PASCO -- The Chiawana Riverhawks' dream season was struck a devastating blow Friday.
On their third play of the game, the Riverhawks lost all-state running back Jordan Downing to an ankle injury that could possibly sideline him the rest of the season.
A stunned Chiawana team eventually ground out a 38-9 victory against visiting Moses Lake at Edgar Brown Stadium, but did so with a pall over its sideline.
"You can see what he means to this team," Chiawana coach Steve Graff said. "We didn't play with a whole lot of enthusiasm after he got hurt. We played well enough to win.
"You win a game and lose one of your best guys. It's tough, but we'll move on."
Downing, also a talented linebacker, scored a touchdown early in the first quarter, after Moses Lake fumbled on the first play of the game. Two plays later, Downing punched it in for a quick 6-0 lead.
After a three-and-out by Moses Lake, Downing went to the left on a first-down handoff and got twisted up by the defense. He remained down on the turf for a few minutes before being helped off the field, never to return.
The loss leaves not only a big hole offensively, but also a gaping hole on defense, especially with state-ranked Davis looming next week.
"It's a big blow," said Chiawana's C.J. Edrington, a wide receiver and defensive back. "We can't replace him. He's not likely to come back, so regardless of the number in the backfield, we have to step up."
Edrington did his part defensively Friday, intercepting a pass and returning a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown for a 29-3 lead early in the fourth quarter. The fumble return blew the game open, as the Chiefs had hung around thanks to a few mistakes by Chiawana, including a goal-line fumble by Downing's backup, Terro Bell.
"We practice the scoop and score in practice every other day," Edrington said. "It's not often it bounces right to you."
Bell got his revenge however, finishing with 166 yards on 33 carries with two scores.
Edrington caught six passes for 105 yards and another score on offense, including Chiawana's second touchdown of the night where he found himself wide open after Moses Lake bit on a short route to Miquiyah Zamora.
Moses Lake was without starting quarterback Justin Simmons, though backup Jordan Koon played fairly well. Koon threw a touchdown pass to Cameron Ballard, but the Chiefs were limited to 11 first downs.
Despite the victory, the mood of the Riverhawks was perhaps best summed up by a fan after the game: "How are we going to go to state now?"
"It's a big blow," Edrington said. "(Downing) is one of our biggest leaders. He will be missed both offensively and defensively."
Chiawana 38, Moses Lake 9
Moses Lake 3 0 0 6 -- 9
Chiawana 6 9 0 23 -- 38
C, Jordan Downing 1 run (kick failed)
ML, FG Elliott Sage 26
C, CJ Edrington 25 pass from Joey Zamora (run failed)
C, FG Isaac Mitz 33
C, Terro Bell 10 run (Mitz kick)
C, Edrington 52 fumble return (Mitz kick)
ML, Cameron Ballard 38 pass from Jordan Koon (pass failed)
C, FG Mitz 19
C, Bell 40 run (kick failed)
RUSHING--ML, Cameron Law 14-78, Koon 19-44, Steven Cline 4-14; C, Bell 33-166, Zamora 2-8, Downing 3-7, Jordan Aviles 1-(-6).
PASSING--ML, Koon 3-12-1--76; C, Zamora 10-14-0--164.
RECEIVING--ML, AJ Johnson 2-38, Ballard 1-38; C, Edrington 6-105, Miquiyah Zamora 4-59.
FIRST DOWNS--ML, 11; C, 12. FUMBLES-LOST--ML, 3-2; C, 2-2. PENALTIES-YARDS--ML, 5-45; C, 1-10.