep run in the Varsity Cup, and games like Saturday’s, where they’re pushed to the limit, will pay off in the long run.

“It was really good for us. Credit to the Huskies. They’re a really good side,” said Pacheco. “They’ve got physical forwards, really good hard-running centers, and they’re really committed to what they’re trying to do.”

Wing Josh Bower and No. 8 Aladdin Schirmer were outstanding for CWU on the day, both dotting down tries.