At one point in the third quarter Friday night, with his team clinging to a 21-13 lead, Kamiakin head coach Scott Biglin turned to his assistant coaches on the sidelines and made a declaration.
“I told them, ‘I should be fired for my play calling,’” said Biglin. “I quit calling Tuna Altahir’s number.”
Somehow, Biglin regained his senses, Altahir scored Kamiakin’s final three touchdowns, and the host Braves overcame a stubborn Pasco team 43-25 to win a Mid-Columbia Conference football game at Lampson Stadium.
The victory puts three teams — Kamiakin, Kennewick and Pasco — into a three-way for second place in the Mid-Columbia Conference with 3-1 records, one game behind first-place Chiawana.
It was a good bounce-back game for the Braves, who were beaten soundly by Kennewick 42-18 last week.
And it came against a strong Pasco team.
“Our guys knew they’d be good,” said Biglin. “We weren’t surprised by them. And if anyone does get surprised by them from here on out, they’d be fools.”
The one thing the Bulldogs did was put themselves in a hole early. Kamiakin was able to score touchdowns on its first three possessions to take a 21-0 first-quarter lead.
The Braves did it by using the short field.
Two short Pasco punts into a stiff breeze — and a blocked third punt by the Braves’ Garrett Munn — allowed Kamiakin an average offensive possession start of 33 yards away from the end zone.
The results? A 5-yard Altahir TD run, and 29-yard TD pass from Henry Mercado to Messiah Jones, and a 5-yard scoring strike from Mercado to Woodley Downard.
“We put ourselves in bad field position,” said Bulldogs coach Leon Wright-Jackson. “You can’t give teams like that those chances. But I’m proud of the way we fought back.”
And Pasco did.
The Bulldogs defense stiffened, stopping the Braves on their next seven offensive possessions.
Meanwhile, Pasco QB Armani Reyes started to get the offense moving.
The junior was scrambling for his life at times — Kamiakin’s defense sacked him 11 times, four alone by linebacker Kale Crawford — but he started getting quick throws out, or stepping up in the pocket and running for gains to keep the Braves defensive unit honest.
The Bulldogs scored the next two touchdowns, both on runs of 3 and 1 yards by defensive tackle-turned-goal-line-running back Isaiah Arline.
Arline’s second score cut the Kamiakin lead to 21-13 with 2:49 left in the third quarter.
That’s as close as it would get.
Mercado would hit Altahir on a wheel route up the right sideline for a 25-yard TD pass.
“I told Henry that the linebacker was going with me, and I thought I could beat him,” said Altahir.
On the next series, Altahir put the game out of reach with a 91-yard touchdown run and a 36-13 Kamiakin lead.
“I had great blocking up front by our line,” he said. “I saw a hole and took off.”
At that moment, that was when Biglin re-hired himself as the offensive play-caller.
Altahir, who would later add a 48-yard TD run, finished with 218 yards rushing on just 16 carries. He also had four catches for 87 more yards. For good measure, he added five tackles from his free safety position.
The Braves are back on track. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will have to shake this loss off and get ready for Kennewick next Friday.
“Our guys have 48 hours to dwell on this (loss),” said Wright-Jackson. “Then we move on to the next game.”
The game was marred by penalties. Each team had over 200 yards in penalties — Pasco 20 flags for 206 yards; Kamiakin 20 for 201.
Arline had a monster game for Pasco. He rushed for just 9 yards on five carries. But he scored on three short TD runs. Defensively at nose tackle, he had 5 tackles (one for loss), batted down a pass, recovered a fumble, and blocked a punt.
Alex Ramirez added four tackles, a pass breakup, a cover, and an interception for the Bulldogs.
Kamiakin’s defense was led by Crawford. He had 9 tackles (one for loss) and those four QB sacks. .
Fellow linebacker EJ Hawkins added 11 tackles (one for loss) and two sacks, while LB Gilbert Marquez had 9 tackles and three QB sacks.
Kamiakin travels to Walla Walla next Friday; Kennewick visits Pasco on Friday.
