Hear what Richland football has to offer this season
Well, it’s about time. High school football is finally back and in full swing.
No more long, summer workouts. No more having to hit your own teammate in practices.
Now players get to hit someone in a different uniform as the first Friday night of the season rolls around.
And the biggest game to start the 2019 season has to be in the Mid-Columbia Conference, where last season’s top two teams — Chiawana and Richland — square off right out of the gate.
Steve Graff, the head coach at Chiawana, really likes the speed of his team.
Richland coach Mike Neidhold is expecting big things out of new starting quarterback Harrison Westover.
To top it off, these two coaches are best of friends.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m., Friday, at Fran Rish Stadium.
Quick look at area games this weekend:
Chiawana at Richland, 7 p.m., Friday, Fran Rish Stadium
Sophomore JP Zamora gets the start at quarterback from the first snap this year for Chiawana, and he has plenty of speedy targets to throw to: Dion Lee, Kobe Young, Kobe Singleton, Cameron Breier, etc.
In addition, keep an eye on Riley Cissne and Gabe Schilz. They will get carries out of the backfield. But on defense, they’ll move up from the secondary to the linebacker position so that they’re in the middle of the action.
Meanwhile, Neidhold is looking to Westover to step in at quarterback and run the Bombers offense. Westover will depend on Ben Fewel, who might have been Richland’s fastest receiver last season as a junior. Sam Stanfield will get touches at running back.
Hanford at Kennewick, 7 p.m., Friday, Lampson Stadium
The first thought is these teams — both who made the regional playoffs last season — have two of the better offensive lines. Hanford returns four of five starters from last season. Kennewick has the McElroy twins, Baylor and Baiden.
But the visiting Falcons also have Easton Wise-Hyde at QB and Dylan McElderry at running back.
The Lions will counter with QB Blaine Chavez, RB Myles Mayovsky. And watch out for sophomore WR Simeon Howard.
Liberty Christian vs. Tri-Cities Prep, at Chiawana High
Another contest in which two of the top teams in their league — in this case, the 2B Eastern Washington Athletic Conference —meet at the outset of the regular season.
The visiting Patriots bring in the Morgan twins — quarterback Curtis and running back Nathan — and their high-powered offense.
Linebacker Jacob Levy will lead a Tri-Cities Prep defense in trying to stop Liberty Christian.
Meanwhile, Jaguars coach Dan Whitsett will be happy to see junior QB Dante Maiuri back at the helm after being injured last year.
Other region games
All kickoffs 7 p.m., unless noted otherwise.
Hermiston at Pasco, Edgar Brown Stadium: The battle of the Bulldogs in an MCC opener. Pasco’s defense must deal with how to handle big linemen Chase Bradshaw and Dustyn Coughlin, and the speedy all-everything Garrett Walchli. Hermiston has to figure out Pasco QB Armani Reyes and his bevy of speedy receivers.
Southridge at Walla Walla, Borleske Stadium: Two teams that struggled last year meet in this MCC opener. Can the Blue Devils stop Southridge WR Caleb Cook-Parker? Can the Suns contain speedy Wa-Hi RB Josiah Wik?
Sunnyside at Prosser, Fiker Stadium: Big neighborhood non-league battle. Visiting Grizzlies bring in standout and speedy WR-DB Mike Rivera. Mustangs will counter with Haden Hicks, making his debut as the quarterback.
Cle Elum-Roslyn at River View: Panthers coach Bryce Kennell is excited about his senior-laden team, which opens at home. Spencer Weatherby should have a big season on both sides of the ball for River View, at running back and defensive back.
Columbia-Burbank at Dayton-Waitsburg: Running backs Abe Garcia and Jake Debord will hope to get the visiting Coyotes off on the right foot against an EWAC opponent, although this is a non-league contest.
Connell at Othello: Rough, tough neighborhood non-league battle. Connell has RB Jekoby Tuttle looking to have another big year. Othello counters with BYU-bound Isaiah Perez, who will also run the ball but spearhead a tough Huskies defense.
Grandview at Kiona-Benton: Non-league game featuring two improved teams. Visiting Greyhounds have some talent on defensive side with DB Ferrell Medina and OLB Dominik Sanchez.
Mabton at Granger: (1 p.m., Saturday): Mabton’s super sophmores — QB-DB Andrez Zavala, WR-DB Alfredo Gonzales, and WR-DB Jesus Carreon — open with an afternoon game.
Okanagan at Warden: QB Ryan Arredondo and RB Holden Hayworth expect to do some offensive damage to their visitors in a non-league game.
College Place at Highland: The visiting Hawks have high expectations this season. QB Brian Jerald leads the offense, while LB Joel Brown spearheads the defense.
Royal at Ellensburg: Two powerhouses — Royal in 1A, Ellensburg in 2A. Lorenzo Myrick leads visiting Knights against former CWU coach Jeff Zenisek, who makes his Bulldogs coaching debut.
Sunnyside Christian at DeSales: DeSales makes its 8-man debut against state power Sunnyside Christian. Fortunately, this is a non-league contest this first time around.
Wapato at Wahluke: Oscar Rodriguez makes his debut as QB for the host Warriors in this non-league opener.
- The Pasco-Chiawana girls soccer match at noon Saturday is actually at Chiawana High School.
- The Kamiakin-Gonzaga Prep girls soccer match Friday has been moved from Richland High. Now the game is set for 5 p.m. Friday at CBC.