YAKIMA -- Beset with major injuries and erratic play in recent weeks, Eisenhower's football team faces a cold, hard fact next week.
Go to Walla Walla next Friday and win.
Or that's it.
The Columbia Basin Big Nine does not have a Week 10 crossover game with Spokane for its last-place Class 4A team and that's what the Cadets are faced with if they don't beat the Blue Devils.
This precarious situation has arisen from a three-game losing streak, the latest setback coming Friday night against Richland at Zaepfel Stadium.
Jake McKinney ran for three touchdowns and 159 yards and the Bombers returned two interceptions for scores en route to a 55-21 victory that locked up second place in the CBBN 4A.
"First of all, Richland is just a very good team," said Ike coach Dan Eyman. "Yes, we're battling injuries and moving things around, but Richland had a good all-around game and just took it to us."
The Bombers (4-1, 7-1), whose only loss has been to unbeaten Chiawana, scored four touchdowns in the opening period to set the pace immediately.
Even with that electric start, Eisenhower (1-4, 4-4) had an opportunity to interrupt the Bombers' early momentum.
After Trevon Harris bolted 75 yards to bring the Cadets within 14-7, teammate Rogelio Andrade recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and Ike was back in business.
Junior quarterback Jason Easter, taking over for injured Kolney Cassel, connected with Cody Clayton for 19 yards on the first play and Ike pushed down to Richland's 5 and appeared poised to tie the game.
But on a second-and-goal play, Easter tried to hit fullback Omar Hernandez out of the backfield and Richland's Elijah Gardaya jumped the route perfectly, snagged the ball and dashed 98 yards for a 21-7 lead.
The bright spot for the Cadets was clearly Harris, who ran 25 times for 211 yards and all three of Ike's touchdowns. They were not late yards against Richland reserves, either, as the 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior scored in each of the first three quarters on runs of 75, 4 and 60 yards.
"He's fun to watch," Eyman said. "When he gets an opening, he can go."
Harris became Eisenhower's seventh 1,000-yard running back last week and with his second 200-plus game on Friday he moved to second on Ike's all-time single-season list with 1,339 yards in eight games.
The question now is will the Cadets have only one more game or two?
Walla Walla (0-5, 1-6) fell to Moses Lake 31-21 on Friday so the Ike-WW loser will finish seventh and see its season come to an end.
"Our main issue is cutting down on mistakes," Eyman noted. "Our focus all week will be to go down there and compete hard. Nobody wants to pack it in after that game."
Richland 55, Eisenhower 21
Richland 28 6 21 0 -- 55
Eisenhower 7 7 7 0 -- 21
R--Jake McKinney 32 run (kick failed)
R--Colter Quick 1 run (B.K. Robinson run)
E--Trevor Harris 75 run (Efrain Zamora kick)
R--Elijah Gardaya 98 interception return (Kevin Garza kick)
R--McKinney 1 run (Garza kick)
E--Harris 1 run (Zamora kick)
R--McKinney 5 run (run failed)
R--Gardaya 9 run (Garza kick)
R--Gage Reynolds 45 interception return (Garza kick)
E--Harris 60 run (Zamora kick)
R--Robinson 6 run (Garza kick)
RUSHING--R, McKinney 18-159, Robinson 7-53, Matt Chalmers 7-30, Quick 4-9, Gardaya 1-9, Cameron Simpson 3-5, Chris Hayes 1-(minus 4). E, Harris 25-211, Derek Molineux 3-39, Vicente Castillo 2-(minus 1), Jason Easter 5-(minus 10).
PASSING--R, Quick 10-16-0-166. E, Easter 9-18-2-56.
RECEIVING--R, Gardaya 5-72, Reynolds 2-72, Kyle Mars 1-15, Jarrod Turner 1-12, Cole Hornbeck 1-8, Keenan Carrato 1-7, Grant Gallinger 1-3. E, Denzel Jones 3-27, Cody Clayton 2-17, Taran Hernandez 1-7, Paul Rodriguez 1-4, Harris 1-2, Branden Curtis 1-(minus 1).