WALLA WALLA — Chiawana quarterback Joey Zamora stood in the chill at Borleske Stadium here Friday and reminisced about warmer days long ago.
“That’s why we put in all the hard work and all that time in the weight room in the offseason,” he said. “We don’t do it to be nonchalant.”
No one can accuse Zamora or his Riverhawks of nonchalance. Chiawana isn’t cruising or easing or coasting into the postseason. It is crashing into the playoffs like some suped-up, garishly-armored, post-apocalyptic machine, delivering a parting gift to the Mid-Columbia Conference with a 47-16 rout of Walla Walla on Friday that showcased Chiawana’s embarassment of riches on offense.
Zamora completed 19-of-25 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns, Clifton Lozano rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and Austin Urlacher ran for three scores as the Riverhawks (8-1, 7-0 in league) tuned up for a crossover playoff game against Gonzaga Prep at 7 p.m. next Friday at Edgar Brown Stadium.
“You always try to go into the playoffs strong,” said Zamora. “We did pretty good on all three sides of football.”
Chiawana scored 394 points during the regular season, averaging almost 44 points per game — style points not included. In subduing a Walla Walla team playing for pride and little else Friday, the Riverhawks showed the versatility and depth which could sustain a Tacoma Dome run. They surrendered a 23-yard field goal to Wa-Hi’s Ethan Gardner to fall behind 3-0 early in the first quarter, but that was merely a nest-kicker.
Dre Dorton gave hints of his breakout performance to follow by returning the ensuing kickoff 61 yards to the Blue Devil 20, and Urlacher ripped up the middle for a touchdown run on Chiawana’s next snap.
The Wa-Hi lead lasted 21 seconds.
Urlacher’s scoring jaunt triggered an avalanche of 33 unanswered Riverhawk points. It featured a 10-yard touchdown run by Lozano, Dorton’s 29-yard touchdown reception from Zamora, and a five-yard scoring dart from Zamora to bruising-yet-nimble tight end Christian Penny, all before halftime. A 32-yard TD run by Urlacher in the third quarter capped the 33-0 Chiawana run.
Dorton caught seven passes for 102 yards. Penny ended up with two touchdown receptions, hauling in a 20-yarder and bulldozing a defender at the goalline for a score in the third quarter. Urlacher scored the game’s final TD from four yards out with 1:55 left in the interminable third and could easily eclipsed 100 yards rushing had Chiawana head coach Steve Graff not emptied the bench in the fourth.
And Deion Singletown, whose list of suitors for Saturday duty is a ‘Who’s Who’ of SEC and PAC-12 superpowers, chipped in five receptions for 109 yards.
The Riverhawks appeared to have answers for every defensive alignment or scheme.
“It’s nice,” Zamora said. “It’s good to have so many security blankets. I can just be a manager out there.
“Our offense was on the whole game.”
Walla Walla (5-4, 4-3) played without the MCC’s leading receiver, Darnell Handcox (concussion), and struggled to generate a running game. Blue Devils quarterback Zach Zehner did a nice job in the face of relentless pressure, completing 17-of-32 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown to Reid Magnaghi. Willie Hayes added a 23-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for Wa-Hi, which will host Central Valley in a non-playoff crossover next Friday.