This Kennewick High football team seems to have a flare for the dramatic.
And whatever was left of your fingernails from watching the first three games of the year, was definitely gone by the time the final buzzer sounded at Lampson Stadium on Friday night.
The Lions survived a mad scramble at the end to pull out a 21-19, come-from-behind win over rival Kamiakin to even their season record at 2-2. The win was the Lions’ first over the Braves since 2012.
“We are definitely going to enjoy this one tonight,” said Kennewick senior Talon LaFontaine. “But we need to keep building on this.”
Kennewick (2-2, 2-2) started the season 0-2, but has beaten Mid-Columbia Conference newcomer Hermiston and rival Kamiakin in consecutive weeks heading into a non-conference game against Davis next week.
“I am just really proud of our guys for battling out there,” said Kennewick coach Bill Templeton. “They just kept playing; I just proud of them.”
Kamiakin (2-2, 2-1), coming off an impressive win last week against Hanford, put together a final drive that had the crowd at Lampson on the edge of their seats. The game went down to the final play, with LaFontaine leaping in front of Jaxson Nichols in the end zone for an interception as time expired.
It was the Lions third interception of the night.
Trailing 21-19, Lucas Castilleja and the Braves got the ball with 1:45 remaining back at their own 11-yard line. After a holding penalty on the first play, the Braves needed a big third-down conversion just to get it started.
But after that first hiccup, the Braves got rolling and were at the Kennewick 15-yard line with 20 seconds remaining. But a huge sack and then LaFontaine’s interception ended the comeback bid.
“We just had to keep playing hard and just get a few stops, and we did,” LaFontaine said.
Kamiakin took a 13-7 halftime lead, but some early adjustments helped jumpstart the Lions offense. Atticus Templeton, who spent the first half at wide receiver, took over at quarterback. He helped lead the Lions to a quick touchdown to take the lead at 14-13 with 9:56 left in the third quarter.
Blaine Chavez came in on a key third down and completed a 36-yard pass to LaFontaine. Then on the next play, Templeton connected with Myles Mayovsky for a 12-yard touchdown.
Chavez had another key completion late in the third quarter, hitting LaFontaine again, this time for a 27- yard touchdown to push the Lions lead to 21-13.
“We put (Templeton) in for a change a pace in the second half,” Bill Templeton said. “But I cannot say enough about Blaine, he came in and made some great throws.”
Kennewick 21, Kamiakin 19
Ka – Tanner Sullins 3 pass from Luis Castilleja (Kaden Shymanski kick)
Ke – Talon LaFontaine 36 pass from Blaine Chavez (Ethan Woolery kick)
Ka – Niko Wiltz 10 pass from Castilleja (kick fail)
Ke – Myles Mayovsky 12 pass from Atticus Templeton (Woolery kick)
Ke – LaFontain 27 pass from Chavez(Woolery kick)
Ka – Wiltz 6 pass from Castilleja (2-point fail)
Rushing – Ke, Templeton 10-28, Woolery 9-48. Ka, Ray Chavez 16-87, Castilleja 11-12.
Passing – Ke, Chavez 5-10-1-114, Templeton 1-1-0-11. Ka, Castilleja 17-32-3-210.
Receiving – Ke, LaFontaine 3-89, Mayovsky 2-24. Ka, Wiltz 6-74, Messiah Jones 4-52.