BY JEFF MORROW
SPECIAL TO THE HERALD
SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 1:25 AM
Two weeks after Chiawana lost a double-overtime heartbreaker to Kamiakin, things are back on track for the Riverhawks.
A 26-7 win at Hanford last week was followed up by a 41-10 thrashing of Kennewick on Friday night at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.
It was a business-like performance, as Chiawana spotted the Lions a 3-0 lead before pounding away and consistently putting points on the board.
“It didn’t start out well,” said Chiawana coach Steve Graff, whose team is 4-1 overall and 2-1 in Mid-Columbia Conference play. “Then it was great because we got back to what we do best.”
That’s pounding the running game.
Ethan Garcia carried the football 18 times for 137 yards rushing with one touchdown, while teammate Tayden Jenkins added 17 carries for 99 yards and three TD runs.
Both running backs benefited from tremendous holes blown open in the middle of the field by the Riverhawks standout offensive line. At times, both Garcia and Jenkins wouldn’t even have a defensive hand on them until they were 7 yards upfield.
“Honestly, the holes were so big, our coaches could have walked through them,” said Jenkins. “Honestly, Coach Graff could have walked through them.”
Kennewick coach Bill Templeton wasn’t surprised. The Riverhawks have one of the better offensive lines in the state.
“We’re young up front and we were battling,” said Templeton. “But we’re not going to push their big boys around.”
The Lions jumped out with a 3-0 lead on the game’s first possession, as Emilio Ramos kicked a 26-yard field goal.
And it took the Chiawana offensive unit a little bit to get going. After a 3-and-out opening possession, the Riverhawks scored on their next four series — a Jenkins 7-yard run; a 10-yard Enoch Vargas to Josiah Richardson pass; a 17-yard Jenkins run; and a 1-yard Garcia run.
Sandwiched in between was a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Cedric Riel for the Lions.
But defensively, Chiawana was pretty stout, only giving up the field goal and just 147 yards to the Lions.
“We learned from our mistakes (against Kamiakin),” said Chiawana defensive back Jose Cruz, who led the Riverhawks with four tackles in the first half. “Once we saw that fly sweep Kennewick was running, we moved some guys around and started making some stops.”
Templeton was a bit more satisfied with his Lions’ effort after Friday’s game compared to his team’s 20-3 loss to Walla Walla last week.
“Last week was a gut shot,” he said. “But this week, I’m very pleased with our coaches and players. We had a couple of heart-to-hearts, and the seniors came together. We had some opportunities in the first half.”
Meanwhile, Chiawana is already planning its next business trip: an 8 p.m. contest at Lampson Stadium next Friday against Southridge.
“I told the kids after the game that it’s time to get back to work next week,” he said.
NOTES: Kennewick (1-4 overall, 0-3 MCC) will host Hanford at 5 p.m. next Friday as the first half of the Lampson Stadium doubleheader. ... DL AJ Vongphachanh led the Riverhawks defensively with 6 tackles (2 for loss) and 1.5 QB sacks; LB Conrad Moore added 5 tackles (1 for loss) and a QB sack; and DB Tavin Blair had 4 tackles (1 for loss) and a half QB sack. ... Kennewick DE Moses McAninch led the Lions with 6 tackles (1 for loss), a QB sack and a forced fumble. DB Kyle Benton added 5 tackles. ... Lions RB JJ Rodriguez rushed for 50 yards.