The Richland Bombers made a statement last week with a big 21-14 win over then-No. 4 ranked Chiawana, locking up the Mid-Columbia Conference title and moving one win away from a perfect regular season.
Any thoughts of looking back at Riverhawks were gone by practice mid-week, as rival Hanford was the last obstacle.
The second-ranked Richland showed no effects of a hangover from last week and proved it was the best team in the MCC and the city of Richland with an emphatic 49-7 victory Friday night at Fran Rish Stadium.
“This was a statement game for us,” said senior running back Ben Stanfield. “We wanted to come out and stay focused.”
Stanfield, who rushed for a game-high 119 yards on 16 carries, and the Bombers (9-0, 7-0) start the playoffs next week at home against Central Valley, the No. 2 seed from the Greater Spokane League. The Bombers reached the 4A semifinals last year before losing eventual champion Gonzaga Prep.
Meanwhile, Hanford (4-5, 2-5) plays at Ferris on Thursday in a crossover game to close out the season.
Richland has beaten rival Hanford four straight times, outscoring the Falcons 164-33 during that stretch.
“This is always a game that will test you,” said Richland coach Mike Neidhold. “We made some mistakes early but were able to come back and do a lot of good things.”
The Bombers, behind their strong all-around game, led 42-0 at halftime before the game was shortened by the running clock for the final 24 minutes. They got a big night from quarterback Paxton Stevens, who had four TD passes and 240 yards on 13-for-20 passing. He spread out the wealth to seven different receivers.
Richland also took advantage of some big plays, with a 64-yard punt return by Gaven Brasker, and 32-year run by Stanfield and a 53-yard catch-and-run by Adam Weissenfels.
Finally, the Bombers’ defense held Hanford to 276 total yards. Hanford did not get past the 50-yard line until its final drive of the half that stalled at the Bombers 40-yard line when time expired.
“Their front four are tough,” said Hanford coach Brett Jay. “They’re a good team and their pass defense is fantastic.”
Hanford had just 87 total passing yards, including only six in the second half.
The Falcons, who were coming off an impressive outing against Pasco, appeared to grab the momentum early against the Bombers. With Richland driving, Stevens was intercepted. However, Hanford gave the ball right back two plays later when Alex Chapman intercepted Garrett Horner.
“We couldn’t get much going,” Jay said. “Credit to them; we just have keep getting better.”
The Bombers capitalized on the Falcons turnover, scoring the first of their six first-half touchdowns when Stevens connected with Brasker for a 27-yard touchdown to make the score 7-0 with 6:33 left in the first quarter.
“We are doing a pretty job, but I still don’t think we have got the offense going, the defense, going and the special teams all at the same time,” Neidhold said. “We are still looking for all three phases to click in the same game.”
R—Gaven Brasker 27 pass from Paxton Stevens (Adam Weissenfels kick)
R—Josh Mendoza 6 pass from Stevens (Weissenfels kick)
R—Brasker 64 punt return (Weissenfels kick)
R—Ben Stanfield 32 run (Weissenfels kick)
R—Alex Chapman 17 pass from Stevens (Weissenfels kick)
R—Weissenfels 53 pass from Stevens (Weissenfels kick)
R—Jared Whitby 10 run (Weissenfels kick)
H—Drezdyn O’Daol 7 run (Woody Page kick)
RUSHING — H, Jared DeVine 9-37, O’Daol 12-42, Mateo Valadez 7-94. R, Stanfield 16-119, Whitby 3-19.
PASSING — H, Horner - 13-31-2-87. R, Stevens 13-20-1-240, Cade Jensen 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — H, Desmond Samples 5-24, Thomas Kitchens 2-21, Brady White 2-13, O’Daol 2-11. R, Brasker 3-49, Weissenfels 2-66, Kody Kjarmo 3-21, Ryan Piper 1-59.