Chiawana opens strong with win over Hanford

Chiawana opens strong with win over Hanford

By Jack Millikin, Herald staff writer

PASCO -- A thunderous roar poured from the east locker room at Edgar Brown Stadium following the Chiawana Riverhawks' 46-14 win over the Hanford Falcons.

It came from the Riverhawks' players, who screamed at the top of their lungs in celebration and banged on the poor defenseless lockers within.

It's hard to believe this was the same team that fought its way through nine games in 2009 with barely enough players to field a full squad and scarcely enough gas to do it.

This was a different team all right.

"We've been waiting a whole year for that," said Miquayah Zamora, Chiawana's shutdown cornerback who accounted for two touchdowns, including a back-breaking interception return for a touchdown to cap the first-quarter scoring.

"We just wanted to come out and say, 'We're here. We're ready to play,' " he said.

Jordan Downing said as much on Chiawana's first series taking a handoff up the middle, right into the heart of the Falcons' defense, on the game's first play for 13 yards and a first down.

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2010 Football Camp Underway!

The official countdown to the 2010 football season is underway!  The team is practicing at Chiawana Practice Field during the mornings and head out to Hanford High School in the evening for 7 on 7 and light scrimmages with other area schools.

Coach Steve Graff and the boys have dusted off the shoulder pads, shined up the helmets and are getting ready for the 2nd season of Riverhawk Football!

Senior QB Luc Graff leads this still young Riverhawk team which on paper looks as talented as any with the likes of Miquiyah Zamora, CJ Edrington, Jordan Downing, Nick Mackay, and Nick Vincent.luc_graff_cutout_09

There are plenty of more names where that comes from and this Chiawana team heads into 4A play in the fall.  Stay tuned!

2009 All-Big Nine Cascade Division

1st Team:

Nick Vincent - Linebacker


2nd Team:

Pat Sullivan - Offensive Line


Honarable Mention:

CJ Edrington - Wide Receiver
Jordan Downing - Running Back

Chiawana Football Coach Has Familiar Look

Chiawana's new football coach has a familiar look

After spending 21 seasons building a football powerhouse at Pasco High School, Steve Graff is tackling a new challenge this fall. Graff is now the head football coach at Chiawana, a brand new Class 4A school in Pasco that is opening this fall. The Chiawana Riverhawks will be made up of only freshmen, sophomores and juniors this school year yet will compete at the varsity level in the tough Big Nine Conference.

Graff, who spent the past 11 years as Pasco’s head coach after 10 as an assistant and won state championships in 1998, 2000 and 2003, spoke with about the big change and new challenge in his life.

Here is what Graff had to say:

Coachesaid:  Why did you decide to coach at Chiawana after 21 seasons at Pasco?

My children are in that (Chiawana) boundary. And I will have a kid that’s a junior who will play out there. And what an opportunity to get to have brand new everything and start a program from scratch. Usually a coach who changes jobs has to change cities and move out of the house. It (Chiawana) is actually within a half mile of my house.

Coachesaid:  At this point in your career, how do you feel about starting fresh?

It’ll be nice having all new stuff. I’ll have a chair with four wheels (laughs)! I enjoyed my time at Pasco High School. We were very successful there. At this point, too, a change revives you a little bit and gets you excited about the thing again. You try some different things and start some new traditions out there.

Coachesaid:  How far apart are the two schools?

I’d say six miles. Pasco is on the east end of town. Chiawana is on the west end of town. If you haven’t been to Pasco in a while, the whole north end of Pasco has just boomed. We were just too big there at Pasco (High School).

Coachesaid:  Without a senior class, will your football team be able to compete in the Big Nine Conference?

Well, it’s going to be tough. We left a really good group of seniors there. We felt if we would have stayed there, this junior class and that senior class would have been pretty good. We’ll be able to compete with some of the teams because we did at camp this summer. Week in and week out, it’s going to be a challenge.

Coachesaid:  How do your players feel about playing for a new school?

Well, I think some of them are looking forward to it. Some are a little scared because they’re going to have to step up, especially the sophomore group. A lot of juniors played for me last year (at Pasco). A lot of freshmen and sophomores are going to have to grow up in a hurry. But camp was good. They got their feet wet going full speed against real guys.

Coachesaid: What will you miss most about not roaming the sidelines at Pasco?

We will still play at Edgar Brown (Stadium), so I won’t miss much there. The interesting thing is going to be when football is home and Pasco is the visiting team at Edgar Brown and all of those Pasco people will have to sit on the visitor’s side. I’m not sure how that’s going to go over.

Coachesaid: What was the highlight of your coaching career at Pasco?

I would say winning the state championship (three times in 4A).  In 1998, we beat Wilson. In 2000, we beat Bethel. And in 2003, we beat Ballard. In 2001, we lost to Kentwood in the state championship game. There also was the nine-overtime game with Bothell (Bothell won, 43-40 in the 2006 state quarterfinals). Probably the best one was the 2000 year because we were undefeated. We played Bethel. They were pretty talented. They scored three points on us. We had a really, really good group of kids.

Coachesaid: With all the success you’ve had with an established program, are you at all concerned with the natural growing pains that come with a new program?

A little bit, just because the bottom line is you’ve got to have guys.

Coachesaid: What sort of offensive and defensive schemes will you run at Chiawana?

It’ll be the same stuff that we’ve been doing. When you have guys, it works pretty well. We’re one-back, some shot gun, some under center. We’ll play a 4-3, Cover 2 on defense.

Coachesaid: What are the school colors at Chiawana?

Navy blue and silver. We will look a lot like Penn State.

Coachesaid:  What can you say about your son, Lucas Graff, a junior quarterback at Chiawana?

He played some for us as a sophomore (at Pasco). He’s been under fire. He’s getting better. He works out pretty good because he has to. His dad’s the coach. His core group of juniors he hangs out with have done a good job in the weight room all summer. But they’re only juniors.

Coachesaid:  Who are some of the other Chiawana players whom people should be hearing about?

Nick Vincent plays defensive end and offensive line. Also, Nick Mackay (tight end/linebacker). We also have two kids who will be sophomores: Jordan Downing and Miquiyah Zamora. Those are the guys who will be the play makers for us … I hope. Jordan will be one of the running backs. Miquiyah could be back there also. Miquiyah was an all-league first team pick last year as a cornerback.

Chiawana football team fired up to get back to state after falling short last year

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