For years, the Richland football team has been able to taunt the Hanford Falcons with one simple fact.
When it comes down to a territorial dispute at Fran Rish Stadium, we’ve always gotten the better of you.
Until Friday night, that is, when Hanford used its massive offensive line to roll up nearly 300 rushing yards — 215 of them by Jalen DeVine — against a stout Richland defense in a 31-14 win over the Bombers.
“There was definitely a chip on our shoulder,” Hanford two-way lineman Joe Douglas said after scoring a touchdown off a fourth-quarter fumble recovery that put the Falcons up 24-14. “We’ve been putting the pieces together all year long.”
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DeVine had 136 yards by halftime and finished with three touchdowns, the last a 30-yard romp around right end that sealed Richland’s fate.
“Our offensive line is amazing,” DeVine said. “They’ve been kicking everyone’s A-star-star all year. I couldn’t do anything without them.”
Hanford fullback Austin Taylor added 11 rushes for 75 yards.
The Falcons fell behind 14-7 in the second quarter after Sheldon Liikala hauled in a 5-yard slant form Zach Whitby for a touchdown.
Whitby made life tough on the Hanford defense, completing 25 of 41 passes for 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
But despite the fireworks in the air, the Falcons shut down Richland in the second half, as the defense limited the Bombers running game to just 29 yards overall. Richland was missing half of its two-headed rushing attack, however, as Cameron Simpson was in street clothes on the sideline.
Josh Phillips handled most of the carries out of the backfield, gaining 37 yards on 12 carries.
Richland’s defense made an impressive goal-line stand, trailing 17-14 with just over four minutes left in the game. DeVine and Taylor were both stopped with just a yard to go, giving the ball to the Bombers with 99 yards ahead of them.
Whitby completed a 10-yard pass to Phillips for a first down at the Bombers’ 11, but Phillips fumbled on the next play, and Douglas was there to pick up the ball and cruise in for his first-ever touchdown.
Hanford coach Rob Oram also praised quarterback Austin Forsyth for managing the game well.
“I thought his poise and composure was terrific, and his game-management was critical,” Oram said after the 6-foot-1 junior completed 4 of 5 passes for 54 yards, including a key 30-yard completion to tight end Zack Gaston on Hanford’s go-ahead drive in the third quarter.
“When he needed to make plays, he did,” Oram said.
Richland 7 7 0 0 — 14
Hanford 7 3 7 14 — 31
H—Jalen DeVine 6 run (Will Bishop kick)
R—Cody O’Toole 6 pass from Zack Whitby (Kevin Garza kick)
R—Sheldon Liikala 5 pass from Z.Whitby (Garza kick)
H—FG Bishop 27
H—Devine 2 run (Bishop kick)
H—Joe Douglas 5 fumble return (Bishop kick)
H—DeVine 30 run (Bishop kick)
RUSHING—R, Josh Phillips 12-37, Mason Baird 1-(minus 5), Z.Whitby 2-8. H, DeVine 38-215, Austin Taylor 11-75, Austin Forsyth 3-(minus 19), Bishop 2-19, Malik Slack 1-3.
PASSING—R, Z.Whitby 25-31-1-208. H, Forsyth 4-5-0-54.
RECEIVING—R, Spencer Wheeler 1-11, Hayden Whitby 1-12, Deric Samples 8-55, Liikala 4-52, Garrett March 2-28, O’Toole 2-17, Phillips 3-38, Anthony Galat 2-11, Gibson McGeorge 1-11.
FIRST DOWNS—R 14, H 18. FUMBLES-LOST—R 2-1, H 1-0. PENALTIES—R 7-51, H 7-55.