We’re only two games into the 2019 football season, but one thing already seems definitely clear: Chiawana’s defensive unit is something special.
The Riverhawks forced eight – yes, eight – turnovers on Friday night, turning them into 30 points that helped host Chiawana rout a talented Kennewick team 37-0.
The win gives the Riverhawks a 2-0 Mid-Columbia Conference record, and they already sit alone atop the standings.
“We had eight of them,” said Kennewick coach Randy Affholter of the Lions’ turnovers. “That’s the game. That’s the difference in the game right there.”
Chiawana coach Steve Graff just smiled when asked after the game about the defense, and said one word: “Chaos.”
It was all over the field in the shape of the following players:
• Sophomore linebacker Gerry Alonso was credited with 4 tackles (two for loss), a pass breakup, and an interception.
• Junior safety Aarloh Valdovinos added 4 tackles, a pass breakup and an interception.
• Junior linebacker Cameron Breier had 5 tackles (two for losses).
• Senior linebacker Riley Cissne added 4 tackles, a cover and a fumble recovery.
And then there was junior safety Aiden Mason, the best of them all Friday night.
Mason scored the game’s first touchdown when he was closing in on Kennewick running back Myles Mayovsky on a running play at midfield in the first quarter.
But Chiawana teammate Bridger Feldmann got to Mayovsky first, as the defensive end smacked the Lions running back hard, forcing the ball to pop out to the fast-closing Mason. He caught the ball mid-air in full stride at the 50 and raced untouched for a touchdown.
In the second half, Mason added two interceptions of Kennewick QB Blaine Chavez, who was picked five times by the Riverhawks.
“We’ve got a lot of speed on this defense,” said Mason. “We’ve moved some players around on defense, and it’s worked. Our goal tonight was to shut Kennewick down.”
Graff said he and his staff were mostly worried about the bigger Kennewick players, and how to stop Mayovsky.
No problems on either count, as Mayovsky was held to 18 yards on 14 carries.
“They did a great job,” Graff said. “I wasn’t sure they were going to do it.”
All in all, a really fun night for the Riverhawks defense.
It was enough to make Chiawana running back Gabe Schilz wish he was back in the secondary, like he was last year.
“I miss playing with them,” said Schilz. “I thought we had a great defense last season. But this one could be better.”
Instead, Schilz – now concentrating on running the football — had to settle for rushing for 92 yards and TD runs of 4, 1 and 57.
He said the offense was worried about the Lions’ size.
“But our defense did a great job,” said Schilz. “And a lot of our (offensive) linemen aren’t as big as they are, but our guys work their butts off.”
Indeed. While both lines average about the same weight of 240, the Lions to a man are 3 inches taller than Chiawana.
“Offensively, I thought the biggest thing we could control was up front,” said Affholter. “But we didn’t.”
NOTES: It wasn’t all good news for Chiawana. Senior WR-DB Kobe Singleton may have injured his knee in the first half jumping high for a Chavez pass. Singleton landed hard on his feet, and went down fast. “He’ll have an MRI on Monday,” said Graff. … Chiawana travels to Walla Walla next Friday, while Kennewick plays host to Hermiston the same night.
RIVERHAWKS 37, LIONS 0
Kennewick 0 0 0 0 — 0
Chiawana 10 14 13 0 — 37
SCORING PLAYS Chi – FG 27 Evan Dawes Chi – Aiden Mason 50 fumble return (Dawes kick) Chi – Gabe Schilz 4 run (Dawes kick) Chi – Schilz 1 run (Dawes kick) Chi – Schilz 57 run (kick blocked) Chi – Dion Lee 33 pass from JP Zamora (Dawes kick)
RUSHING – Ken, Erick Mora 5-20, Bronson Childs 2-18, Ethan Woolery 5-19, Myles Mayovsky 14-18, Blaine Chavez 1-0, Team 1-minus 13, Total 28-59. Chi, Schilz 18-92, Marvell Cooks 6-26, Emmett Smillie 1-7, Joseph Golser 1-4, Riley Cissne 1-minus 4, Zamora 2-minus 7, Total 29-118.
PASSING – Ken, Chavez 12-31-5-133, B.Childs 1-1-0-9. Chi, Zamora 10-22-2-179.
RECEIVING – Ken, Max Mayer 2-49, Simeon Howard 4-42, Tysin Hale 1-20, Ayden Knapik 1-9, Elijah Tanner 1-8, Jonah Wilcott 2-8, Kaleb Stevenson 1-4, Bryson Knapik 1-2. Chi, Lee 3-76, Preston Vine 2-28, Schilz 1-26, Cameron Breier 1-20, Cooks 1-19, Kobe Young 1-9, Kaden Davis 1-1.
FIRST DOWNS – Ken 12, Chi 11.
PENALTIES-YARDS – Ken 10-60, Chi 8-82. FUMBLES-LOST – Ken 3-3, Chi 1-1.
Jeff Morrow is the former sports editor of the Herald.