The host Hanford Falcons jumped out to a big lead and never looked back Friday night, beating visiting Chiawana 34-21 in a Mid-Columbia Conference football victory at Fran Rish Stadium.
Hanford’s win has turned the MCC standings into turmoil, with the Falcons and Hermiston tied for first with 4-1 record. Chiawana, which suffered its first MCC loss, and Kamiakin are right behind at 3-1.
It was a big win for Hanford, which earned only its second victory over Chiawana in school history.
The Falcons used two interceptions to their advantage to build a 21-0 lead in the first half.
“We watched a lot of film on Chiawana,” said Hanford QB Garrett Horner, who passed for 199 yards, two touchdowns and ran for another TD. “We were definitely making reads on our routes.”
Horner threw to nine different receivers.
But it was the Hanford defense that made some big plays.
After Horner, on Hanford’s third series, broke the scoreless tie with a 44-yard TD pass to Isaiah Mitchell on a post pattern, the Falcons’ Gunnar Beyer intercepted Chiawana QB Preston Vine.
Four plays later, Louis Werner bulled into the end zone from 3 yards out and a 14-0 Hanford lead.
On Chiawana’s next series, Hanford safety Gabe Martinez picked off another Vine pass. Six plays and 43 yards later, Hanford had a 21-0 lead when Horner connected on a 20-yard TD pass to Luke Sutey on another post pattern.
“We beat ourselves in that first half,” said Chiawana coach Steve Graff. “We gave them too many opportunities. The bottom line is they’ve got a whole bunch of seniors, and we don’t. We’ve got to get better.”
The Riverhawks would rally back – “That’s what a Steve Graff –coached team does,” said Hanford coach Brett Jay – but it wasn’t enough.
And the Falcons did something perhaps out of character: they ran the ball a lot in the second half to chew the clock up.
When it was over, Hanford had the football 27 minutes and 58 seconds, compared to Chiawana’s 20:02.
“I believe in our run game,” said Jay. “Whenever you can run the ball, you can take the air out of the game.”
It just wasn’t the running back everyone expected to take the air out of the game.
Senior Jared DeVine, last year’s leading rusher in the MCC, went down in the second quarter with a badly twisted ankle. DeVine tried to come back after getting his ankle retaped, but it wasn’t working.
“He’s all heart,” said Jay. “He gave it a go. That’s why I love him. But we needed to get someone in there who could do better.”
That would be junior Dylan McElderry, who finished the game with 141 yards rushing on 19 carries.
“I was hoping I’d get an opportunity,” said McElderry. “I definitely want to thank our offensive line. They definitely gave me some holes to run through. And our receivers did a great job blocking on the outside.”
Even when Chiawana rallied to within a score, though, it was McElderry who made the big play.
Leading 28-21 with 1:17 to play, the Falcons had the ball on their own 49 hoping to run out the clock.
McElderry took the handoff, found a small hole that he burst through, and was gone for a 51-yard TD run.
“I was just focused on holding onto the ball,” McElderry said. “I didn’t care if I had zero yards on the run. I didn’t want to fumble.”
No. Instead, he scored.
“Dylan has got great vision,” said Jay. “He does a good job of setting up the block.”
NOTES: Defensively, DB Gabe Martinez shined for the Falcons, collecting five tackles and two interceptions. DL Keegan Smith added five tackles (one for loss) and 2.5 QB sacks for Hanford, whileDB Alec Cruz added eight tackles. … Chiawana was paced defensively by LB AJ Vongphachanh, who had 11 tackles (one for loss). DL Hunter Williams added f ive tackles (one for loss) and two QB sacks. … Chiawana has another tough matchup next Friday, playing host to Hermiston. … Hanford steps out of MCC play next Friday and travels to Big Nine leader Sunnyside.
