The Kamiakin Braves needed to make amends for last week’s overtime loss to Ferndale, but not necessarily to the fans or to their parents or the coaches.
The Braves players needed to get right with themselves.
They got square with a 54-6 win over Hermiston, the Oregon Class 5A defending state champion, on Friday night at Lampson Stadium.
“I think we were a little hungry. We needed a win,” Kamiakin quarterback Zach Borisch said after completing 7 of 9 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. “We were a little upset Saturday, driving seven hours and coming home with a loss. That was pretty tough.”
The Braves didn’t waste any time getting on the board after stopping the Bulldogs’ initial drive. Kamiakin put three touchdowns on the board in the first quarter and three more in the second to take a 40-0 halftime lead.
Jethro Questad made a big statement in the first half, carrying 10 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns behind the Braves’ mammoth offensive line.
“We started out of the gate fast. Usually we start slow. Today we were pretty motivated,” Questad said.
The game didn’t completely atone for last week’s loss — Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin noted some special teams glitches — but it was good enough to put a smile back on the seventh-year coach’s face.
“It shows our guys if we want to work hard, good things are going to happen,” Biglin said. “Last week we thought we could walk in (to Ferndale) and cruise, but we got an eye-opener. This week, we came in with a good focus and it paid off.”
Play of the game
Kamiakin had just scored it’s first touchdown, capping a six-play, 74-yard drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Borisch to Benson Smith with 7:29 left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Hermiston kickoff return man Andrew Horm got hit hard and fumbled inside the 10. John Mantanona recovered for the Braves, setting up a 9-yard touchdown run by Questad to make it 14-0.
That’s when the Hermiston sideline started to lose some energy.
Nail in the coffin
The Braves led 20-0 in the second quarter and forced a punt with 8 minutes left in the half. Bulldogs punter Robert Coleman rolled to his right, hoping to get off a rugby-style punt, but his kick was blocked by Mike Jones, keeping the ball in Hermiston territory.
Kamiakin set up at the Bulldogs’ 35 yard line and punched it in five plays later on Questad’s second touchdown of the day, which made it 26-0.
Austin Crawford was a beast on defense, recording three sacks, one tackle for loss in keeping Hermiston quarterback Dayshawn Neal from breaking any big plays.
Crawford even made a touchdown-saving tackle in the third-quarter, getting Vaemu Ena by the shoestrings to prevent a score.
Jace Navejas also was in the right place at the right time in the second quarter, stepping in front of Neal’s ill-advised pass in his own zone. Navejas intercepted it at the Hermiston 6 and waltzed into the end zone to put Kamiakin up 40-0.
K—Benson Smith 35 pass from Zach Borisch (Garrett Paxton kick)
K—Jethro Questad 9 run (run fail)
K—Gavin Crow 27 pass from Borisch (Paxton kick)
K—Questad 3 run (pass fail)
K—Questad 13 run (Paxton kick)
K—Jace Navejas 6 interception return (Paxton kick)
K—Isaiah Brimmer 11 pass from Peyton Flynn (Andrew Scrimsher kick)
H—Dayshawn Neal 20 run (run fail)
K—Ryan Dearing 72 run (Scrimsher kick)
RUSHING — H, Johnathan Hinkle 16-35, Neal 10-32, Joey Gutierrez 2-3, Andrew Horn 1-4, Vaemu Ena 2-31. K, Questad 10-103, Borisch 4-8, Justin Larsen 1-3, John Mantanona 4-25, A.J. Comstock 8-32, Parker Larson 1-0, Dearing 1-72.
PASSING — H, Neal 4-10-1-23. K, Borisch 7-9-0-134, Flynn 2-2-0-37
RECEIVING — H, Nathan Hunsaker 1-4, Hinkle 1-0, Robert Coleman 2-13. K, Navejas 2-42, Smith 1-35, Logan Smith 2-20, Brimmer 2-18, Crow 2-56.