RICHLAND -- The Davis Pirates haven't been a serious part of the CBBN discussion -- and its predecessor, the Big Nine --since before the current crop of players were even born.
Perennial doormats, the Pirates have never won a league title and haven't made the playoffs in 40 years. Coming into this season, they hadn't won a league game in their last 60 tries, an arid span lasting nearly a decade.
But all that could change this season. Davis is off to an impressive 3-0 start, including last week's 51-21 thumping of Moses Lake in its league opener.
Richland coach Mike Neidhold knows full well that when the Yakima team comes calling at Fran Rish Stadium tonight, his Bombers won't be facing their papa's Pirates.
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And that's just fine with him.
"The team's we've played have won one game," said Neidhold, whose Bombers also are 3-0 and are ranked ninth in the 4A state poll. "I'm not taking away anything from Pasco, Hanford or Evergreen, but this time of year we need a game where we're tested, and we feel these next 14 days (against Davis and Chiawana) will do that."
Richland, which has outscored its opponents 93-14 and allowed just one touchdown, has yet to face any kind of a passing game. That will change against the Pirates, who lead the league in offense (439 ypg) and passing (261 ypg).
The Bombers' top-ranked defense will be pressed by veteran quarterback Deion Wright, who has thrown for seven touchdowns and four picks. His two big threats are David Trimble (7-164, 23.4 ypc, 2 TDs) and Cooper Kupp (7-333, 3 TDs), averaging a ridiculous 47.6 yards a catch.
When heavy rains put a damper on Davis' passing game last week, the Pirates ground-and-pounded Moses Lake behind 184 yards and four touchdowns from Austin Wagner.
The Bombers have made a living on their running game behind a talented and veteran offensive line. Jake McKinney is second in the league in rushing with 473 yards, six TDs and an 8.4-yard average per carry. His backup, B.K. Robinson, has 161 yards on just 20 carries and is coming off a 100-yard game against Evergreen.
Along with the matchup of the CBBN 4A's No. 1 offense against its No. 1 defense, the game also pits a couple of former college teammates in Neidhold and Davis coach Rick Clark, who played together at Central Washington.
"I kind of root for them," Neidhold said of watching Clark build up a program from the league's cellar. "It's easy to get kids out at Chiawana for (coach Steve) Graff or at Richland. But (the Pirates) are still trying to change their culture.
"I'm happy for him, but we're going to do everything we can to make his weekend miserable, and he's having the same conversation with his guys."
* Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403; firstname.lastname@example.org