KENNEWICK -- Playmakers be ready. This could be your night.
When the Kamiakin Braves meet the Southridge Suns at 7:30 tonight at Lampson Stadium, the stage will be set for some of the CBBN's top players to shine.
The Braves and Suns represent the two most prolific offenses in the CBBN 3A, averaging over 700 yards in offense a game between the two teams.
Matt Mendenhall (78-138-3-1,255, 4 touchdowns) of Southridge and Joey Jansen (75-135-6-1,243, 14 TDs) of Kamiakin are the only two quarterbacks in the CBBN to eclipse 1,200 yards through the first five games.
The contest will also feature four of the top five wide receivers in the league -- Suns' wideouts A.J. Henderson and Dallin Palmer, and Braves receivers A.J. Griffiths and Tim White.
"They've got guys with a lot of speed who are playmakers," said Suns coach Tony Reiboldt, who was a defensive coordinator for at Southridge for six seasons before taking over as head coach this year. "We have to do everything just right."
But last year, this matchup wasn't about offensive fireworks so much as who could get it done in the trenches. It was there that the Suns -- behind four all-league linemen and two more at linebacker -- took care of business in a 14-3 win, holding a 60-percent edge in possession time while wearing down an inexperienced Kamiakin side.
"Their lines were unbelievable. Probably one of the best I've ever seen," said Braves coach Scott Biglin. "
But now the tables are turned, and Kamiakin has one of the most experienced crews around. Led by a pair of CBBN first-teamers -- defensive end Jon Allen and cornerback White -- Kamiakin is the No. 1 defense in the CBBN 3A, giving up a measly 205.8 yards and 6.2 points a game.
"The key matchups are up front," Biglin said. "If we can keep those guys off Joey and create holes for (running back) Dom (Davis), we can control the game," Biglin said.
The Suns showed their own capacity to control a game in a 24-9 win over Hanford last Saturday, as Mendenhall completed 18 of 24 passes for 377 yards, including a 70-yard TD connection to Palmer. He and Palmer also ran for scores.
"(Palmer's) role has changed since last season. At this time last year, he had over 700 yards rushing," Rieboldt said. "He's a guy we want to get into space."
True, Palmer's rushing numbers have dropped (60 carries for 265 yards, 3 touchdowns) but his receiving numbers are way up (20 catches, 359 yards, 2 TDs).
"We're a little worried about Dallin, but they've got four or five guys who can flat out catch the call and run good routes," Biglin said. "It should be a good battle for us, but these are the games we want to play."
* Jack Millikin; 509-582-1406; firstname.lastname@example.org.