High School Football

Moses Lake rallies past Hanford (w/ video)

RICHLAND -- There were a lot of weapons on display Thursday night in the nonconference opener between Moses Lake and Hanford at Fran Rish Stadium.

The Chiefs, however, had the biggest in Josh Loera.

The senior quarterback completed 21 of 32 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-21 win over the Falcons, leading four second-half scoring drives to erase a 21-20 halftime deficit.

And Loera, in turn, had his own weapons to choose from between junior receivers Billy Brice and Chris Richardson, who combined for 13 catches, 218 yards and three touchdowns.

"I'm really comfortable throwing to them," Loera said. "I feel like I can throw to any of our four receivers."

In fact, Loera completed passes to five different receivers, but also did some damage on the ground, rushing 10 times for 85 yards -- 67 of them in the second half -- as the Falcons struggled to contain the returning all-league quarterback.

"They got rolling and we did got fatigued," said Hanford coach Rob Oram after watching his team give up 20 unanswered points in the second half. "We didn't get it done in the second half, and that's why they hired me. I'm as disappointed as I've ever been."

But the Falcons, coming off a 3-7 season, had a strong first half, coming back from deficits of 7-0 and 20-7 as the Hanford defense stopped Moses Lake twice in the red zone.

"We had a good first half. We played with great confidence," Oram said. "We went down, but we weren't really concerned."

Chiefs' running back Michael Thomas scored the game's first touchdown on a 3-yard run on the game's opening drive, but the Falcons answered quickly.

Kody Winsor took a handoff and jetted around right tackle Matt Latka for a 92-yard touchdown to even the game at 7.

But Loera connected with Brice on the next two drives for TDs, including one play off a botched snap. On the third play of the second quarter, Loera wheeled around, picked up the bouncing ball, rolled to his right and found Brice down the right sideline for a 70-yard score.

The Falcons defense put up a goal-line stand on the Chiefs' next drive and began to come back.

Quarterback Travis Chalk hit Kyle Wagar for a pair of TD passes of 20 and 35 yards to end the half 21-20.

"I wouldn't have expected such high scoring," Moses Lake coach Greg Kittrell said. "I would have expected more turnovers and less scoring."

There was certainly more scoring to be done in the second half, and it all came from Chiefs.

Chalk tossed a pair of interceptions and completed just three passes in the second half. The Falcons missed another opportunity to extend a drive as Chalk tried a fake punt in the third quarter with Moses Lake leading 23-21.

He was knocked out of bounds close to the first-down marker, but the referees spotted the ball inches short of the stick, and Hanford turned the ball over on downs.

"That was huge," said Kittrell, who watched the Falcons convert a fake punt in the first half. "I'll give them credit for their fakes. But I thought we adjusted well."

Chiefs 43, Falcons 21

Moses Lake 13 7 10 13 -- 43
Hanford 7 14 0 0 -- 21

Scoring plays

ML--Michael Thomas 3 run (Dylan Signorelli kick)

H--Kody Winsor 92 run (Joe Clements kick)

ML--Billy Brice 8 pass from Josh Loera (kick failed)

ML--Brice 70 pass from Loera (Signorelli kick)

H--Kyle Wagar 22 pass from Travis Chalk (Clements kick)

H--Wagar 35 pass from Chalk (Clements kick)

ML--FG Signorelli 25

ML--Thomas 1 run (Signorelli kick)

ML--Chris Richardson 8 pass from Loera (Signorelli kick)

ML--Signorelli 14 run (kick blocked)

Statistics

Rushing--ML, Thomas 20-99, Loera 10-85, Kyle Coreill 5-7, Signorelli 1-7, Anthony Hernandez 1-0, Colton Messer 2-8. H, Winsor 4-99, Chalk 12-10, Cameron Wagar 2-1, Tony Griggs-Smith 1-0, Nick Betzsold 7-74, Jordan Geiszler 1-9.

Passing--ML, Loera 21-33-1-260. Chalk 6-13-2-92.

Receiving--ML, Brice 7-135, Richardson 8-83, Isac Bergeson 2-13, Jordan Wilks 3-18, Mitch Hill 1-2. H, K.Wagar 2-57, Thor Buchanan 1-25, Winsor 1-5, Betzsold 2-2.

First downs--ML 24, H 10. Fumbles-lost--ML 0-0, H 3-1. Penalties-yards--ML 8-70, H 8-92.

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