RICHLAND -- Both Chiawana football Steve Graff and Hanford coach Rob Oram were looking for answers Friday night.
After the Riverhawks defeated a tough and determined Hanford team 24-0 at Fran Rish Stadium, both coaches were pleased with some of what they discovered about their teams.
For Graff and his defending Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A champions, the question was how sophomore quarterback Joey Zamora would fare in his first varsity action.
"He looked great at times," Graff said. "And at times, he looked like a sophomore. He'll get better as the season progresses."
Among Zamora's 16 completions for 181 yards were a number of very difficult touch passes across the field to wide out C.J. Edrington and a couple of picture-perfect passes downfield to his cousin, Miquiyah Zamora.
For Oram, the issue was how well his young Hanford team would fare against a state-ranked Chiawana team.
The Falcons, who start seven underclassmen on each side of the ball, more than held their own against the heavily favored Riverhawks for most of the game and, if not for a couple of ill-timed face-mask penalties, might have been able to stay within a single touchdown of Chiawana.
"I'm very encouraged by the level of our physical play and our effort," Oram said. "But let me tell you what, we expected to win. I'm just a little disappointed in our execution. We need to do a better job as a coaching staff."
As might be expected in the first game of the season, both coaches experimented with personnel. Graff gave all-league running back Jordan Downing much of the third quarter off in favor of speedy backup Terro Bell, and Oram played a different junior quarterback in each half -- Brennan Rains in the first and Austin Forsyth in the second.
"We wanted to see Terro," Graff said. "And it's a long season. Jordan is going to take a beating every week."
The statistical highlight of the game for Hanford was the performance of junior running back Jalen DeVine, who rushed for 189 yards on 27 carries. Downing finished the night with 81 yards on 20 carries, despite having a 46-yard touchdown run called back.
Chiawana's first touchdown came when Downing finished off a 31-yard drive, set up by one of Hanford's three face mask penalties, with a tough 1-yard run into the end zone with 9:10 left in the second quarter.
The Riverhawks went up 10-0 when Isaac Mitz drilled a 29-yard field goal with just 46.2 seconds left in the first half.
Chiawana put the game away on its first possession of the third quarter. The Riverhawks took possession on their own 38 after a Hanford punt, and Downing took over.
The 200-pound senior bulled his way for 51 yards on eight carries during the drive, to set up Zamora's perfect three-yard slant pass to Edrington with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Riverhawks final score was the result of another short pass from Zamora to Edrington. With the ball on the Hanford 16, Edrington caught Zamora's pass near the line of scrimmage, broke one tackle, then faked the last Hanford defender before racing into the end zone 7:58 left in the game.
Edrington and Miquiyah Zamora keep the Hanford secondary off balance all night. Zamora caught eight passes for 94 yards, and Edrington caught eight passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Chiawana 24, Hanford 0
Chiawana 0 10 7 7 -- 24
Hanford 0 0 0 0 -- 0
C--Jordan Downing 1 run (Isaac Mitz kick)
C--FG Mitz 29
C--C.J. Edrington 3 pass from Joey Zamora (Mitz kick)
C--Edrington 16 pass from J. Zamora (Mitz kick)
RUSHING--C, Downing 20-81, Terro Bell 6-10, J. Zamora 2-8. H, Jalen DeVine 27-189, Brennan Rains 2-40, Isaac Benard 1-0, Will Bishop 2-6.
PASSING--C, J. Zamora 16-27-0--181. H, Rains 3-4-0-52, Austin Forsyth 2-4-0--12.
RECEIVING--C, Miquiyah Zamora 8-94, Edrington 8-91. H, Tyler Sanchez 1-5, Marquise Green 2-47, Matt Jones 1-12, Ryan Boord 1-0.