RICHLAND -- Sports fans love statistics, but numbers alone usually do not tell the whole story of a football game.
Then there are those occasions when they do.
Hanford played what may have been its best half of the season, capitalizing on a blocked punt and a pass interception to take a 16-7 halftime lead over a heavily-favored Kennewick team at Fran Rish Stadium.
Then, the Falcons succumbed to those undeniable statistics.
Kennewick held the Falcons to just eight yards in the third quarter and just 38 yards for the entire second half on the way to 28-16 win. The victory allows Kennewick to stay just a game back of Kamiakin in the Columbia Basin Big Nine Conference 3A standings.
As they have done at least a couple of times this season, Hanford outplayed a favored opponent in the first half.
Kennewick had run 19 plays in the first quarter -- compared to just three for Hanford -- when the Falcons forced the Lions to punt from midfield. The punt was blocked, and Hanford recovered the ball on the Kennewick 45. Falcons quarterback Austin Forsyth connected Jake Oram on a 45-yard touchdown pass on the first play from that spot. The extra point attempt was wide.
Grant Woods set up Kennewick's first score by returning the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to the Hanford 49. Woods gave his team a 7-6 lead from 13 yards out nine plays later, with 11:51 left in the second quarter.
The Falcons answered with a 14-play drive their own, finished off by Will Bishop's 21-yard field goal with 5:26 remain in the first half.
Hanford extended its lead when Kennewick quarterback Bryce Leavitt was picked off by Isaac Benard. The interception gave the Falcon's the ball on their own 35, and on the sixth play from that spot, Tyler Sanchez made a leaping catch of a Forsyth pass along the right sideline. Sanchez broke away from two would be tacklers and then dragged two more to set the Falcons up at the Kennewick three.
Bishop scored from that spot three plays later.
Despite Kennewick's statistical advantage in the third quarter, the outcome may have hinged on a single play at the end of Hanford's first possession of the third quarter. With the Falcon's facing a fourth and 10 at their own forty, Kyle Lafon dashed 33 yards on a fake punt that would have given Hanford a first down on the Kennewick 27.
But a holding penalty at the line of scrimmage brought the play back and Hanford faced a fourth-20 at its own 30 forcing a punt.
At that point Woods took over. The 5-foot-7 165-pounder carried the ball 25 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He had 99 yards in the second half alone.
"Grant Woods may only be 5-7 and 160, 170 pounds, but he is one of the strongest guys in our program," Kennewick coach Bill Templeton said. "And he has got 'that' kind of speed."
Hanford's biggest problem in the second half appeared to be trying to contain Woods' speed. Several times the falcons appeared to have the Kennewick speedster corralled, only to have him elude the first tackler and dash up field for a big gain.
Kennewick took the lead for good with a fake punt of its own. With the Lions apparently stopped with a fourth-and-two at their own 49, Leavitt scampered 21 yards to give his team a first down at the Hanford 30.
Leavitt hit Bodie Simpson with a 2-yard TD pass seven plays later.
Kennewick put the game away with a 55-yard TD drive set up when Chase Reining intercepted Forsyth on the Kennewick 45. Leavitt connected with Reggie Clinton from the five with just 8:31 left in the game.
Kennewick 28, Hanford 16
Kennewick 0 7 7 14 -- 28
Hanford 6 10 0 0 -- 16
H--Jake Oram 35 pass from Austin Forsyth (kick fail)
K--Grant Woods 12 run (Paul Martinez kick)
H--FG Will Bishop 22
H--Bishop 4 run (Bishop kick)
K--Woods 21 run (Martinez kick)
K--Bodie Simpson 11 pass from Bryce Leavitt (Leavitt run)
K--Reggie Clinton 5 pass from Leavitt (run fail)
RUSHING--K, Woods 24-151, Devven Ramos 8-41, Leavitt 12-55, Simpson 2-13. H, Isaac Benard 9-14, Bishop 10-42, Forsyth 6-7, Tyler Sanchez 6-24.
PASSING--K, Leavitt 11-16-1-133. H, Forsyth 5-15-3-102.
RECEIVING--K, Ramos 2-5, Clinton 5-76, Chase Reining 1-6, Simpson 3-46. H, Oram 3-47, Marquise Green 1-20, Sanchez 1-35.
FIRST DOWNS--K 16, H 8. FUMBLES-LOST--K 1-0, H 0-0. PENALTIES-YARDS--K 7-61, H 3-30.