High School Football

Kamiakin takes aim at Capital

KENNEWICK — Capital and Kamiakin have identical records at 12-0, and each team has outscored opponents by over 30 points a game.

So don't be surprised if a lot of points are put up on the board -- although Mother Nature will do her best to keep the score down.

But when the two teams meet for the first time at 1 p.m. today in the 3A state semifinal at Lampson Stadium, expect to see two very different styles of attack.

The CBBN 3A champion Braves have done it all year with a spread offense guided by record-setting quarterback Joey Jansen and a trio of talented receivers -- A.J. Griffiths, Tyler Holle and Tim White.

Jansen, a 5-foot-10 senior, broke the Braves' single-season record for touchdown passes with two full games left in the regular season. Four games later, he's got 33 TD connections on the season, smashing the existing record of 25.

Cold weather has been known to affect passing teams, but Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin doesn't expect that to be much of a factor.

"We've been practicing outside the last couple days. We've been throwing in it," said Biglin, who starred as a quarterback at Pasco before playing for Whitworth College in Spokane. "From my playing experience, once kids start playing, the cold kind of filters out. I don't see it playing a big role in our game."

It's a minor miracle that Lampson Stadium will be ready to play after being covered by a heavy blanket of snow as late as Wednesday morning. But thanks to the Kennewick School District and a dedicated crew of volunteers, the field will be ready for the 3A semifinal as well as the 1A semifinal between Connell and Omak at 4 p.m.

"Our community got together and busted tail to get that field playable," Biglin said. "There's no snow, just a little leftover stuff we're trying to kick off. For the most part, it's green and it's playable."

Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane wasn't so lucky. The 2A semifinal between East Valley (Spokane) and Tumwater and the 4A semifinal between Ferris and Bellarmine Prep to be played there today have both been moved to Monday at the Tacoma Dome. The 2A game will begin at 2 p.m., followed by the 4A contest at 5 p.m.

Fifth-ranked Kamiakin led the league in offense but the Braves' most underrated unit was its defense, which held opponents to just 212.6 yards a game through the regular season.

But they'll certainly have their hands full against Capital, the Narrows League champion.

"They're going to impose their power on you. They want to come out and hit you in the mouth," Biglin said.

The Cougars, who are making their third consecutive state appearance and 18th overall, have used a smash-mouth type of ground attack anchored by running back Tyler Sundberg. The 5-11, 195-pound senior has rushed for 2,475 yards this season, just 201 shy of the single-season state record, and 29 touchdowns.

But Capital is by no means one-dimensional. The second-ranked Cougars also have a solid quarterback in Alex Everson and a capable crew of receivers who can break open a game in an instant. They've also got a great defense that has posted four shutouts this season.

"We've balanced it out all year. Some people might think we're run-heavy because we have Tyler, but we've had five kids score touchdowns in a game this year," said coach J.D. Johnson, now in his fourth year at Capital. "I think special teams will play a huge role. (Kamiakin) has a great return man that can do a lot of things. We've got to make sure we account for him."