Chiawana rolls over Gonzaga Prep 38-3

Tri-City HeraldNovember 22, 2014

Thanks to his super heroics, Austin Urlacher might as well have been wearing a cape Saturday.

With a big ol’ ‘S’ on it.

The senior running back ran through, around, past — and flew over — the Gonzaga Prep defense for 363 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Chiawana Riverhawks to a 38-3 Class 4A state quarterfinal victory at Edgar Brown Stadium.

With the win, Chiawana will play host to Graham-Kapowsin at 1 p.m. next Saturday in the state semifinals.

By then, maybe everyone will have stopped talking about Urlacher’s exploits against the Bullpups.

After one quarter, he had 114 yards rushing. At halftime, he was up to 220. After three quarters, it was 332.

But there was this one play, in the first half, that had everyone talking after the game. Urlacher broke through the line of scrimmage and into the secondary when G-Prep defensive back Cole Berriochoa closed in for a tackle.

Urlacher, however, would have none of that. As Berriochoa went for his legs, Urlacher hurdled him en route to a 36-yard gain.

“I’m just lucky I didn’t get a penalty for that,” said Urlacher. “I’m so used to little safeties going low on me. I’ve always wanted to do that, and it worked.”

Everything did Saturday for the Riverhawks.

“Offensively, that was one of our better games,” admitted Chiawana coach Steve Graff. “I didn’t like the (four) fumbles. But defensively, we’ve played well the whole season. I didn’t know if we’d get 38 points or not. I was hoping that we would not let them get into the end zone. And that happened.”

Indeed. The Chiawana defense made some adjustments, including moving standout linebacker Caleb Weber off the ball back into a spot where a safety might play. It was a move made to deny the G-Prep blockers a chance to seal a wall for their running game.

“The reason we went to that type of defense was (Gonzaga Prep) rushed for 602 yards on us a few years ago up there, and I immediately fired myself as defensive coordinator and named (Don) Hogue the new guy,” said Graff.

Hogue was especially pleased with his front four — Juan Noyola, Christian Penny, Levi McBride and Kannen Jenkins — and how they clogged things up. Prep’s top rusher, Jack Bamis, was held to 13 yards on 10 carries.

“These guys have done that all year,” said Hogue. “I don’t ever expect our defense to keep a team like that out of the end zone. You dream about it. But you don’t expect that when you get to this level of the playoffs.”

Noyola finished with seven tackles. But what he and his front four linemates did clogging things up allowed the linebackers and secondary to come up and make tackles.

Linebacker Nate Murillo had six tackles (including two for losses and a quarterback sack) and a pass breakup; DB Dillon Coonrod added seven tackles and a pass breakup; and DB Josh Wilson had five tackles (one for loss).

“We watched a lot of film this week,” said Murillo. “A lot of film on our own. We’d go in at lunchtime to watch it. We’d watch film after practice. It’s all mental at this point. Like the coaches say, all of the physical stuff is taken care of in the spring.”

But the Riverhawks were plenty physical Saturday.

Urlacher took advantage of some huge holes created by his offensive line. On a 70-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, he was never touched.

“It was a total team effort,” Urlacher said. “(The offensive linemen) worked so hard all week.”

And that has allowed Urlacher to shine.

“He’s a hard runner and he’s slippery,” said Bullpups coach Dave McKenna. “He’s hard to tackle.”

And sometimes, the numbers even amaze the Chiawana senior.

“I never know what I have,” said Urlacher. “And then they announce it (on the public address system). Whenever I hear it, I’m like ‘Woah.’ ”

So is everyone else.

All-Conference Team Selections

2014 Mid Columbia Conference All Conference Selections


Austin Urlacher - Senior - Outstanding Offensive Player
Jake Martin - Senior - Outsanding Lineman
Juan Noyola - Senior - Outstanding Defensive Player

1st Team

Dre Dorton Senior Defensive Back
Isaiah Richie Senior Defensive Back
Juan Noyola Senior Defensive Line
Christian Penny Senior Defensive Line
Jake Martin Senior Offensive Line
Kameron Silvers Junior Offensive Line
Christian Penny Senior Tight End
Dre Dorton Senior Wide Reciever
Austin Urlacher Senior Running Back

Second Team

Levi McBride Junior Defensive Line
Wyatt Mertens Senior Defensive Line
Nate Murillo Senior Linebacker
Caleb Weber Sophomore Linebacker
Bernardo Castillo Senior Offensive Line
Trenton Steach Senior Offensive Line
Dre Dorton Senior Punter
Matt Winn Junior Kicker

Honorable Mention

Dillon Coonrad Senior Defensive Back
Kannen Jenkins Senior Defensive Line
Josh Wilson Junior Linebacker
Isaiah Richie Senior Wide Reciever

 Full List

Chiawana routs Davis in state football playoffs

Tri City Herald Article

The Chiawana Riverhawks put up their usual offensive numbers during their 47-7 shellacking of the Davis Pirates in Saturday’s first-round state football playoff game at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.

They had 478 total offensive yards — 189 of those from star running back Austin Urlacher on the ground. Another 83 yards of rushing came from backup running back Andrew Vargas, and 66 more yards were from three catches by tight end Christian Penny.

Those numbers allow the Riverhawks (10-1) to play host to Gonzaga Prep — a 23-0 winner over Todd Beamer on Saturday — at 1 p.m. next Saturday in the state quarterfinals at Edgar Brown Stadium.

But while Chiawana coach Steve Graff gave a satisfied nod toward those offensive numbers, he really lit up when the subject of defense came up.

“Our front seven did a great job today,” he said. “Defense did a great job.”

Indeed. The high-powered Davis offense, which came into Saturday’s contest averaging 392 yards a game, could only muster 100 yards of total offense for the game.

