Chiawana rises up in 41-0 win over Richland

By Jeff Morrow, Tri-City Herald sports editor

The community came out to support the Graff family and the Chiawana Riverhawks on Friday night at Edgar Brown Stadium.

Before the game, the Richland Bombers, Chiawana’s opponent, hung up a sign in support of Mac Graff — Riverhawks coach Steve Graff’s youngest son — on their side of the field. Bomber coaches even wore shirts saying “Graff Strong.”

But when the game started, Chiawana was back to business in a 41-0 rout of the Bombers.

Riverhawks running back Austin Urlacher rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns to put the game away in the first half.

It ended a long week for the Riverhawks, who learned last Saturday that Mac Graff — a junior starting defensive back — fell while out hunting and suffered a serious back injury.He has been in intensive care since then and has little feeling from the waist down.

“We were playing for our brother Mac out there,” said Urlacher. “Mac would do the same for us.”

Steve Graff looked worn out after the victory. He said he depended on his coaches to put together a game plan and keep the team focused. Most of his staff has been with him for at least 15 years, so it wasn’t a hard task.

“Our coaches do a great job,” said Steve Graff. “I don’t do anything except the paperwork. I got to practice every day this week except for the Sunday meeting.”

Richland players came up to the Riverhawks coach after the game and lined up to hug him.

“The community has been amazing,” said Graff. “So has the Pasco School District. So have the Richland Bombers.”

So have all of the other Mid-Columbia Conference schools. Hanford High’s Leadership Class, for example, raised $1,100 for the Graff’s at the Falcons game against Pasco.

And it was announced during the game that with all of the fundraisers that started three days ago, over $30,000 has been raised for Mac’s medical costs by the community.

As for the game, Chiawana did nothing surprising. The Riverhawks ran their bread-and-butter play, a handoff deep in the backfield to Urlacher. Richland couldn’t stop it.

It’s been that way for years for Graff’s teams since his days at Pasco High and now Chiawana: they tell the defense what they’re running; now try to stop it.

“That’s exactly what it is,” said Urlacher. “Coach Graff and (Richland) Coach Neidhold were joking last week. Coach Neidhold said ‘I know what you’re going to run.’”

The difference?

“We execute it really well,” Graff said.

But as well as the Chiawana offense played, the Riverhawks defense may have been even better.

“We really stepped up,” said Chiawana linebacker Caleb Weber, who had eight tackles, including a quarterback sack. “We knew they had good speed. But we did a lot of film watching this week and came prepared. It was a rough week, and we were just trying to get ready.”

Graff agreed.

“The defense has played really well,” he said with a smile.

Corey Bell added two touchdowns for the Riverhawks on runs of 4 and 72, and Andrew Vargas finished the scoring with a 9-yard run.

“Chiawana is better than we are,” said Neidhold. “They were more physical on the line of scrimmage. They were faster than we were. They were tougher than we were. It was a great night for Chiawana with all of the adversity they went through this week.”

Week2 - Riverhawks Crush Panthers

CHIAWANA 42, WENATCHEE 7: Visiting Chiawana jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back in a nonleague win over Wenatchee.

Austin Urlacher scored the first three TDs — on runs of 33, 1 and 1 yards — then added a 25-yard score later in the game.

He finished with 222 yards rushing.

“It was all the o-line. They’re the reason I got all four (touchdowns),” Urlacher told the Wenatchee World. “You have to give all the credit to them.”

“Urlacher is a stud, he is a flat-out stud,” Panthers head coach Scott Devereaux told the Wenatchee World. “Great vision, tough runner and he has a great o-line in front of him. He got the job done, no doubt about it.”

Isaiah Richie led the Riverhawks receiving corps with four catches for 50 yards.

Chiawana 14 7 14 7 — 42

Wenatchee 0 7 0 0 — 7


C — Austin Urlacher 33 run (Matt Winn kick)

C — Urlacher 1 run (Winn kick)

C — Urlacher 1 run (Winn kick)

W — Killion McGinnis 23 pass from Brandon Graves (Garrett King kick)

C — Isaiah Richie 3 pass from Logan Ellsworth (Winn kick)

C — Urlacher 25 run (Winn kick)

C — Corey Bell 10 run (Winn kick)


RUSHING—C, Urlacher 27-222, Andrew Vargas 6-30, Corey Bell 7-21, Dre Dorton 1-1, Ellsworth 1-(-5), Cortez Ruiz 2-(minus 3). W, Chase Resch 7-33, Joe Sells 8-19, Cory Leenders 3-12, TJ Harris 3-7, Willy Taulango 3-4, Graves 10-(minus 14).

PASSING—C, Ellsworth 6-11-1 68, Dre Dorton 2-2-0 48. W, Graves 11-28-4 101.

RECEIVING—C, Isaiah Richie 4-50, Dillon Coonrad 1-23, Dre Dorton 1-21, Roman Ruiz 1-16, Cortez Ruiz 1-6. W, Chase Resch 2-36, McGinnis 2-28, Gavin Long 2-24, Tony Esquivel 2-7, Willy Taulango 1-6, Joe Sells 1-1, TJ Harris 1-(minus 1).


