When regulation came to a close, Friday night was shaping up to be a night to forget for Adam Weissenfels.
Even though he and the Richland High School defense had done a nice job of slowing down the dynamic Kamiakin offense, the Bombers defensive back/kicker was covering Braves receiver Isaiah Brimmer when he caught the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Weissenfels missed a 30-yard field goal with about 50 seconds to go that likely would have won the game.
But when Kamiakin (4-2, 2-2 Mid-Columbia Conference) scored an overtime touchdown to pull within a point of Richland (6-0, 4-0), needing just the extra point to force a second frame, Weissenfels decided he would cement his name in Bomber lore.
“I missed the field goal, I gave up that touchdown, but my team just kept having my back,” Weissenfels said. “I knew the entire time we were going to win because they had my back and I had theirs.
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“When they were about to kick the extra point, I told my team ‘they still have to make it, we’re not back on offense yet.’ And I told them we were going to block it, and we did.”
He came off the left side of the Kamiakin line and got his body in front of Garrett Paxton’s kick, putting an exclamation point on a 21-20 victory in a game the Bombers never led by more than seven points.
“(Weissenfels) almost got to the one before that, and I told him ‘if you take a sharper angle, you’ll get it. Just dip that shoulder a little more and get around the edge,’” Richland coach Mike Neidhold said. “I know he felt horrible about giving that touchdown up, but I told him ‘just keep playing, keep playing, keep playing, and it’ll work out for you.’”
After a scoreless first half, both offenses found a little bit of footing after halftime, trading scores on three consecutive possessions in the third quarter to put Richland up 14-7.
That was followed by a bizarre series of plays where each quarterback lost a fumble and threw an interception, which ended with Richland attempting to punt from its own territory, the long snap sailing over Josh Mendoza’s head, and Kamiakin taking over on the 7-yard line as a result. Then ensued the 4-yard touchdown pass to Brimmer — his second touchdown of the game — to tie the score at 14.
Kamiakin won the toss and elected to play defense on the first possession, and the Braves held strong on the first three plays. But on third-and-7, Richland quarterback Paxton Stevens found his favorite target in senior wideout Alex Chapman — who had mostly been kept in check — for a 22-yard score to put the pressure on Kamiakin. Weissenfels knocked the PAT straight through the uprights.
The Braves marched down the field in their overtime possession, capping it off with a 4-yard strike from quarterback Zach Borisch to wide receiver Darreon Moore.
Even though the score didn’t come out in his team’s favor, Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin was still pleased with the way his squad battled.
“I’m the worst loser there is, but there’s no losers in this game,” Biglin said. “That’s the number one team in the state, and we gave them everything they could handle. It came down to a PAT, so I can’t really be mad at our guys. We’ve just got to build off this and get ready for next week.”
And for Neidhold, whose Bombers had won their first three MCC games by a total of 113-10, he was happy his team got tested in the middle game of conference play, and still managed to keep its undefeated record intact.
“In a 40-point game, you kind of hide your flaws. In a 21-20 game like this, you get exposed on some things you need to work on,” Neidhold said. “Kamiakin exposed some things on us that I’m sure we’ll see tomorrow morning when we get back to work.”
Also positive for the Bombers was the presence of a solid rushing attack, which had been mostly absent from their arsenal in their early MCC games. Junior Parker McCary rushed 13 times for 118 yards — his second 100-yard game of the conference schedule. Senior Ben Stanfield gained 102 yards on 17 carries — his first 100-yard game of the season — while leading the team in receiving with four catches for 75 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown.
Stevens added 47 yards on the ground for the Bombers, but Neidhold wasn’t ready to declare him a full-fledged member of the rushing attack.
“I’d call it maybe a two-and-a-half headed monster. I’m not ready to give Paxton a monster head yet,” Neidhold joked. “But Paxton is really good on his feet, and we haven’t really given him the ball to run with yet, until tonight. And we’ve been working on that for a couple weeks and it worked out for us tonight.”
R — Paxton Stevens 17 run (Adam Weissenfels kick)
K — Isaiah Brimmer 13 pass from Zach Borisch (Garrett Paxton kick)
R — Ben Stanfield 43 pass from Stevens (Weissenfels kick)
K — Brimmer 4 pass from Zach Borisch (Paxton kick)
R — Alex Chapman 22 pass from Stevens (Weissenfels kick)
K — Darreon Moore 4 pass from Borisch (kick blocked)
RUSHING — R, Parker McCary 13-118; Stanfield 17-102; Stevens 9-47; Victor Strasser 1-1; Josh Mendoza 1-(minus 7). K, Jethro Questad 18-65; Benson Smith 1-4; Borisch 15-3.
PASSING — R, Stevens 16-33-1-189. K, Borisch 17-28-3-180.
RECEIVING — R, Stanfield 4-75; Chapman 3-42; Mendoza 3-38; Garret Gillespie 1-32; Weissenfels 3-9; Ryan Piper 2-8; McCary 1-4. K, Smith 7-90; Brimmer 5-51; Questad 3-28; Moore 2-13.