All week long, Graff had concerns about the Pirates’ skill position players and their high-octane speed.

“It’s just hard to simulate that speed in practice with the scout team,” Graff admitted.

But outside of a 4-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Jose Negrete to Ketner Kupp in the second quarter, the Riverhawks’ D had this one handled from the start.

“We just couldn’t move the ball today,” said Davis coach Rick Clark, whose Pirates completed the most successful season in school history with a 9-2 record. “We got into a situation where we had to try to throw the football, and we made some costly turnovers.”

The biggest one hurt early.

The Riverhawks couldn’t do anything offensively on their first possession. But with 4:28 to play in the first quarter, Urlacher scored a touchdown on a 33-yard run for a 7-0 lead.

Two plays into the Pirates’ next possession — and just 52 seconds after Urlacher had scored — Chiawana got some good pressure on Davis quarterback Elias Moctezuma. Someone knocked the football out of his hand, and Riverhawks linebacker Caleb Weber picked it up and ran it 13 yards into the end zone for a 14-0 lead.

While the Pirates would answer with their lone touchdown late in the second quarter — cutting Chiawana’s lead to 14-7 — it was all Riverhawks the rest of the way.

“Their defensive line was great,” said Moctezuma, who left the game in the second quarter after injuring his ankle. “They got into our backfield almost every single play.”

In fact, while the sophomore Weber led Chiawana defensively with 10 tackles (one for loss) and that fumble return, there were many stars for the Riverhawks on this day:

• Defensive back Dre Dorton, who had six tackles, one for a loss.

• Defensive lineman Juan Noyola, who had 2 1/2 sacks and a QB hurry.

• And Penny, who added five tackles (1 1/2 QB sacks).

“We should get a lot more credit for our defense,” said Dorton, who has verbally committed to Eastern Washington University. “A lot more credit for our defense and special teams.”

Noyola, who does a great job of clogging things up on the line of scrimmage so that guys like Weber and Dorton can come up to make tackles, knows what’s important.

“Our defensive line coach (Robert Booth) says defense wins games,” he said. “And I’ve got to give my coaches credit. They came up with a plan, and after they told me what I needed to do, I went out and did it.”

The halftime score was 21-7 Chiawana. But if anyone thought there would be a Davis rally in the third quarter, those thoughts died fast.

The ’Hawks scored on all three of their offensive series in the third quarter — a 5-yard run by Cortez Ruiz, a 65-yard scamper by Urlacher and an 11-yard Logan Ellsworth-to-Penny strike — for a 40-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.

It was enough to make a believer out of Clark.

“I think to be honest, (Chiawana) has a good shot at going back to the state title game,” said Clark. “The top half of the bracket is loaded with some good teams. That bottom half of the bracket (where Chiawana is) shows they can go straight to it.”

One step at a time, and for the Hawks, the next one is against Gonzaga Prep.

Riverhawks beat LC to advance to state

Tri-City HeraldNovember 7, 2014

The Chiawana Riverhawks took an important — and often overlooked — first step in defense of their 2013 Class 4A state football championship.

They got back to state.

Austin Urlacher ran for 234 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, and the Riverhawks defense made a big statement, too, holding a potentially explosive Lewis and Clark team to just 149 yards from scrimmage in a 24-0 shutout Friday night at Edgar Brown Stadium.

“Any win is a good win,” Chiawana coach Steve Graff said. Especially when you get to this point.

But Graff knows his team will have to be much better against their next opponent, the Davis Pirates, in the first round of the state tournament Saturday at 1 p.m. Despite an injury to their top tailback Lewis Jackson, the Pirates can still do a lot of damage at the skill positions.

One big difference this season, too is the Pirates have some size in the trenches, something that could prevent a major challenge for third-ranked Chiawana.

“Davis is going to create some problems for us defensively,” Graff said. “They’ve always had the skill guys, but they’re much better up front this year.”

Against Lewis and Clark, the Riverhawks proved they can beat a good team when they’re not quite at their best. The Hawks got off to a slow start, going three-and-out on their first drive and then fumbling away a punt return on their own 38.

But the defense bailed them out, as Isaiah Richie, returning from an injury that kept him out the last two games, intercepted Cameron Duncan’s pass in the end zone to get the ball back at the 20.

On the next play from scrimmage, Urlacher burst through a hole between right guard and right tackle and sprinted 76 yards to the Tigers’ 5-yard line. After an illegal motion penalty, Urlacher scored from 9 yards out to put the first points on the board.

Lewis and Clark came out strong in the second quarter, mounting a 12-play drive deep in Chiawana territory. But the drive stalled at the 22, ending with a pair of incompletions by Duncan.

The Riverhawks scored on their next possession, a nine-play, 78-yard drive capped by a 38-yard touchdown pass from Logan Ellsworth to Dre Dorton on fourth-and-5 to put Chiawana up 14-0.

“It’s an all-verts play where we just send everybody deep. They were playing cover three, and their free safety was on the other side of the field,” said Ellsworth, who took less than two seconds to make the proper read.

Graff was pleased with Ellsworth’s touchdown pass but said he still needs improvement spotting the open receiver. On more than one occasion, he missed a wide open man deep downfield.

“He was an all-league linebacker last year. Now he’s our quarterback,” said Graff, cutting him a bit of slack. “He just needs to step it up. But we didn’t protect him that well.”

The Riverhawks got a break when Josh Wilson covered a short kickoff to open the second half, taking advantage of LC’s sleepy coverage, to give Chiawana a short field. Urlacher scored from 25 yards out two plays later to make it 21-0.

Wilson also recovered one of five Tigers’ fumbles on the day.

“Wilson really picked it up on defense,” said Dorton, who caught three passes for 60 yards and also intercepted a pass. “That kickoff was the turning point today.”