Urlacher a running machine in 31-14 win over Kamiakin

Tri-City HeraldOctober 3, 2014

Chiawana running back Austin Urlacher put on a show so mesmerizing Friday night, he was given credit by the public address announcer at Edgar Brown Stadium for throwing a touchdown pass.

Sorry about that, Logan Ellsworth. You eventually got credit for it, but no one could blame the PA announcer either.

Urlacher carried the football 26 times for 303 yards and three touchdowns to lead the host Riverhawks over Kamiakin 31-14 in a key Mid-Columbia Conference football game.

“He’s a hell of a running back,” Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin said. “He’s just a tough guy, and he’s strong.”

Chiawana coach Steve Graff said the key for Urlacher, a senior, is simple.

“He runs hard,” Graff said. “He has great balance. His forward lean is so good.”

And because of that lean, Kamiakin tacklers had a tough time wrapping him up on first contact. Urlacher was so good at breaking tackles, that at least half of his yards might be attributed to after he breaking those tackles.

“I like my balance and vision,” said Urlacher when asked about his attributes. “And experience.”

Urlacher was part of a 1-2 running punch that last year’s 4A state champions had, as he shared the carries with then-senior Clifton Lozano.

The comparisons between this year’s team and last year’s are starting to come.

“I think in some areas we are stronger than we were last year,” said Urlacher. “But we’re not state champs (this year) and we still have a lot of work to do.”

Urlacher missed last week’s game against Southridge (a 40-0 verdict) because of a bruised shin suffered the week before in a win over Richland. Even by missing a week, Urlacher felt out of shape on Friday.

His first carry went for 29 yards. He had four more carries on that first offensive possession, including two 10-yard runs — the latter scoring the game’s first touchdown.

But on the team’s next series, the referee forced him off the field.

“I was throwing up out there,” Urlacher said. “I thought I’d be OK, but then I did it again. He said to me ‘You gotta go.’ A lot of it had to do with nerves. But missing a week didn’t help.”

He felt out of shape. Hard to believe for a guy who put together enough offensive yards to make most team’s total offensive outputs seem paltry.

After Urlacher scored the 10-yard TD run, he added a 74-yard scoring romp in the second quarter, and then a 53-yarder in the third.

The Riverhawks defense had another strong game, giving up just two scores — one a 38-yard Tyson Patten to Jace Naveras TD pass. But for the most part, the Braves were out of this game by halftime.

“Throughout this week we put in a lot of preparation for them,” said Chiawana defensive lineman Christian Penny, who had six tackles.

For Kamiakin, Biglin says his team better be ready to bounce back next week.

“We’ve got to compete,” said Biglin. “They flat-out came out at us. We have to bounce back. If you don’t come back you’re not much of a team. We just have to look forward and get better.”

Meanwhile, the Riverhawks don’t plan on letting up.

“There are no off days,” said Penny. “Every day is a focus day.”

Jeff Morrow: 509-582-1508; ; Twitter: @morrow_jeff

Chiawana Rises to #4

The Chiawana High School football team continues its climb in The Associated Press state rankings.

The Riverhawks, who beat Southridge 40-0 on Thursday night, have risen two spots to No. 4 in the new poll, released Wednesday.

Chiawana started the season at No. 2, but a season-opening loss to Camas sent it tumbling to No. 7. The Riverhawks inched up to No. 6 last week after defeating Richland 41-0.

The Riverhawks face Kamiakin on Friday night at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.

Class 4A

1. Bothell (12) 4-0 156

2. Camas (4) 4-0 145

3. Union 4-0 124

4. Chiawana 3-1 104

5. Gonzaga Prep 4-0 101

6. Kentwood 4-0 75

7. Skyline 3-1 62

8. Lake Stevens 3-1 46

9. Graham-Kapowsin 3-1 26

10. Skyview 3-1 11

(tie)Woodinville 3-1 11

Others receiving 6 or more points: None

Chiawana football routs Southridge

Tri-City HeraldSeptember 25, 2014

The Chiawana Riverhawks weren’t about to have a letdown Thursday night, especially after their emotional 41-0 victory last Friday over Richland.

And it didn’t matter if star running back Austin Urlacher didn’t suit up, as the visiting Riverhawks still routed the Southridge Suns 40-0 in a Mid-Columbia Conference football game at Lampson Stadium.

“(Urlacher) had a bad bruise on his shin from last week’s game,” said Chiawana coach Steve Graff. “And we might have lost Corey Bell. He hurt his knee on a punt return.”

The Riverhawks were coming off the victory last week after Graff’s son, Mac, had been injured in a hunting accident.

But even without Urlacher playing, Chiawana didn’t suffer any type of emotional letdown.

“We had some backups that we knew would step up,” said Riverhawks senior Dre Dorton.

It enabled Graff and his coaches to work on some other aspects of the offensive game — namely passing.

“We really did not know until (Wednesday) that Urlacher wasn’t playing,” said

Chiawana quarterback Logan Ellsworth. “We knew we had to throw the ball a little more”

Ellsworth finished with 156 yards passing, with his biggest play a 74-yard TD play to Isaiah Richie.

And while it may have took the Riverhawks (3-0 MCC, 3-1 overall) a while to get going offensively, the team was running on all cylinders by the second quarter.

Matt Winn opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 33-yard field goal, and then Ellsworth connected with Cortez Ruiz on a 13-yard TD pass for a 10-0 lead.

Bell added a rushing touchdown, while Andrew Vargas had two more.

But as good as the Chiawana offense looked, the Riverhawks defense was even better, earning its second consecutive shutout.

“We know our defense has been playing really well,” said Graff.

Southridge coach Tony Reiboldt was impressed.

“That’s the best front seven we’ve faced in our four games this season,” Reiboldt said.

Chiawana held Southridge to minus-2 yards of rushing.

“We’re thinking about getting better on offense,” said Reiboldt. “On offense, it starts with protection, and we can’t sustain a block right now.”

Neither team is satisfied though.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” said Dorton.

Graff Family Says Thanks For Your Support!

The Graff family has asked the Pasco School District to share the following message:

"We would like to extend our hearfelt thanks to the countless friends, family, and people we have not even met, for their incredible support of Mac and our family. We cannot express how much we appreciate the encouragement we have received from people throughout the Tri-Cities and around the northwest.

We are also incredibly grateful to the Chiawana staff and students, Pasco School District and the athletic community in the area and around the state who have overwhelmed us with love and support.

We also want to thank everyone associated with Mac's care, including the first responders, along with the doctors, nurses and everyone at Kadlec who has provided such loving and compassionate care.

We thank you for your thoughts and prayers as we focus our attention on Mac's recovery. Go Riverhawks!"

- The Graff Family

Community Support For Mac

In response to many asking if there is a way to make financial contributions, we have set up two ways to do so. Donations will be accepted at any US Bank to the Mac Graff Medical Fund.

In addition, donations may be made online to the Mac Graff Medical Fund through GoFundMe.

Click on the link to donate and feel free to share this link.