All anyone wanted to talk about this week was Richland’s thrilling 56-49 four-overtime victory over Kamiakin last Friday night. And rightfully so.
However, Bombers coach Mike Neidhold knew that if his team was still thinking about the Braves, it could run into a trap against Kennewick.
“If anyone knows the history of Richland and Kennewick, you know this has been a great rivalry over the years,” Neidhold said. “We had to put last week behind us and keep moving forward.”
It took less than three minutes Friday night to realize there would be not be a hangover for the Bombers.
Richland jumped out to a 28-0 first-quarter lead and coasted for a 56-14 win over Kennewick at Lampson Stadium on Friday.
“We wanted to come out and attack early,” said Richland receiver Payton Radliff. “We knew this was going to be a tough game.”
Radliff helped lead an explosive Bomber offense that racked up yards in bunches. Richland had five touchdown plays of 39 yards or more. Two of those came on Radliff receptions.
On the fourth play from scrimmage, Radliff caught a 47-yard TD pass from Zach Whitby to put the Bombers (5-1, 4-1 Mid-Columbia) in front less than two minutes into the game. Radliff broke free again in the second quarter, going 43 yards on another throw from Whitby. That pushed the lead to 35-0 with 8:27 left in the first half.
Josh Phillips added a huge play of his own, rumbling through the Kennewick defense for a 65-yard touchdown run.
Things didn’t change much in the second half as Anthony Galat scored on a 51-yard run and Gibson McGeorge caught a 39-yard touchdown pass — again from Whitby.
Whitby finished the night 15 of 22 passing for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
For a Kennewick (1-5, 1-4) team that has struggled most of the season, it did not get off to the start it needed if it was hoping for the upset. The Lions did not run an offensive play before they found themselves training 14-0. After Richland scored on its initial drive, the Bombers kicked short and recovered the loose ball. Galat scored four plays later and led 14-0 with 9:09 left in the first half.
“We call that Bomber Ball,” Neidhold said. “It’s one of those things we try and do and it worked out well for us.”
About the only thing that didn’t go right for Richland in the first half was their kick coverage.
Dwight Norwood had four returns in the first half for more than 140 yards. His long returns continually gave Kennewick good field position, but it could not capitalize.
The Bomber defense shut down the Lions’ running game.
Kennewick had 14 carries for just 19 yards in the first half.
The Lions finally broke through late in the second quarter with a 13-play drive that covered 52 yards ending with a Matthew Driver 6-yard pass to Norwood to get the Lions on the board 35-7. Kennewick had a chance to creep closer in the final minute of the first half but stalled at the Richland 7-yard line as time expired.
“We knew they were going to go away,” Neidhold said. “Give them credit, they kept playing hard to the end.”
Richland 28 7 14 7 — 56
Kennewick 0 7 7 0 — 14
R — Payton Radliff 47 pass from Zach Whitby (Damain Ruiz kick)
R — Anthony Galat 6 run (Ruiz kick)
R — Josh Phillips 4 run (Ruiz kick)
R — Phillips 65 run (Ruiz kick)
R — Radliff 43 pass from Whitby (Ruiz kick)
K — Dwight Norwood 6 pass from Matthew Driver (Alvaro Licea kick)
R — Gibson McGeorge 39 pass from Whitby (Ruiz kick)
K — Dillon Plew 27 pass from Driver (Ruiz kick)
R — Galat 51 run (Ruiz kick)
R — Nathan Perry 10 run (Ruiz kick)
RUSHING—R, Bennett Peterson 7-26, R, Phillips 8-79, Galat 11-118, Perry 4-20, Taylor O’Toole 1-(minus-5). K, Cody Albertin 2-(minus-2), Norwood 11-15, Driver 4-3, Raymond Gutierrez 5-17, Team 1-(minus-10).
PASSING—R, Whitby 15-22-0-258, O’Toole 3-4-0-76. K, Driver 17-28-3-139.
RECEIVING—R, Hunter Chambers 1-12, Radliff 3-100, Jacob Devries 1-11, Mason Nelson 4-35, Garrett March 2-19, McGeorge 3-80, Galat 1-11, Jesse Malone 2-54, Trave Seifert 1-21. K, Alex Ruby 6-41, Andrew Townsend 5-26, Norwood 2-10, Brock Sittman 2-24, Plew 2-40.