RICHLAND, Wash. — These things the Richland Bombers football team will forget in time the broken plays and missed assignments that led to their season-ending 17-0 loss to Mead on Friday night at Fran Rish Stadium.
Something they wont forget is seeing Cameron Simpson play his last high school football game.
Covered from head to toe in mud and grass stains after the game, the Bombers senior was stopped by Panthers head coach Sean Carty to show his respect.
I heard you had a broken leg. I wasnt even sure youd be playing, Carty told Simpson as he shook his hand warmly on a cold fall night.
The leg may in fact be broken, but even it its not, doctors might argue Simpsons sanity for even taking one step onto the field.
Still, there he was, playing both ways at running back and linebacker, doing his best to get Richland back to state.
I was pretty excited to be in there, Simpson said after rushing for 33 yards on 11 carries and making five tackles on defense. I just wanted one more game at Fran Rish.
But its Mead that will move on to state after breaking two big plays in the first half a 44-yard touchdown pass from Gunnar Kayser to Darian Barlow and a 73-yard scoring run by Garrett Norris.
The Panthers (9-1) will play host to the Newport/Skyview winner next Friday in the first round of the 4A state tournament.
We wanted to show up and do what we do, Norris said after running for 86 yards on just three carries. They were playing in a 6-3 defense. We havent gone up against that before. But Damian gave me a great block that allowed me to break it.
Richland made some noise early, taking the opening kickoff and driving 15 plays all the way for a first-and-goal at the Mead 6-yard line. But the drive stalled in the red zone, as the Bombers went four-and-out at the 4.
We have someone break down on every play. Thats been our season in a nutshell, Richland coach Mike Neidhold said. Its a team game, and all 11 guys have to do their job.
Mead came back the other way, getting a 24-yard run from Austin Stone to put them just past midfield. Then, on first-and-10 from the Bombers 44, Kayser scrambled away from defensive pressure and threw a strike to Barlow, who was streaking across the field behind the defense.
Barlow calmly hauled in the pass at Richland 20 and cruised in for the score to make it 7-0 with 4:44 left.
The Bombers had their chances to score, moving across the 50 into Mead territory seven times. Richland had eight plays go for 10 yards or more seven of them passing plays. But broken plays, miscommunication and several dropped passes conspired to keep Richland off the board.
Whitby finished 16-for-31 for 129 yards and an interception. Garrett March and Gibson McGeorge each caught five passes for the Bombers
Kids are going to drop the ball. Oregon is playing USC tomorrow, and youll see plenty of dropped balls there, Neidhold said. Its when you drop them. Or pick up a penalty, or slip on defense.
We had a good plan on defense. We just couldnt get in the end zone.
Simpson was hoping to get a few more carries before the night was over.
We felt if we could get the offense the ball more and keep the defense off the field, that would give us a good chance, Simpson said.
Mead 7 7 0 3 17
Richland 0 0 0 0 0
M Darian Barlow 44 pass from Gunnar Kayser (Tanner Wilburn kick)
M Garrett Norris 73 run (Wilburn kick)
M FG Wilburn 28
RUSHING M, Davian Barlow 15-64, Dar.Barlow 2-29, Austin Stone 8-54, Luke Hilmes 8-39, Garrett Norris 3-86, Kayser 6-14, Anthony Gold 1-5. R, Josh Phillips 1-35, Cam Simpson 11-33, Zach Whitby 4-1, Mason Baird 1-4, Garrett March 1-5.
PASSING M, Kayser 3-8-0-67. R, Z.Whitby 16-31-1-129.
RECEIVING M, Dar.Barlow 1-44, Danny Mattingly 1-12, Dav.Barlow 1-11. R, Baird 1-14, March 5-42, David Crawford 2-15, Gibson McGeorge 5-27, Sheldon Liikala 2-15, Hayden Whitby 1-16.
FIRST DOWNS M 15, R 14. FUMBLES-LOST M 3-0, R 1-0. PENALTIES M 7-70, R 5-50.