How do you stop the Kennewick Lions?
Contain running back Devven Ramos.
And how exactly do you contain Devven Ramos?
Well, you certainly can’t do it without a good plan. But that’s what the Richland Bombers brought to the table Friday night at Fran Rish Stadium, holding the dynamic runner under 100 yards a week after the Lions’ star ran for over 300.
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The Bombers put up some big numbers of their own on offense, but the big star was defense in a 29-14 win over Kennewick.
“It was a great win for the coaches, who put in a great plan to corral Ramos,” Richland coach Mike Neidhold said. “Our challenge was to match their physical play.”
The Bombers made a statement on their opening drive, going 55 yards in nine plays for their first touchdown, a 6-yard run by Cameron Simpson that made it 7-0. They had a chance to go up 14-0 on their first drive of the second quarter, but Simpson fumbled the ball away at the goal line, and Jesse Salazar recovered for Kennewick.
“We got down there but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. A fumble and a facemask penalty. We’re our own worst enemy,” Neidhold said.
Richland took a 14-0 lead with 41 seconds left in the third quarter after quarterback Zack Whitby scrambled out of the pocket and found Cody O’Toole across the middle.
But Ramos showed why he’s one of the most dangerous players in the league, finding a seam on the ensuing kickoff and taking it back to the house for a 90-yard score to cut the lead to 14-6.
Ramos finished with 86 yards on 19 carries, and all but 16 yards of that came in the first half. The Lions were forced to pass most of the second half as quarterback Dylan Tennacour completed 25 of 35 passes for 181 yards — 10 of them to Bodie Simpson for 64 yards.
But Kennewick also struggled with turnovers, as Tennacour threw three interceptions, and the Lions fumbled the ball away during a promising first-quarter drive.
Richland grabbed control with a gutsy special teams call in the fourth quarter. After Whitby connected with Gibson McGeorge on a 9-yard slant with 9:57 left in the game, the Bombers surprised the Lions with an onside kick, recovering it at the Kennewick 42.
“Everybody knew about that but me,” Neidhold said of the late-game trickery. “It was a high-risk, high-reward play that worked out.”
On the next play, Whitby hit Deric Samples on a deep corner route for a 42-yard touchdown to push the lead to 29-14.
Cam Simpson finished with 117 yards on 24 carries. His running mate in the Bombers backfield, Josh Phillips, ran for 54 yards on 14 carries.
Whitby had a fine night, completing 17 of 25 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns.
Kennewick 0 0 6 8 — 14
Richland 7 0 7 15 — 29
R—Cameron Simpson 6 run (Kevin Garza kick)
R—Cody O’Toole 8 pass from Zack Whitby (Garza kick)
K—Devven Ramos 90 yard kickoff return (kick failed)
R—Gibson McGeorge 9 pass from Z.Whitby (Simpson kick)
R—Deric Samples 42 pass from Z.Whitby (Brock Whitby pass from Z.Whitby)
K—Kaden Julian 15 pass from Dylan Tennancour (Ramos run)
RUSHING—K, Devven Ramos 19-86, Dylan Tennancour 3-3, Bodie Simpson 2-7. R, Josh Phillips 14-54, C.Simpson 24-117, Zack Whitby 4-25, Mason Baird 1-5.
PASSING—K, Tennancour 25-35-3-181. R, Whitby 17-25-0-255.
RECEIVING—K, B.Simpson 10-64, Ramos 5-53, Mark Driver 1-4, Kaden Julian 4-41, Jesse Salazar 4-19. R, Gibson McGeorge 4-44, Hunter Chambers 2-33, Sheldon Liikala 3-16, Deric Samples 3-56, Cody O’Toole 1-8, Garrett March 5-90, .
FIRST DOWNS—K 16, R 21. FUMBLES-LOST—K 1-1, R 2-2. PENALTIES—K 7-75, R 13-120.