KENNEWICK -- A.J. Griffiths got good news before the Kamiakin Braves beat the Pasco Bulldogs 44-6 in a CBBN 3A matchup Friday night at Lampson Stadium.
Braves coach Scott Biglin informed Griffiths, who turned 18 on Friday, that the team's first offensive play -- a reverse-option pass play from receiver Tim White -- was designed for him to score.
"Coach told me, 'Happy birthday. Don't blow it,' " Griffiths said.
The bad news for Griffiths is that birthdays aren't likely to get much better than this.
The 6-foot-2 senior converted that play for a 58-yard touchdown on a beautifully thrown ball by White and finished with 144 yards and two scores on four catches.
"We thought it would be fun if we gave him something good on his birthday," Biglin said. "A lot of teams are going to focus on Tim White, so I thought we might start out with a trick play."
The game was a tribute to Kamiakin's quick-strike ability as the Braves put up 28 points with their first 12 offensive plays. Dom Davis ran up the gut for a 6-yard score to make it 14-0 with 5:53 left in the first quarter.
On Kamiakin's next drive, Griffiths made a good read after seeing a defensive back lose his footing in the secondary, checking off a curl route and turning it into a 59-yard strike from quarterback Joey Jansen.
"I looked over to him and he was pointing to go, so we did it," said Jansen, who completed 11 of 18 passes for 181 yards. "We have a really good connection with each other."
The Braves picked up yet another touchdown -- Jansen hit James Swinyard for his third TD pass of the day -- and a Garrett Bowe field goal to take a 31-0 lead with 5:14 left in the second quarter.
"We wanted to keep our offense in rhythm," Biglin said. "Joey is a lot more confident in the pocket and his receivers are starting to work really well with him."
The Braves' defense did its part, too, holding Pasco's offense to under 200 yards for the game. Linebacker Jon Allen collected seven tackles and three sacks.
But the Bulldogs were hurting without one of their biggest offensive threats, DeVaunte Lamb, who sat out with a sore hamstring. He is expected to return for Week 4.
But without Lamb, Pasco leaned heavily on quarterback Brandon Search, who fought to keep the offense moving in the first half.
But down 31-0, the Bulldogs picked things up behind freshman quarterback Zack Whitby, who led an eye-opening 11-play, 67-yard drive for Pasco's first score, a 2-yard touchdown pass to Search with 56 seconds left in the half. Whitby played only one quarter -- he had played three quarters of the Bulldogs' freshman game -- but it was enough to make a solid impression on both coaches.
"Whitby is going to be unbelievable. A freshman going against our starting defense," Biglin said.
Asked if Whitby would continue to swing between the freshman team and varsity, Bulldogs coach Dustin Lamb didn't leave much mystery to his intentions.
"Not anymore. He's the future," said Lamb, who was frustrated after watching his team fall behind early yet again. "I feel like we've been behind all year. It's kind of like a nagging habit.
"But we were juiced up for this one."
Braves running back Zach Umemoto added a pair of second-half touchdowns and led Kamiakin with 36 rushing yards on six carries.
* Jack Millikin: 509-582-1406; email@example.com.
Kamiakin 44, Pasco 6
Pasco 0 6 0 0 -- 6
Kamiakin 21 10 6 7 -- 44
K--A.J. Griffiths 58 pass from Tim White (Garrett Bowe kick)
K--Dom Davis 6 run (Bowe kick)
K--Griffiths 59 pass from Joey Jansen (Bowe kick)
K--James Swinyard 23 pass from Jansen (Bowe kick)
K--FG Bowe 21
P--Brandon Search 2 pass from Zack Whitby (run failed)
K--Zach Umemoto 2 pass from Janson (kick failed)
K--Umemoto 9 run (Bowe kick)
RUSHING--P, DeVonte Cleveland 3-2, Aaron Cantu 6-23, Luis Murillo 12-29, Search 12-3, Ethan Cantu 2-14, Z.Whitby 3-(minus 15). K, Cody Wilmoth 3-34, Davis 6-34, Umemoto 6-36, Jansen 2-17, Liam Ollila 5-29.
PASSING--P, Search 6-13-1-69, Z.Whitby 6-8-0-68. K, Jansen 11-18-1-181, White 1-1-0-58, Jason Hutchison 1-1-0-9.
RECEIVING--P, Ethan Whitby 1-8, Search 3-51, A.Cantu 4-40, Lonnie Hurley 1-9, Murillo 2-29. K, Griffiths 4-144, Jesse Houser 1-16, Swinyard 2-27, Wilmoth 1-1, White 3-49, Umemoto 1-2, Tyler Perrins 1-15.
FIRST DOWNS--P 9, K 18. FUMBLES-LOST--P 1-0, K 2-0. PENALTIES-YARDS--P 5-40, K 5-37.