2014 Preseason AP Poll

2014 Associated Press Preaseason Rankings - CLASS 4A

  1. Bothell (6) 0-0 92
  2. Chiawana (2) 0-0 89
  3. Skyline (1) 0-0 75
  4. Federal Way (1) 0-0 74
  5. Camas (1) 0-0 57
  6. Union 0-0 49
  7. Gonzaga Prep 0-0 49
  8. Graham-Kapowsin 0-0 45
  9. Ferris 0-0 32
  10. Lake Stevens 0-0 18

Others receiving 6 or more points: None.

Riverhawks 15th in MaxPreps Poll

In the preseason computer ranking by MaxPreps the Riverhawks are listed at #15 in the West Region.  See below for the full list:

MaxPreps West Regional Football Computer Rankings

1. (last week 2) Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 1-0, 86
2. (3) St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), 1-0, 83.1
3. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 0-0, 82.3
4. (4) Servite (Anaheim, Calif.), 0-0, 77
5. (5) Folsom (Calif.), 0-0, 74
6. (6) De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), 0-0, 72.7
7. (7) Punahou (Honolulu), 0-0, 69.9
8. (8) Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.), 0-0, 67.1
9. (10) Serra (Gardena, Calif.), 0-0, 64.9
10. (16) Bingham (South Jordan, Utah), 1-0, 64.9
11. (11) JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), 0-0, 64.5
12. (12) Hart (Newhall, Calif.), 0-0, 63.7
13. (13) Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.), 0-0, 63.5
14. (14) Bakersfield (Calif.), 0-0, 63.3
15. (15) Chiawana (Pasco, Wash.), 0-0, 62.5
16. (17) Mission Viejo (Calif.), 0-0, 62.1
17. (18) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.), 0-0, 61.9
18. (24) Timpview (Provo, Utah), 1-0, 61.6
19. (20) Bothell (Wash.), 0-0, 61.6
20. (19) Long Beach Poly (Calif.), 0-0, 61.5
21. (21) St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.), 0-0, 61.2
22. (9) Bellevue (Wash.), 0-0, 61
23. (22) Upland (Calif.), 0-0, 60.7
24. (23) Centennial (Corona, Calif.), 0-0, 59.8
25. (25) Lynden (Wash.), 0-0, 58.9

Chiawana football has plenty of new faces - TC Herald

These aren’t going to be the Chiawana Riverhawks of 2013.

If you think that’s bad news for the defending Class 4A state football champions, think again.

Despite the graduation of 13 senior starters, the Riverhawks have all the ingredients — an experienced line on both sides of the ball, talent at the skill positions and strong special teams — for another deep playoff run.

But they’re certainly not about to make any November hotel reservations in Tacoma.

“Our team isn’t the state champions yet. We still have to prove that,” senior running back Austin Urlacher said. “I think we put in enough (off season) work. It gets pretty routine, but it’s exciting to know we have something to look forward to.”

Chiawana started fall practice Wednesday, and Riverhawks coach Steve Graff has been pleased so far with the way his team has handled itself on and off the field. The WIAA has instituted some new practice guidelines for high school football — players must go three days without pads and have no less than four days of contact before taking part in a scrimmage — that makes his life a little tougher in general.

But overall, he’s pretty happy to be back on the field.

“It’s all a vacation. Every day is a Saturday,” Graff said after Thursday’s practice at Chiawana High School. “We did a good job for the most part. We don’t have as many seniors as last year, but the ones we have did a good job meshing together with the juniors and the few sophomores we have playing.”

The Riverhawks will return a strong core of skill players that includes senior Dre Dorton, a first-team All-Mid-Columbia Conference wide receiver and kick returner; senior running back Austin Urlacher, a second-team All-MCC pick despite a season-ending injury at midseason; and tight end Christian Penny.

But the trenches will also be filled with seasoned veterans — offensive linemen Jake Martin and Trenton Steach as well as defensive linemen Penny and Juan Noyola — all of whom played key roles in Chiawana’s state title run in 2013.

But some of the new faces might be the ones making a big difference this season.

Logan Ellsworth isn’t exactly a new face. The 6-foot senior was an All-MCC punter and linebacker last year, but will take over at quarterback in 2014.

“He was our backup (QB) last year before he tore his ACL. He’s looking pretty good. He has a good arm and can run, too, when we need it,” Dorton said. “He was our freshman-year quarterback, and we always run 7-on-7, so we have that timing with him.”

Another big contributor could be Caleb Weber, a sophomore middle linebacker who will take over for his brother, Alex, who accepted a football scholarship to University of Pennsylvania.

The Riverhawks are preparing for their first game Friday, Sept. 5, when they will make the trek down the Columbia River to face Camas, the same team they defeated 27-26 in the Class 4A championship game.

“(Chiawana athletic director John) Cazier asked me if we wanted to play them, and I said sure,” Graff said. “We wanted them to come here first, but it didn’t work out that way.”

Because of the way the Riverhawks won the game — overcoming a 13-point deficit over the final 55 seconds — the Papermakers may not be too happy to see them.

“They’re obviously going to have a chip on their shoulder,” Graff said. “We’re going to get everybody’s best game regardless.”