KENNEWICK -- The moment the referee ruled the ball a fumble, the Kennewick defenders told Grant Woods not to worry they'd get the ball back.
The Lions did just that all Friday night long, dominating Mt. Spokane 27-0 in a Class 3A regional football playoff game at Lampson Stadium.
Woods fumbled inside the 15-yard line early in the third quarter and the Wildcats took the next two plays 35 yards. But the Lions defense stiffened and forced a punt.
"That was a big stop," Kennewick's Brock Schuh said. "We knew we'd get the ball back. We told Grant not to worry about it and that we'd get it back."
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After the punt, the Lions went 76 yards on seven plays highlighted by Reggie Clinton's catch-and-run 51-yard gain. Bryce Leavitt scored from 2 yards out for a 20-0 lead.
"It was only 13-0 at the half, but I felt we controlled things," Kennewick coach Bill Templeton said. "I felt like if we could punch it in, it would go a long way toward winning the game."
The victory puts the Lions into the state playoffs for the first time since 2007. Kennewick will face Southridge in the first round next weekend.
"It's an awesome feeling," Schuh said. "This is what we've worked hard for. We finally got it, now let's keep it going."
After Leavitt scored Friday, the Lions defense went right back to work, as Troy Fulton intercepted a pass at the 35-yard line.
Six plays later, Leavitt rolled out and saw Schuh open in the back of the end zone and threw a perfect pass for the final touchdown of the game.
"I thought we ran the ball well and Bryce made some nice throws when we needed him to," Templeton said. "I can't say enough about our defense. Coach (Jason) Slagle had a good game plan and the staff had the kids in the right positions and they made plays."
The Lions defense dominated the Wildcats, holding them to 142 yards, 10 first downs and forcing six punts.
"We just knew we had to play a full game," Schuh said. "We knew if we did that, we'd come out with the win.
"We knew they had a couple of good players and we knew if we just do our job, good things would happen. Shutouts are great."
Shaun Smith added a sack, as did Jake Sullins, as the defensive line gave Mount Spokane problems all night, holding its leading rusher, Chase Naccarato, to just 69 yards on 21 carries.
Early on in Friday's game, the offense was the story as Woods carried the ball on the first seven offensive plays for Kennewick. The Lions went 71 yards on 15 plays, chewing 6 minutes, 56 seconds off the clock. But the drive stalled at the 10 with no points being put on the board.
After forcing Mount Spokane to turn it over on downs, Kennewick went on another long drive, this one capped by a Woods' 10-yard touchdown run.
In the first half, the Lions had just three possessions but held the ball for more than 14 minutes.
The Lions scored right before halftime, as Leavitt led a classic 2-minute drill, going 57 yards in less than two minutes. Leavitt hooked up with Clinton from 10 yards out for the touchdown.
Leavitt finished 13 of 17 for 193 yards and the two touchdowns, while Devven Ramos had seven receptions for 71 yards. Woods finished with 97 yards on 23 carries.
Kennewick 27, Mt. Spokane 0
Mount Spokane 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Kennewick 0 13 14 0 -- 27
K--Grant Woods 10 run (kick failed)
K--Reggie Clinton 10 pass from Bryce Leavitt (Paul Martinez kick)
K--Leavitt 2 run (Martinez kick)
K--Brock Schuh 22 pass from Leavitt (Martinez kick)
RUSHING--Mount Spokane, Chase Naccarato 21-69, Skyler Davis 6-2, Zach Stensland 3-7, Shane Concepcion 1-(-6). Kennewick, Woods 23-97, Leavitt 5-21, Devven Ramos 4-27, Hunter Scantlin 6-32, Jesse Salazar 4-25, team 2-(-4).
PASSING--Mount Spokane, Davis 9-14-1--70. Kennewick, Leavitt 13-17-0--193.
RECEIVING--Mount Spokane, Concepcion 4-50, Tanner Kissinger 3-36, Naccarato 2-14. Kennewick, Ramos 7-71, Clinton 3-73, Schuh 1-22, Woods 1-20, Bodie Simpson 1-7.
FIRST DOWNS--MS, 10; K, 22. FUMBLES-LOST--MS, 0-0; K, 3-2. PENALTIES-YARDS--MS, 3-15; K, 3-25.