The Hanford Falcons shrugged off a slow start Friday night before pulling away in the second half on their way to a 49-23 Mid-Columbia Conference victory over the Pasco Bulldogs at Fran Rish Stadium.
“I’m not sure what it was,” said Hanford quarterback Garrett Horner, who threw three first-half interceptions. “We just finally got it going in the second half and started to play a lot better.”
Hanford (4-4 overall, 2-4 MCC) plays second-ranked Richland next week in the regular-season conference finale for both teams. Richland used a late touchdown to beat fourth-ranked Chiawana 21-14 on Friday night at Edgar Brown Stadium.
“We just want to finish strong,” Falcons coach Brett Jay said. “We keep getting better.”
Pasco (0-8, 0-6) hosts Kennewick next week.
The Bulldogs, who scored just eight points in their past three games combined, took a quick 7-0 lead and led 10-7 late in the first half. That’s when big plays became routine for the Falcons.
Hanford ripped off 14 points in the final 3 minutes of the first half to take a 21-10 lead, and the Falcons never looked back.
“We finally got things going,” Jay said. “We didn’t change anything; we just started executing better.”
Scoring in bunches
Hanford went to the screen pass to jump-start its offense. Sophomore Jared DeVine caught a short pass and sprinted down the right sideline for 25 yards and a score to give Hanford a 14-10 lead with 2:22 left in the second quarter.
On the Falcons’ next drive, DeVine took another screen pass for 44 yards that set up a 14-yard touchdown catch by Thomas Kitchens from Horner to push the margin to 21-10.
It took the Falcons just two plays in the third quarter to reach the end zone again, this time with speedster Joe Gauthier catching a screen pass and racing 78 yards down the sideline to push the lead to 28-10.
“We talked at halftime how we need to pick things up,” Horner said.
Gauthier also had a 58-yard TD run and finished with 219 total yards. Horner threw for 345 yards on 18-of-30 passing.
Pasco got a big play on defense to take the early 7-0 lead. Jose Farias intercepted Horner on a short pass that slipped through Gauthier’s hands, and ran the ball back 15 yards for a score.
The Bulldogs added a pair of touchdowns in the second half, the final coming on a 4-yard catch from Ryan Calveard from Keaton Stewart to cut the margin to 49-23. The 23 points are the most the Bulldogs have scored in a game all season. Their previous high was 18 in Week 1 against Eisenhower.
The Bulldogs had scored just 41 total points on the season before Friday night.
Deondre Hendrix ran for 117 yards and a touchdown for Pasco.
P — Jose Farias 15 interception return (Jose Moreno kick)
H — Jared DeVine 13 pass from Garrett Horner (Woody Page kick)
P — FG Moreno 24
H — DeVine 25 pass from Horner (Page kick)
H — Thomas Kitchens 14 pass from Horner (Page kick)
H — Joe Gauthier 78 pass from Horner (Page kick)
P — Deondre Hendrix 4 run (kick fail)
H — Desmond Samples 24 pass from Horner (Page kick)
H — Gauthier 58 run (Page kick)
H — Brian Le 20 pass from Horner (Page kick)
P — Ryan Calveard 4 pass from Keaton Stewart (Moreno kick)
RUSHING — P, Hendrix 26-117, Stewart 6-18. H, Devine 5-8, Gauthier 3-70.
PASSING — P, Stewart 11-33-0—112. H, Horner 18-30-3—345.
RECEIVING — P, Jacob Sandoval 6-59, Calveard 2-12, Izmael Mercado 2-40. H, DeVine 6-87, Gauthier 4-149.