Zach Borisch had two rushing and two passing touchdowns, Benson Smith intercepted two passes and returned one for a score, and the Kamiakin Braves cruised past Bonney Lake 37-10 on Saturday at Lampson Stadium in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.
Kamiakin will visit two-time defending state champion Eastside Catholic, which beat Lakes 57-24 on Saturday, in the semifinal round next weekend.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’re gonna relish this opportunity to go up and play the two-time defending state champs in Eastside Catholic,” Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin said. “We’re excited. We’ve got a good bunch of young men, and we’re gonna look forward to the challenge.”
The Braves (10-2) intercepted Bonney Lake quarterback Kaiden Hammond three times and held him to 5-of-22 passing (23 percent) for 66 yards. Borisch, on the other hand, had a monster day in leading Kamiakin to victory, racking up a combined 208 yards rushing and passing and accounting for four touchdowns.
For the third consecutive week, Champ Grayson was at the center of Kamiakin’s passing attack, hauling in seven catches for 55 yards. Biglin said it’s been great to have the junior receiver back for the postseason after he injured his shoulder twice in the first five weeks of the regular season, and that he brings more to the team than his stellar route running and catching ability.
“He gives us a little of what the kids call swag,” Biglin said. “He’s got this aura around him where he thinks he can get anything done, and it kind of reflects off of him on a lot of these kids. When he was gone, because of his injury, we lacked that drive. We still did some good things, but we lacked that aura.”
A ground-and-pound team that rushed 62 times for 295 yards in its state playoff-opening victory over Squalicum, Bonney Lake (9-3) was built to play from ahead. But the Panthers were shoved out of their element from the get-go by the Braves.
The Panthers still rushed for 141 yards, but they needed 43 carries to get there, and much of that came with the game already out of reach.
“I’ve said it before, and coach Biglin always preaches ‘start fast and finish faster,’ ” Borisch said. “We came out, scored on our first drive, the line had a good push. And we prepared really hard this week, and the defense did a great job. We knew they were gonna try to run it down our throats.”
Kamiakin drove 67 yards on the game’s opening drive, and Borisch capped it with a 31-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-3 behind the left side of the offensive line.
“I followed Wyatt (Musser) and Max (Korotkov), and those are guys you want to be behind, and I remember I saw just a tiny gap, like a foot wide,” Borisch said. “I went through there, I had hands wrapped on me, but I just kept pumping my legs and broke through somehow. Some guy swiped my leg, and then the next thing I knew, I was in the open field.”
Smith’s first interception of the day came with about two minutes left in the first quarter and set up an 80-yard Braves touchdown march, most of which was picked up by wideout Isaiah Brimmer. Brimmer followed up a 37-yard catch-and-run off a screen pass with a 14-yard touchdown reception from Borisch to make it 14-0 before Bonney Lake could blink.
Bonney Lake responded early in the second quarter with a 25-yard field goal by Tate Hamlett that barely sneaked over the crossbar, and Kamiakin’s Garrett Paxton answered with a 31-yarder on the following drive to give Kamiakin a 17-3 lead.
Smith made his second interception in the second quarter, when he made a leaping catch of Hammond’s pass at the Braves’ 38-yard line, and outran Bonney Lake’s offensive unit for a 62-yard score.
He was quick to dole out the praise to the Braves’ front seven.
“They were amazing. They get all that pressure, and it’s where the interception starts,” Smith said. “They forced the QB to maybe make some mistakes or make some bad reads, and all us CBs have to do is go up and catch the ball.”
Jethro Questad caught a 24-yard touchdown pass and Borisch scored on a 1-yard QB sneak to put the Braves up 37-3 heading into the fourth quarter.
Bonney Lake running back Jason Day ripped off a 34-yard rush then scored a few plays later on a 5-yard scamper with 5:22 remaining in the game for the Panthers’ only touchdown.
K — Zach Borisch 31 run (Garrett Paxton kick)
K — Isaiah Brimmer 14 pass from Borisch (Paxton kick)
BL — FG Tate Hamlett 25
K — FG Paxton 31
K — Benson Smith 62 interception return (Paxton kick)
K — Jethro Questad 24 pass from Borisch (kick failed)
K — Borisch 1 run (Paxton kick)
BL — Jason Day 5 run (Hamlett kick)
RUSHING — BL, Day 17-77; Adam Fahsel 23-81; Kaiden Hammond 3-(minus 17). K, Questad 20-88; Borisch 8-51; Darreon Moore 1-4; Talmage Jacobson 3-3.
PASSING — BL, Hammond 5-22-3-66; Fahsel 1-1-0-35. K, Borisch 13-21-1-157.
RECEIVING — BL, Holden Swanbeck 2-63; Day 2-30; Braydon Tressler 1-5; Fahsel 1-3; team 1-0. K, Isaiah Brimmer 5-78; Champ Grayson 7-55; Questad 1-24.