The Chiawana Riverhawks put up their usual offensive numbers during their 47-7 shellacking of the Davis Pirates in Saturday’s first-round state football playoff game at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.
They had 478 total offensive yards — 189 of those from star running back Austin Urlacher on the ground. Another 83 yards of rushing came from backup running back Andrew Vargas, and 66 more yards were from three catches by tight end Christian Penny.
Those numbers allow the Riverhawks (10-1) to play host to Gonzaga Prep — a 23-0 winner over Todd Beamer on Saturday — at 1 p.m. next Saturday in the state quarterfinals at Edgar Brown Stadium.
But while Chiawana coach Steve Graff gave a satisfied nod toward those offensive numbers, he really lit up when the subject of defense came up.
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“Our front seven did a great job today,” he said. “Defense did a great job.”
Indeed. The high-powered Davis offense, which came into Saturday’s contest averaging 392 yards a game, could only muster 100 yards of total offense for the game.
All week long, Graff had concerns about the Pirates’ skill position players and their high-octane speed.
“It’s just hard to simulate that speed in practice with the scout team,” Graff admitted.
But outside of a 4-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Jose Negrete to Ketner Kupp in the second quarter, the Riverhawks’ D had this one handled from the start.
“We just couldn’t move the ball today,” said Davis coach Rick Clark, whose Pirates completed the most successful season in school history with a 9-2 record. “We got into a situation where we had to try to throw the football, and we made some costly turnovers.”
The biggest one hurt early.
The Riverhawks couldn’t do anything offensively on their first possession. But with 4:28 to play in the first quarter, Urlacher scored a touchdown on a 33-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Two plays into the Pirates’ next possession — and just 52 seconds after Urlacher had scored — Chiawana got some good pressure on Davis quarterback Elias Moctezuma. Someone knocked the football out of his hand, and Riverhawks linebacker Caleb Weber picked it up and ran it 13 yards into the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
While the Pirates would answer with their lone touchdown late in the second quarter — cutting Chiawana’s lead to 14-7 — it was all Riverhawks the rest of the way.
“Their defensive line was great,” said Moctezuma, who left the game in the second quarter after injuring his ankle. “They got into our backfield almost every single play.”
In fact, while the sophomore Weber led Chiawana defensively with 10 tackles (one for loss) and that fumble return, there were many stars for the Riverhawks on this day:
• Defensive back Dre Dorton, who had six tackles, one for a loss.
• Defensive lineman Juan Noyola, who had 2 1/2 sacks and a QB hurry.
• And Penny, who added five tackles (1 1/2 QB sacks).
“We should get a lot more credit for our defense,” said Dorton, who has verbally committed to Eastern Washington University. “A lot more credit for our defense and special teams.”
Noyola, who does a great job of clogging things up on the line of scrimmage so that guys like Weber and Dorton can come up to make tackles, knows what’s important.
“Our defensive line coach (Robert Booth) says defense wins games,” he said. “And I’ve got to give my coaches credit. They came up with a plan, and after they told me what I needed to do, I went out and did it.”
The halftime score was 21-7 Chiawana. But if anyone thought there would be a Davis rally in the third quarter, those thoughts died fast.
The ’Hawks scored on all three of their offensive series in the third quarter — a 5-yard run by Cortez Ruiz, a 65-yard scamper by Urlacher and an 11-yard Logan Ellsworth-to-Penny strike — for a 40-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.
It was enough to make a believer out of Clark.
“I think to be honest, (Chiawana) has a good shot at going back to the state title game,” said Clark. “The top half of the bracket is loaded with some good teams. That bottom half of the bracket (where Chiawana is) shows they can go straight to it.”
One step at a time, and for the Hawks, the next one is against Gonzaga Prep.
C — Austin Urlacher 33 run (Matt Winn kick)
C — Caleb Weber 13 fumble return (Winn kick)
D — Ketner Kupp 4 pass from Jose Negrete (Jesse Nickens kick)
C — Logan Ellsworth 2 run (Winn kick)
C — Cortez Ruiz 4 run (kick failed)
C — Urlacher 65 run (kick failed)
C — Christian Penny 11 pass from Ellsworth (Winn kick)
C — Dre Dorton 2 run (Winn kick)
RUSHING — D, Jordan Alcala 10-31, Eric Hernandez-Briscoe 1-14, Nikhil Lizotte 2-7, Alex Perez 3-5, Jose Negrete 6-minus 11, Elias Moctezuma 3-minus 26. C, Urlacher 18-189, Andrew Vargas 6-83, Dorton 6-63, Josh Wilson 2-30, Braden Cockrum 3-24, C.Ruiz 2-9, Ellsworth 3-3, Brayde Hirai 2-1, Simpkins 3-minus 4.
PASSING — D, Moctezuma 4-9-0-24, Jose Negrete 8-17-2-56. C, Ellsworth 4-9-0-75, Troy Simpkins 1-1-0-5.
RECEIVING — D, Hernandez-Briscoe 3-36, Ketner Kupp 3-31, Isaiah Walter 3-20, Alcala 1-0, Lizotte 2-minus 7. C, Chris Penny 3-66, C.Ruiz 1-9, Tanner Wilson 1-5.
FIRST DOWNS — D 6, C 16. FUMBLES-LOST — D 3-1, C 3-2. PENALTIES-YARDS — D 5-35, C 7-64.