After what happened in Week 1 against Davis, Hanford coach Brett Jay wasn’t surprised that his team exploded out of the gates again Friday night in a 42-29 win over Moses Lake at Fran Rish Stadium.
The Falcons scored on their first two drives for the second consecutive week on their way to a seemingly insurmountable 35-3 lead at halftime.
“We had a great first two drives,” Jay said. “We started to slow down in the second quarter a little but fought back to finish the first half strong.”
Turns out, Hanford needed every last one of those points. Moses Lake shook off its slow start and made a game of it late.
“We came out and set the tempo,” said sophomore quarterback Garrett Horner, who threw for 143 yards and five touchdowns in the first half. “We just didn’t keep it up in the third (quarter). We will have to use this to go get better next week in practice.”
Horner and the Falcons went cold in the second half, and Moses Lake scored 26 unanswered points to close to within 35-29 less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
But that quick-hit, fast-pace Falcon offense found its footing again on the ensuing drive. Hanford went 64 yards in seven plays, capped by a 10-yard touchdown run by Mateo Valadez to push the lead to 42-29.
The Falcons saw their 32-point halftime lead get trimmed to six points in just over a quarter. Moses Lake scored 19 points in the third quarter, and then added a touchdown with 11:26 left in the game to cut the margin to 35-29.
But after Hanford responded and went back up by two scores, Moses Lake could not break through to get any closer. On the Chiefs’ next drive, they had a touchdown called back on a penalty at the Hanford 7-yard line. The drive went backward from there, finishing at the Falcons’ 27 on an incomplete fourth-down pass.
The Chiefs forced a turnover and got the ball right back. This drive again stalled inside the red zone. The Chiefs got down to the Falcons’ 15-yard line. Again, they went backward from there.
The drive ended at the Hanford 30 with an incomplete pass on fourth down.
Near-perfect first half
The Falcons set the pace from the opening kickoff. It took Hanford just five plays to score, on a 12-yard touchdown reception by Brady White from Horner.
The Chiefs managed just four plays before Horner and the offense were back on the field. This time, a three-play drive ended with a 5-yard touchdown catch by Thomas Kitchens for a 14-0 lead just 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
The Falcons then scored on its final three possessions of the first half, all coming within a 5-minute span.
“We wanted to come out and control the game right off the bat,” Horner said.
H — Brady White 12 pass from Garrett Horner (Woody Page kick)
H — Thomas Kitchens 5 pass from Horner (Page kick)
M — FG Spencer Skeesick 29
H — Tayvonne Miller 23 pass from Horner (Page kick)
H — Miller 35 pass from Horner (Page kick)
H — Joseph Gauthier 25 pass from Horner (Page kick)
M — Brandon Griffith 2 run (pass fail)
M — Kyler Haneberg 21 pass from Griffith (pass fail)
M — Haneberg 53 pass from Griffith (Skeesick kick)
M — Griffith 3 run (Skeesick kick)
H — Mateo Valadez 10 run (Page kick)
RUSHING — ML, Draven Nevarez 13-82, Griffith 15-6. H, Miller 17-84, Valadez 7-18.
PASSING — ML, Griffith 19-39-2-306. H, Horner 23-35-0-232.
RECEIVING — ML, BJ Mullin 5-97, Haneberg 3-88, Gio Walker 3-60. H, Dmetri Kennedy Woody 6-61, Miller 3-59, Gauthier 5-58.