KENNEWICK -- It is no easy task figuring out the MVP of Kennewick's 53-6 drubbing of the Pendleton Buckaroos in the Lions' season opener Friday night at Lampson Stadium.
Is it Grant Woods, who ran for 104 yards and three touchdowns on nine first-half carries and provided some serious "stick 'em" from his cornerback spot?
Is it big-play 'backer Devven Ramos, who returned a fumble 50 yards for a defensive score and rumbled 57 yards for an offensive one?
The offensive line, which sealed off the running lanes for big gains; the defense, which picked off three passes, got the fumble and added three sacks and two more tackles for loss?
Or maybe it was the running clock, which made the second half fly by.
Heck, after a game like this, there are enough game balls for all.
"It felt awesome," said Woods, who scored on runs of 13, 3 and 5 yards and also broke off a 54-yard scamper that came up short of the end zone.
"I've had butterflies the entire time since third hour when we had a pep assembly."
Nerves, it seemed, were not a problem for the Lions. Not for long, anyway.
The Buckaroos, who lost 41-7 to Kennewick in this same game last season, scrapped their double-wing running attack in favor of a spread passing game this season. And it looked like they might have something on the opening series as QB Connor Johnson completed his first three passes and moved the Bucks to the Kennewick 39.
But when Johnson took a deep drop on first down, Ramos came blitzing in off the right corner untouched. His hit jarred the ball loose, and it took a lollipop hop right into Ramos' grasp with 50 yards of open field ahead of him.
It started a flood of big plays and points for Kennewick.
Linebacker T.J. Fields intercepted Johnson's next pass right in front of the Lions' student section, which went nuts when Fields' helmet popped off in a scrum and his shoulder-length hair was flying.
"You don't stop for that," he said laughing.
The short field resulted in Woods' first score. The second play on the Lions' next possession was Ramos' long breakaway run.
Two plays later, defensive end Jarrod Howell picked off a swing pass and galloped 25 yards for a score. At that point, the Lions had run just eight offensive plays but led 25-0.
"We have a lot of quick kids, and they were tired of playing against each other," said Kennewick coach Bill Templeton.
After Pendleton capped a 67-yard drive with Lathan Alger's 16-yard TD catch early in the second quarter, the Lions were back on the attack.
Reggie Clinton went up high to make a nice play for quarterback Bryce Leavitt on a
25-yard connection, and Leavitt later rewarded him with a 14-yard TD flip after making a nice play to beat the pass rush.
Shaun Smith blocked a punt to set up one score, then sprinted 25 yards around the left end for another.
That last play capped the game's scoring with 2:14 to play before halftime -- a 40-point lead in the second half keeps the clock running under WIAA rules -- and was a perfect example of how the offensive line didn't blow the Bucks off the ball, but instead sealed off lanes.
"We have a huge line and they were blocking great," said Woods, giving a nod to center Ivan Diaz and tackles Garrett Wilz and Fields. "Ivan was a beast out there. I tell him, I know this is his year."
There was one piece of bad news for the Lions, who lost Ramos to a shoulder injury. He was taken to the hospital, and Templeton wasn't sure of his status after the game.
But all in all, a good start for the Lions. And, to them, nothing less than expected.
"We go out there as usual and played hard all the way through and make plays," Fields said. "You do what you're supposed to do."
Kennewick 53, Pendleton 6
Pendleton 0 6 0 0 -- 6
Kennewick 25 28 0 0 -- 53
K--Devven Ramos 50 fumble return (kick fail)
K--Grant Woods 13 run (Paul Martinez kick)
K--Ramos 57 run (kick fail)
K--Jarrod Howell 25 interception return (kick blocked)
P--Lathan Alger 16 pass from Connor Johnson (kick fail)
K--Woods 3 run (Oscar Ramos kick)
K--Reggie Clinton 14 pass from Bryce Leavitt (O. Ramos kick)
K--Woods 5 run (O. Ramos kick)
K--Shaun Smith 25 run (O. Ramos kick)
RUSHING--P, Cain Smith 11-30, Dylan Holcomb 6-21, Johnson 3-(minus 15). K, Woods 9-104, Ramos 1-57, Smith 4-46, Hunter Scanlon 14-40, Leavitt 3-9, Kaden Julian 2-(minus 1), Bodie Simpson 1-(minus 1).
PASSING--P, Johnson 11-19-3-89, Chad McCoy 0-1-0-0. K, Leavitt 4-4-0-56.
RECEIVING--P, Tori Eaton 4-26, Alger 3-46, Adam Futter 1-7, Ian Rivera 1-9, Smith 1-1. K, Clinton 3-43, Woods 1-13.
FIRST DOWNS--P 7, K 15. FUMBLES-LOST--P 1-1, K 1-0. PENALTIES-YARDS--P 5-55, K 2-20.