KENNEWICK -- Grant Woods was in eighth grade when the Kennewick football team last won a state playoff game.
He's hoping the Lions' latest win, a 39-6 victory over Southridge in the first round of the 3A state playoffs, will leave as big an impression on future Kennewick players as the 2007 team did on him.
"To be a part of the team doing it now is awesome," Woods said. "There's got to be some eighth graders out there watching."
The senior running back gave them something to cheer about Saturday at Lampson Stadium, rushing 26 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns, and taking a screen pass 65 yards for another score to help lift Kennewick into the 3A quarterfinals next Saturday against Kamiakin.
That's the same Braves team that beat them 14-6 back in Week 4, still the Lions' ony loss.
"That's pretty neat. We get a quarterfinal rematch," Woods said. "It's going to be a big game."
Before the Lions even thought about that game, however, they had to take care of business against a Southridge squad loaded with weapons.
The Lions got to it quickly, as quarterback Bryce Leavitt threw a simple screen pass to Woods just a minute and 20 seconds into the game and watched the CBBN 3A scoring leader cruise down the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
The Suns answered back with a 12-play drive that ended with a 46-yard field goal by Chandler Mertens that cut the lead to 7-3.
That's when Leavitt and Woods, behind a punishing front five, started to take over. The two combined for 282 yards and three scores on the ground, but Leavitt set the tone with a mad scramble on third and 1 from the Kennewick 40-yard line. The 6-foot-4 senior zig-zagged back and forth across the field until, before it was over, he had a 41-yard gain.
That set up a 1-yard sneak by Leavitt that pushed the lead to 13-3.
"Watching him when he takes off, he's got these crazy legs," said Southridge linebacker/running back Chris Haueter. "His jukes are horrible, but he still gets by you. And Grant Woods, I give that dude props. He's just so good."
Of course, that all starts up front. So effective was Kennewick's rushing game that the Lions only threw four passes the whole game, and one of them was on a halfback option to Devven Ramos.
"We just played from the snap to the whistle. Our offensive line blocked really well and our defense did a nice job shutting down the run," Kennewick coach Bill Templeton said. "We're just enjoying the ride."
Mertens kicked a 23-yard field goal with just 33 seconds left in the half to cut the lead to 13-6, but that was just enough time for the Lions to put some more points on the board.
From the Kennewick 38-yard line, Woods and Leavitt combined on four rushes for 32 yards to put the Lions at the Southridge 30. Then Ramos took a pitch behind right tackle, stopped and launched a high-arcing spiral into the end zone. At first, it looked like Suns safety Matt Mendenhall was in perfect position for the interception, but Brock Schuh cut back and beat him to the ball for a touchdown
"I saw it open up. I knew if I could get it over the backside safety, it would be there," Ramos said. "(Schuh) made a good play."
That put Kennewick up 20-6 at halftime. A comfortable cushion, sure, but not entirely out of Southridge's reach. Plus, the Suns would get the ball back to begin the second half, giving them a chance to build some momentum.
The Lions defense had other ideas.
On Southridge's first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, a middle screen to Haueter, Kennewick defensive tackle Jarod Gonzales read the play, stayed at home and leaped to intercept the pass at the Suns' 21-yard line.
Two plays later, Woods ran it in from 11 yards out to put Kennewick up 26-6.
"I guess I didn't get wide enough. (Gonzales) read it perfectly," said Haueter, who was limited to seven touches all day and rushed for just two yards on six carries. "We really hoped to give them a fight and not go down so easily."
Kennewick held Southridge to 26 yards rushing, but Mendenhall threw for 228 yards, over half of those to Paul Hamada (116 yards on 11 catches). But the interception and two second-half fumbles prevented the Suns from making a run.
"They were just better than us. Up front we were just physically outmatched," Southridge coach Tony Reiboldt said. "They do what they do, and they do it well."
Bodie Simpson added an 11-yard touchdown run with 4:19 left in the third quarter to cap the scoring for the Lions.
Kennewick 39, Southridge 6
Southridge 3 3 0 0 -- 6
Kennewick 13 7 19 0 -- 39
K--Grant Woods 65 pass from Bryce Leavitt (Paul Martinez kick)
S--FG Chandler Mertens 46
K--Leavitt 1 run (kick failed)
S--FG Mertens 23
K--Brock Schuh 30 pass from Devven Ramos (Martinez kick)
K--Woods 11 run (kick failed)
K--Woods 12 run (kick failed)
K--Bodie Simpson 2 run (Martinez kick)
RUSHING--S, Kadin Diaz 6-14, Matt Mendenhall 7-10, Chris Haueter 6-2. K, Woods 26-158, Leavitt 7-124, Ramos 5-14, Simpson 2-19, Hunter Scanlin 7-25, Jesse Salazar 3-6.
PASSING--S, Mendenhall 19-36-1-228. K, Leavitt 2-3-0-74, Ramos 1-1-0-30.
RECEIVING--S, Paul Hamada 11-116, Josh Richards 2-57, Adam Sanders 1-5, Clay Gonzalez 4-18, Haueter 1-24. K, Woods 1-65, Ramos 1-9, Schuh 1-30.
FIRST DOWNS--S 13, K 21. FUMBLES-LOST--S 3-3, K 1-1. PENALTIES-YARDS--S 9-75, K 2-30.