Walla Walla edges Hanford 13-7 in MCC tilt

Ben Reynolds, Special to the HeraldSeptember 27, 2013 

Pretty it was not. If fact, it wasn’t even close.

But for a Walla Walla program that has struggled in recent season, a league win is a league win.

“We’ll take it,” Blue Devils coach Eric Hisaw said after his team squeaked out a 13-7 win Friday night over Hanford at Fran Rish Stadium. “To get a win in this conference is tough.”

Both offenses struggled to move the ball. Some of that had to do with some good defense.

The other part was the turnovers and penalties. The game featured 10 turnovers, and a slew of penalties that crippled drives.

Forget about the ugliness, because at the end, Hisaw and the Blue Devils (2-2, 1-1 MCC)picked up a road win.

“Two and two is a lot better than being 1-3,” Hisaw said.

Hisaw, now in his third season, could not say enough about his defense after the game. And the accolades were warranted. The Blue Devils forced eight Falcon (1-3, 1-3) turnovers and allowed the only score of the game on the Falcons’ initial drive of the game.

Walla Walla held Hanford to just 78 rushing yards on 33 carries. The Falcons also completed just 12 of 28 passes and threw four interceptions.

The way the game started out, it was hard to fathom the aftermath after the first drive for Hanford.

The Falcons marched the ball 83 yards down the field eating up more than seven minutes on its opening drive that was capped by a 20-yard touchdown catch by Tyler Cowen from Aaron Enderlin.

That would be the last score of the night for the Falcons. In fact, Hanford would only get in the Walla Walla territory twice the rest of the game, and would get no closer to the end zone than the 29-yard line.

“We made some mistakes on their first drive, after that we just played lights out,” Hisaw said. The first big play from the Blue Devils defense came on the first play of the second quarter.

Darnell Handcox stepped in front of an Enderlin pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to cut the Falcons’ lead to 7-6.

Walla Walla then took the league for good with 8 seconds left in the first half when Stuart Gillin stretched across the goal line to make the score 13-7.

“We knew this was going to be a physical game,” Hisaw said. “It always is when you play Hanford.”

Walla Walla 0 13 0 0 — 13
Hanford 7 0 0 0 — 7
H—Tyler Cown 19 pass from Aaron Enderlin (Daymien Marks kick)
WW—Darnell Handcox 24 interception return (kick failed)
WW—Stuart Gillin 3 run (Ethan Gardner kick)
RUSHING—WW, Zach Zehner 12-60, Noah Porter 11-28, Willie Hayes 7-8, Gillin 8-38. H, Tucker Anderson 2-(minus 7), Enderlin 7-11, Malik Slack 15-19, Elwood Davis 5-3, Will Bishop 8-40.
PASSING—WW, Zehner 10-20-1-102, Mitchell Huffman 0-1-0-0. H, Enderlin 11-26-4-124, Austin Kitchens 1-1-0-12, Tucker Anderson 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING—WW, Huffman 3-11, Handcox 3-68, Reid Magnaghi 1-8, Gillin 2-12, Gerardo Gomez 1-3. H, Cown 4-69, Jordan Reyes 5-29, Britt Albertson 2-26, Jake Craig 1-12.

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