RICHLAND -- Two things happened when the Chiawana Riverhawks headed into the locker room at Fran Rish Stadium in Richland trailing the Bombers 14-6.
Miquiyah Zamora stood up and challenged his teammates with an emotional half-time plea after a subpar first half.
Then, Riverhawks coach Steve Graff got in the face of his senior all-state running back Jordan Downing, who is also a returning all-CBBN 4A linebacker.
"I told him he wasn't going to play defense in the second half," Graff said after the game. "It pissed him off."
Downing responded in a big way, rushing for 130 of his 181 yards in the second half and making a clutch interception on a critical Richland drive in the fourth quarter to help lift Chiawana to a 22-14 win.
Downing also finished with seven tackles and three rushing touchdowns, bringing his CBBN-leading total to 11.
"You can't take anything away from Richland. They came out and hit us in the mouth," Downing said. "(Graff) has done that before, but I'm a competitor. The coaches do enough to prepare us for Friday. We had to decide how we wanted to respond in the second half."
Richland got off on the right foot on its first drive, going 77 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead. B.K. Robinson capped the drive with a 9-yard touchdown catch from Colter Quick, bouncing off would-be tacklers Zach Flieger and Zamora before breaking the plane.
Robinson, playing on an injured ankle, also launched himself over a pile of defenders at the goal line on the final play of the half, completing a 6-yard run for a 14-6 Bombers' lead.
"We've been waiting for this game since last year," said Robinson of Chiawana's 17-7 win over Richland in 2010. "We thought we had this one, but they made the right adjustments in the second half."
The Bombers had a chance at an even bigger first-half lead when Ellijah Gardaya appeared to recover a muffed punt return by Riverhawks return man C.J. Edrington with six minutes left in the first half. But a holding call on the Bombers brought the play back, and a bad snap on a Richland punt attempt set Chiawana up at the Bombers' 7-yard line. Downing scored two plays later to cut it to 7-6.
But Robinson capped the Bombers' next drive -- a 14-play, 64-yard effort -- with his second TD of the game.
"He's a tough kid. He's at a point in his football life where this is it. And he plays like it," said Richland coach Mike Neidhold.
Zamora, a returning all-CBBN receiver and cornerback, didn't catch a pass in the first half. He wanted to turn things around in the second half, and he wanted his teammates to join him. So he delivered an impassioned speech to fire up his fellow players.
"Richland called us out. We're not true champions until we defend our title," Zamora said. "I needed everybody behind me."
Isaac Mitz kicked a 23-yard field goal to cut Richland's lead to 14-9 in the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Downing changed the game, jumping in front of Gardaya and picked off a touch pass from Quick in the left flat to halt a promising Bombers' drive.
"I was in the right place at the right time, but it's part of knowing their tendencies," Downing said. "I knew if (Quick) turned his back I'd have a chance at jumping the route."
Zamora also did his part in the second half. After a fruitless first half, he caught five passes for 55 yards from his cousin -- Riverhawks quarterback Joey Zamora -- including a 23-yard fade on fourth-and-3 to set up Downing's go-ahead score, which made it 15-14.
The Bombers had one more good drive in them, going 36 yards on 13 plays to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt by Q Taychack that would have put the Bombers ahead. But he came up short.
"We're asking a lot of that kid to hit a (47-) yarder, but he's as good a kicker as we've ever had here," said Neidhold, noting that Taychack has hit from 50 in practice.
On the Riverhawks' next play from scrimmage, Downing broke off a 69-yard run to set up Chiawana's final score, a 7-yard plunge from Downing.
"When I challenged them at the half, I told them this is what the real games are going to be like," Graff said. "The seniors stepped up."
Chiawana 22, Richland 14
Chiawana 0 6 3 13 -- 22
Richland 7 7 0 0 -- 14
R--B.K. Robinson 9 pass from Colter Quick (Q Taychack kick)
C--Jordan Downing 1 run (kick failed)
R--Robinson 6 run (Taychack kick)
C--FG Isaac Mitz 23
C--Downing 2 run (pass failed)
C--Downing 7 run (Mitz kick)
RUSHING--C, Downing 20-181, Joey Zamora 3-(minus 5), Terro Bell 1-4. R, Robinson 20-139, Quick 6-18, Cameron Simpson 11-34.
PASSING--C, JZamora 10-16-0-113. R, Quick 16-27-2-121.
RECEIVING--C, C.J. Edrington 3-42, Mitz 1-12, Miquiyah Zamora 5-55, Zach Flieger 1-4. R, Ellijah Gardaya 4-53, Mason Baird 2-(minus 4), Robinson 1-9, Ethan Whitby 4-24, Deric Samples 4-18, Sheldon Liikala 1-11, .
FIRST DOWNS--C 11, R 17. FUMBLES-LOST--C 2-1, R 3-0. PENALTIES-YARDS--C 2-25, R 5-45.