FALCONS 34, RIVERHAWKS 21
Chiawana 0 7 0 14 - 21
Hanford 14 7 7 6 0 - 34
Han – Isaiah Mitchell 44 pass from Garrett Horner (Xavier Uvalle kick)
Han – Louis Werner 3 run (Uvalle kick)
Han – Luke Sutey 20 pass from Horner (Uvalle kick)
Chi – Kobe Young 29 pass from Preston Vine (Ryan Lowry kick)
Han he b– Horner 2 run (Uvalle kick)
Chi – Dion Lee 15 pass from JP Zamora (Lowry kick)
Chi – Sisay West 3 pass from Zamora (Lowry kick)
Han – Dylan McElderry 51 run (kick failed)
RUSHING – Chi, AJ Vongphachanh 7-68, Gabe Schilz 9-47, Zamora 2-14, Lee 1-1, Vine 10-minus 37, Totals 29-93. Han, McElderry 19-141, Werner 6-17, Jared DeVine 5-12, Alec Cruz 1-minus 8, Horner 3-minus 20, Totals 34-142.
PASSING – Chi, Vine 7-17-2-82, Zamora 9-18-1-81, Aiden Mason 1-1-0-13. Han, Horner 19-30-0-199.
RECEIVING – Chi, Young 4-54, Schilz 5-49, Lee 3-33, Caleb Alvarez 2-19, West 2-12, Riley Cissne 1-9. Han, Mitchell 1-44, Tyler Garcia 2-36, Sutey 2-36, Gabe Martinez 5-26, Kaden Harper Lee 2-21, DeVine 2-19, Blake VanderTop 3-12, Edward DeLaPaz 1-6, McElderry 1-minus 1.
FIRST DOWNS – Chi 20, Han 18. FUMBLES-LOST – Chi 1-0, Han 0-0. PENALTIES-YARDS – Chi 7-68, Han 9-87.
HERMISTON 56, SOUTHRIDGE 0: Wyatt Noland rushed for 153 yards and scored three times as host Hermiston defeated Southridge in an MCC contest.
Hermiston quarterback Andrew James added 166 yards passing, while Bulldogs receiver Jordan Ramirez added 3 catches for 66 yards.
KAMIAKIN 31, PASCO 0: Visiting Kamiakin shut out Pasco in MCC play.
Braves QB Lucas Castilleja was 14-17 with 193 yards. He scored on a run to open the scoring, and tossed a 76 yard TD pass to Jaxon Nichols.
Nichols finished the game with 3 catches for 107 yards.
SUNNYSIDE 28, EISENHOWER 26: Visiting Sunnyside spotted Ike a 14-0 lead before rallying to win the Big Nine contest and go 2-0 in league play.
Art Fernandez rushed for 112 yards for the Grizzlies, while QB Derrick Escamilla had 200 yards of passing.
Mike Rivera caught five passes from Escamilla, covering 144 yards with two touchdowns.
EPHRATA 16, OTHELLO 0: Ephrata forced five Othello turnovers to win the CWAC North Division contest.
Isaac Barragan rushed for 74 yards for the Huskies (2-3 overall, 1-1 in CWAC North).
COLLEGE PLACE 16, RIVER VIEW 8: Brian Jerald tossed TD passes of 30 and 27 yards to Braden Schwarz, and Jesus Moreno kicked a 38-yard field goal as College Place beat River View for its first SCAC East win I of the season.
Rene Sanchez rushed for 78 yards on 14 carries for College Place.
Tre Sakota hit Rylan Naughton for a 5-yard TD pass, then the two connected again for the 2-point conversion for River View’s only points.
ROYAL 56, WARDEN 0: Alonso Hernandez scored the game’s first four touchdowns, and Royal easily coasted past Warden in an SCAC East game.
Hernandez caught a 24-yard TD pass from Knights QB Sawyer Jenks, then scored on runs of 9, 62, and 6 yards.
He finished with 151 yards rushing on just 10 carries. Jenks completed 9 of 15 passes for 149 yards and four touchdown passes. Jenks threw to eight different receivers.
BURBANK 30, LIBERTY CHRISTIAN 6: Devin Martin passed for 159 and Abraham Garcia rushed for 121 more as Columbia-Burbank beat visiting Liberty Christian in a 2B EWAC game.
Curtis Morgan passed for 213 yards for the Patriots, while Mason Knode caught 5 passes for 88 yards.