BRAVES 43, BULLDOGS 25
Pasco 0 7 6 12 — 25
Kamiakin 21 0 7 15 — 43
K – Tuna Altahir 5 run (kick failed)
K – Messiah Jones 29 pass from Henry Mercado (Braeden Staniszewski kick)
K – Woodley Downard 5 pass from Mercado (Altahir run)
P – Isaiah Arline 3 run (Travis Thorn kick)
P – Arline 1 run (snap fumbled)
K – Altahir 25 pass from Mercado (Staniszewski kick)
K – Altahir 91 run (EJ Hawkins run)
P – Arline 1 run (kick blocked)
P – Brandon Scott 18 pass from Armani Reyes (run failed)
K – Altahir 48 run (Staniszewski kick)
Rushing: Pasco, Reyes 27-69, Desmian Licon 2-14, Arline 5-9, Owen Bintorio 2-3, Alan Muniz 4-3, Sergio Avina 1-0, Totals 41-98. Kamiakin’s, Altahir 16-218, Kelen Rutz 3-18, Luis Salgado 1-7, Lucas Castilleja 1-3, Gilbert Marquez 1-2, Mercado 4-minus 9, Team 1-minus 7, Totals 27-232.
Passing: Pasco, Reyes 18-38-0-212. Kamiakin, Mercado 18-29-1-253.
Receiving: Pasco, Licon 5-70, Tucker Philmlee 4-45, Nicolas Garcia 1-40, No. 14 1-5, Scott 3-37, Muniz 1-16, Eric Correa 1-3, Avina 2-minus 4. Kamiakin, Altahir 4-87, Downard 4-49, Rutz 6-49, Jones 1-29, Salgado 2-22, Castilleja 1-17.
First downs: Pas 19, Kam 16. FUMBLES-LOST – Pas 0-0, Kam 6-2. PENALTIES-YARDS – Pas 20-206, Kam 20-201.
Around the League
CHIAWANA 48, HANFORD 7: Gabe Schilz was the star of the game. The Riverhawks running back scored six touchdowns, rushed for 153 yards, and had two pass receptions for 67 yards, as Chiawana routed Hanford in an MCC game at Edgar Brown Stadium. Riverhawks quarterback JP Zamora had 223 yards passing and two TD passes.
Chiawana’s defense held Hanford’s offense to just 106 yards of total offense.
WALLA WALLA 35, RICHLAND 28: Ryan Martuscelli threw five TD passes, four of them to Dylan Ashbeck, as the visiting Blue Devils held off the Bombers in an MCC game.
KENNEWICK 42, DAVIS 6: Visiting Kennewick had plenty of offensive stars in a non-league win over the Pirates.
Lions QB Blaine Chavez passes for 203 yards and had three touchdown passes, while Myles Mayovsky rushed for 92 yards and had TD runs of 16 and 3 yards.
Simeon Howard also scored twice for Kennewick, once on a 44-yard pass play, and another on a 57-yard punt return.
Nathan Moses led the Lions receivers with 6 catches for 101 yards.
HERMISTON 37, SOUTHRIDGE 7: On Thursday at Lampson Stadium, Sam Schwirse passed for three touchdowns – two of them to Broc Remmer – as visiting Hermiston picked up its first MCC win of the season. Trevor Wagner added a touchdown catch, a TD run, and 98 yards of offense (61 receiving, 37 rushing) to help the Bulldogs – whose defense held Southridge to just 79 yards of offense.
Trenton Slatter scored the Suns’ lone touchdown on a 1-yard dive.
SUNNYSIDE 41, EISENHOWER 28: Logan Rodriguez was 27 for 35 for 306 yards passing to lead host Sunnyside over Ike in a Big Nine Conference game.Jonathan Sanchez caught 10 passes for 101 yards and three scores for the Grizzlies, while Mike Rivera added 6 catches for 123 yards and a TD.
PROSSER 35, GRANDVIEW 14: Mustangs QB Kaiden Rivera was 27 for 39 for 427 yards and three touchdowns to lead visiting Prosser to a CWAC South victory. Will Thompson was Rivera’s top target, catching 6 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Anthony Kernan added 6 more receptions for 115 yards. Logan Candanoza added 80 yards rushing and two TDs.
CONNELL 45, NACHES VALLEY 0: The Tuttle brothers dominated on the ground for the visiting Eagles in this non-league game.
Jaxsen Tuttle had 12 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns, while Jekoby Tuttle added 80 yards rushing on six carries, plus two TDs himself. Keyon Francois caught four passes for 111 yards and two scores for Connell, which plays SCAC East rival Royal next Friday.
RIVER VIEW 47, COLLEGE PLACE 19: Robert Nunez caught six passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and had a 50-yard interception return for another score, as visiting River View defeated College Place in an SCAC East game. Tre Sakota passed for 249 yards for the Panthers, Jaedyn Izaguirre added a 49-yard pick-6, and Anthony Vasquez had 12 tackles for River View.
