With a winless Pasco team facing its final game and the Bulldogs biggest offensive threat sidelined, the Richland Bombers werent likely to see much of a test from their guests across the Columbia River.
What the Bombers were hoping for was to clinch the No. 1 seed into the 4A Eastern Regional playoffs and secure a home game Friday against the Greater Spokane League.
They got both with a 35-0 Mid-Columbia Conference beatdown of Pasco on Friday at Fran Rish Stadium, taking advantage of a depleted Bulldogs roster with a strong passing effort from quarterback Zack Whitby.
The 5-foot-10 junior completed 15 of 27 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns two of them to junior receiver Gibson McGeorge.
The Bombers may have been hoping for a better tuneup against the Bulldogs, especially considering their next opponent will be GSL No. 2 seed Mead, which features a strong running game and Notre Dame-bound linebacker Danny Mead.
I took a peek at them today against my better judgement, Richland coach Mike Neidhold said. Theyre big, and theyll run it right down your throat, kind of like Hanford. Well just have to crowd the box and see if we can stop them.
The Bombers got started quickly, getting a 51-yard run up the middle by Anthony Galat to set up Whitbys 15-yard touchdown pass to McGeorge for a 7-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Whitby found Sheldon Liikala for a 17-yard touchdown pass, putting Richland up 14-0 after just 71⁄2 minutes.
We were told to step on the throttle early, Whitby said. We just wanted to stay sharp. This was kind of like a practice for us. We need it.
Pasco played most of the game without star running back Luis Murillo, who suffered a bloody cut after making a touchdown-saving tackle on Galat and then left the game with an ankle inury after just one carry on offense.
Theyre kind of hurting over there, but they played hard. Theres usually a lot at stake between us, but theyre still trying to put things together, Neidhold said. Were still trying to figure out how to play a full 48 minutes. But Im proud of the kids effort. We did some soul searching last week, and the coaches put a good game plan together.
Running back Josh Phillips got another full game at running back, carrying 17 times for 126 yards and a score. Cameron Simpson, Phillips running mate, had a few early carries but sat out most of the game to get healthy for next week .
With 2:40 left in the first half, Whitby hit McGeorge in the left flat, and McGeorge did the rest, beating a defender 1-on-1 and cruising into the end zone for his second TD of the day. That made it 21-0, and the rout was on.
We studied the film on them, McGeorge said. We could see they were good athletes, but their corners were playing a little soft.
One highlight for Pasco was the play of senior lineman Zack Krieder, who was a workhorse in the trenches. Kreiders number got called on several second-half plays, pulling from his left tackle spot to lead the charge on several running plays.
He also blocked a punt and sacked Richlands backup quarterback Taylor OToole in the fourth quarter.
Pasco 0 0 0 0 0
Richland 14 7 14 7 35
R Gibson McGeorge 15 pass from Zack Whitby (Anthony Galat kick)
R Sheldon Liikala 17 pass from Z.Whitby (Galat kick)
R McGeorge 3 pass from Z.Whitby (Galat kick)
R Josh Phillips 33 run (Galat kick)
R Garrett March 65 pass from Z.Whitby (Galat kick)
RUSHING P, T.J. Faamausili 6-36, Roger Ingram Jr. 11-23, Isiah Sprinkle 2-2, Luis Murillo 1-10, Daniel Haug 5-3, Kolby Killoy 6-(minus 1), Brady Ritala 5-8. R, Cameron Simpson 2-9, Phillips 17-126, Galat 2-52, Z.Whitby 2-(minus 9), Mason Jackson 4-0, Ryker Mackey 2-4, Taylor OToole 1-(minis 1).
PASSING P, Faamausili 0-1-1-0, Killoy 5-11-1-23, Ritala 8-27-2-112. R, Z.Whitby 15-27-0-219.
RECEIVING P, Spencer Calveard 4-24, Ingram Jr. 4-20, Austen Clarke 2-42, Kendall Lee 3-39. R, Gibson McGeorge 2-18, Liikala 5-70, Phillips 2-10, Cody OToole 1-1, Garrett March 3-95, Maon Baird 1-20, Nathan Streufert 1-13.
FIRST DOWNS P 13, R 15. FUMBLES-LOST P 1-0, R 0-0. PENALTIES P 3-35, R 8-80.