Big plays, big moments, big-time performances.
If there is a word that best describes Devven Ramos’ senior football season at Kennewick, it is “big.”
Big performances? How about 303 yards and three touchdowns against Walla Walla, or 264 and four against Pasco?
Here’s perhaps the biggest: 208 yards and three TDs in a win over Shadle Park that opened the door to the Lions’ second consecutive state playoff berth. Ramos’ performance that night also included a halfback pass for a score and three two-point conversions. At linebacker, he recorded a sack that led to a swarm of defensive pressure on SP star quarterback Brett Rypien.
“That play in particular sticks out to me because it was the first time we got to (Rypien),” Kennewick coach Bill Templeton said. “That changed the momentum a little bit.”
Big rewards? How about being named the first MVP of the new Mid-Columbia Conference, combining all seven Tri-City 3A and 4A schools plus Walla Walla?
And now, he’s MVP of the Tri-City Herald’s all-area team.
“It feels real good to get recognized, with all the hard work you put in,” Ramos said. “I’ve waited all four years in high school to get to play under the lights, in front of my family.”
Ramos is a big, physical runner, taking full advantage of his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame to run over tacklers — that is, when he is not just shucking them to the turf a la Marshawn Lynch, or using his speed to get the corner and take off down the sideline.
That combination of attributes — plus a pretty stiff offensive line — led to 1,780 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, 18 touchdowns all told and almost 2,300 all-purpose yards.
And there was that knack for long TD runs.
“When you have a kid like him who can break runs for 50, 60, 70 yards, that’s 50, 60, 70 yards you don’t have to run 10 more plays to get,” Templeton said. “That’s a lot more wiggle room not to make mistakes.
“When you have a kid like him, it just kind of raises the water level of everybody else on the team.”
Of course, Ramos had plenty of help from his teammates, and two of them were selected to the all-area first team: center Clayten Ayres and defensive end Jacob Meise. Ramos also was named first-team kick returner.
The toughest part of choosing the team was figuring out the running backs. There were enough deserving runners to run a full-house backfield with substitutions to spare.
Joining Ramos are Jonah Hoe of Walla Walla and Jalen DeVine of Hanford, with a nod going to second-teamer Kaden Diaz of Southridge.
Hoe finished the regular season as the MCC rushing leader with 1,828 yards and 17 touchdowns, ahead of Ramos’ 10-week numbers (an additional state playoff game was added to Ramos’ final total).
Ramos said there definitely was a competition among the league’s top runners, something he felt acutely when his offensive line checked the leaders each Monday.
“You always have that in the back of your mind,” he said. “You try not to be too focused on statistics, but you get into that race to see who is going to set the higher number.”
Othello’s David Garza was the choice at quarterback, one of four first-team selections from the Class 2A Huskies along with Derek Valdez at offensive line, Eric Garza at linebacker and Juston Lind at defensive back.
Kamiakin’s Javan Williams and Prosser’s Danny Raap were the choices at receiver, while the tight end was sacrificed for the extra running back.
Ayres and Valdez are joined on the offensive line by Chiawana’s Chandler Newell, Hanford’s Cody Kowalski and Pasco’s Zach Kreider. Royal dual-threat quarterback Alex Myrick is the all-purpose player and Walla Walla’s Dean Atkinson the kicker.
On defense, Meise is joined on the front line by Hanford’s Joe Douglas, Hermiston’s David Barnett and Richland’s Matt Chalmers. The linebackers are Garza, Cole Henderson of Southridge, Johnny Jansen of Kamiakin and Brady Dixon of Royal.
Williams also was selected at defensive back — the only player on first-team offense and defense — along with Lind, Jake Oram of Hanford and Tyler Morris of Liberty Christian. The punter is Zach Whitby of Richland.
Morris stands apart from the rest of the first team in two respects: He is the only Class 2B or 1B player on the squad, and he is the only one who finished the season hefting a state championship trophy.
His coach, Mike Olson, is the Herald’s coach of the year.
“It was really exciting,” Olson said of winning Liberty Christian’s first championship and accomplishing the feat with his son, Mike, playing quarterback and all his friends who grew up running around their future coach’s house. “It was all new to us. We hadn’t been to the playoffs before. Everything that we did was just really exciting. It wasn’t anything we had to worry about taking for granted.