COLUMBIA-BURBANK 55, LIBERTY CHRISTIAN 26: Abe Garcia rushed for 147 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the visiting Coyotes over Liberty Christian in a 2B EWAC game at Hanford High School.
Garcia also caught one pass for 47 yards. Curtis Morgan paced the host Patriots with 268 yards passing and three TDs, while receiver Aiden Lesser had 10 catches for 132 yards.
TRI-CITIES PREP 20, ROGERS-SPOKANE 10: Class 2B Tri-Cities Prep stopped Class 3A Rogers at Jo Albi Stadium in a non-league game Thursday afternoon.
The Jaguars lost their top rusher, Davian Iniguez, to injury on the opening kickoff. That forced Prep to throw the ball.Jags quarterback Dante Maiuri responded with 60 passes, completing 40 of them for 462 yards and two touchdowns.
Landon Amato caught 16 of them for 211 yards and a TD, while Jacob Levy added 12 catches for 164 yards and a score. Levy also led Prep on defense with 16 tackles, while teammate Kellen Hobson added 12.
Chiawana 4-0 MCC, 4-1 overall
Kamiakin 3-1, 4-1
Kennewick 3-1, 4-1
Pasco 3-1, 3-2
Walla Walla 3-2, 3-2
Hanford 2-3, 2-3
Richland 1-3, 2-3
Hermiston 1-4, 1-4
Southridge 0-5, 0-5
Hermiston 37, Southridge 7
Chiawana 48, Hanford 7
Kamiakin 43, Pasco 25
Kennewick 42, Davis 6
Walla Walla 35, Richland 28
Friday, Oct. 11
Chiawana at Hermiston, 7 p.m.
Kamiakin at Walla Walla, Borleske Stadium, 7 p.m.
Kennewick at Pasco, Edgar Brown Stadium, 7 p.m.
Richland at Southridge, Lampson Stadium, 7 p.m.
Sunnyside at Hanford, Fran Rish Stadium, 7 p.m.
2A CWAC STANDINGS
Othello 2-0 CWAC, 3-2 overall
Ellensburg 2-0, 2-3
Quincy 0-1, 3-2
East Valley 0-1, 2-3
Ephrata 0-2, 0-5
Toppenish 2-0, 4-1
Prosser 2-0, 3-2
Wapato 0-1, 1-4
Grandview 0-1, 0-5
Selah 0-2, 1-4
Ellensburg 27, East Valley 14
Othello 27, Ephrata 8
Prosser 35, Grandview 14
Quincy 34, Wapato 0
Toppenish 24, Selah 14
Thursday, Oct. 10
Wapato at Selah, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 11
Ellensburg at Prosser, Fiker Stadium, 7 p.m.
Othello at East Valley-Yakima, 7 p.m.
Quincy at Ephrata, 7 p.m.
Toppenish at Grandview, 7 p.m.
SCAC EAST STANDINGS
Kiona-Benton 3-0 SCAC, 4-1 overall
Royal 2-0, 5-0
Connell 2-0, 3-2
River View 2-1, 4-1
Warden 0-2, 2-3
College Place 0-3, 2-3
Wahluke 0-3, 2-3
Connell 45, Naches Valley 0
Kiona-Benton 46, Wahluke 0
River View 47, College Place 19
Royal 49, Warden 0
Friday, Oct. 11
Milton-Freewater at Kiona-Benton, 7 p.m.
Royal at Connell, 7 p.m.
Wahluke at River View, 7 p.m.
Warden at College Place, 7 p.m.
EWAC 2B STANDINGS
Columbia-Burbank 3-0 EWAC, 5-0 overall
Tri-Cities Prep 3-0, 5-0
White Swan 2-0, 3-1
Liberty Christian 1-2, 1-4
Mabton 0-2, 2-2
Dayton/Waitsburg 0-2, 0-4
Kittitas-Thorp 0-3, 0-3
Tri-Cities Prep 20, Rogers-Spokane 10
Columbia-Burbank 55, Liberty Christian 26
Lake Roosevelt 42, White Swan 8
Coupeville at Kittitas/Thorp, 3 p.m.
Dayton-Waitsburg at Mabton, 1 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 11
Asotin at Kittitas/Thorp, 7 p.m.
Liberty Christian at Dayton-Waitsburg, 7 p.m.
Mabton at White Swan, 7 p.m.
Tri-Cities Prep at Columbia-Burbank, 7 p.m.