Keith Munson was asked to reflect on the season. He paused, and then smiled.
“Everyone bought into the plan, and we had a pretty successful season,” the first-year Southridge coach said.
The Suns would have liked to extend the season at least one more weekend, but a Lakes defense stifled that plan. The Lancers jumped out to a three-touchdown lead and rolled to a 34-17 win Saturday afternoon at Lampson Stadium in a Class 3A state first-round playoff game.
The Suns finish the season with a 7-5 record, their first season with a winning record since 2011.
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“We have been ahead this year, we have been down,” Munson said. “I told the kids that, but we just couldn’t come back tonight.”
Lakes (7-4) advances to play Eastside Catholic, a team it lost to in last year’s semifinals.
“We are ready for the rematch,” said Lancers coach Dave Miller. “We came out with great energy tonight, and our defense did a great job.”
In the past two seasons, Lakes has beaten each one of the Kennewick high schools at Lampson Stadium. The Lancers beat Kamiakin in the first round last year, then Kennewick in the quarterfinals. Now this year, the Suns.
“We’ve gotten into a pretty good routine coming over here,” Miller said.
The Lancers scored on their first two possessions, and then Dedrian Milligan stepped in front of a Mason Martin pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown to cap an explosive first quarter. Lakes led 21-0 with 3:53 left in the first quarter, and the Suns had yet to record a first down.
Southridge struggled to move the ball all game and managed just 70 yards of total offense in the second half, most of that coming in the closing minutes.
Martin completed 10 of 20 passes for 86 yards and one touchdown.
“We didn’t move the ball well at all,” Munson said. “And we put our defense in some tough situations.”
Under windy conditions, Lakes took the opening kickoff with the wind and went 55 yards for a score. The drive was capped by an 18-yard run by Melvin Miller.
Miller was in the end zone again on the Lancers’ second drive on an 8-yard run. He finished the game with 19 carries for 106 yards and the two touchdowns, nearly all of that coming in the first half.
“After the interception, I think the kids took a deep breath and started to relax a little,” coach Miller said.
The Suns, who finished second in the Mid-Columbia Conference 3A division, scored two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The first was a 1-yard run by Zayid Al-Ghani to cut the lead to 34-10; the second, a 7-yard catch by Samuel Kori with 1:54 left in the game.
“We kept fighting to the end,” Munson said.
L—Melvin Miller 18 run (Liam Bladow kick)
L—Miller 8 run (Bladow kick)
L—Dedrian Millgan 19 interception return (Bladow kick)
S—FG Hunter Spiva 30
L—Miller 12 run (kick failed)
L—Khalil Lewis 8 run (Bladow kick)
S—Zayid Al-Ghani 1 run (Spiva kick)
S—Samuel Kori 8 pass from Mason Martin (Spiva kick)
RUSHING — L, Miler19-106, Aamaree Harrington 5-26, Lewis 2-17. S, Al-Ghani 30-64, Corey Bib 2-4, Martin 7-(minus-18).
PASSING — L, Jalen Antoine 5-13-0-84. S, Martin 10-20-1-86.
RECEIVING — L, Zarron Hill 2-35, Milligan 1-25, Daytona Comoza 2-24. S, Gavin Willingham 5-52, Brycen Kelly 2-21, Kori 3-12.