“It just made it more special than it already was.”
TRI-CITY HERALD ALL-AREA FOOTBALL TEAM
MVP — Devven Ramos, sr., Kennewick
Coach of the year — Mike Olson, Liberty Christian
QB — David Garza, sr., Othello
RB — Jonah Hoe, sr., Walla Walla
RB — Jalen DeVine, sr., Hanford
RB — Devven Ramos, sr., Kennewick
OL — Clayten Ayres, sr., Kennewick
OL — Cody Kowalski, sr., Hanford
OL — Zach Kreider, sr., Pasco
OL — Chandler Newell, sr., Chiawana
OL — Derek Valdez, sr., Othello
WR — Danny Raap, sr., Prosser
WR — Javan Williams, sr., Kamiakin
All-purpose — Alex Myrick, sr., Royal
Kick returner — Devven Ramos, sr., Kennewick
Placekicker — Dean Atkinson, sr., Walla Walla
DL — David Bennett, sr., Hermiston
DL — Matt Chalmers, sr., Richland
DL — Joe Douglas, sr., Hanford
DL — Jacob Meise, jr., Kennewick
LB — Brady Dixon, sr., Royal
LB — Cole Henderson, sr., Southridge
LB — Johnny Jansen, sr., Kamiakin
LB — Eric Garza, sr., Othello
DB — Juston Lind, sr., Othello
DB — Tyler Morris, sr., Liberty Christian
DB — Jake Oram, sr., Hanford
DB — Javan Williams, sr., Kamiakin
Punter — Zack Whitby, jr., Richland
QB — Ryan Fassler, sr., Prosser
RB — Kaden Diaz, sr., Southridge
RB — Bubba Frank, sr., Prosser
RB — Kody Bartlett, sr., River View
OL — Spencer Combs, sr., River View
OL — Reed Leffler, sr., Royal
OL — Kayden Maughn, jr., Chiawana
OL — Will Ramos, sr., Hanford
OL — Bubba Ruiz, jr., Othello
WR — Kaden Julian, sr., Kennewick
WR — Brenden Kelly, jr., Southridge
All-purpose — Bodie Simpson, sr., Kennewick
Kick returner — Brandon Larson, jr., Kamiakin
Placekicker — Conner Mertens, sr., Southridge
DL — Jake Batease, sr., Hermiston
DL — Kyle Hall, sr., River View
DL — Zach Kreider, sr., Pasco
DL — Derek Valdez, sr., Othello
LB — Trenten Anteau, sr., Hermiston
LB — Will Bishop, jr., Hanford
LB — Alex Weber, jr., Chiawana
LB — Briar Westerfield, sr., Tri-Cities Prep
DB — Martin Althair, jr., Kennewick
DB — Dalton Estes, sr., Waitsburg-Prescott
DB — Alex Myrick, sr., Royal
DB — Addison Spivey, sr., Southridge
Punter — T.J. Avery, sr., Chiawana
QB — Kylle Robertson, jr., Kamiakin
RB — Clifton Lozano, jr., Chiawana
RB — Luis Murillo, sr., Pasco
TE — Cody O’Toole, sr., Richland
OL — Urial Carmona, sr., Royal
OL — Stefan Davidson, sr., Connell
OL — Joe Douglas, sr., Hanford
OL — Kyle Hall, sr., River View
OL — Tim Koglin, sr., Liberty Christian
WR — Sterling Clark, sr., Prosser
WR — Josh Marshall, sr., River View
All-purpose — Luke Fazzari, sr., DeSales
Kick returner — Juston Lind, sr., Othello
Placekicker — Trino Flores, jr., Prosser
DL — Kent Christensen, sr., Royal
DL — Derek Gilbert, sr., Othello
DL — Logan Reardon, sr., Walla Walla
DL — Tyler Renollet, sr., Prosser
LB — Elijah Hoefer, jr., Prosser
LB — Brandon Peterson, sr., Liberty Christian
LB — Octavio Preciado, sr., Touchet
LB — Richie Valdez, sr., Othello
DB — Ryan Baumgart, sr., DeSales
DB — Alex Campbell, sr., Hermiston
DB — Hunter Chambers, jr., Richland
DB — Aaron Eggart, sr., Walla Walla
Punter — Braiden Whitby, soph., Connell