Don’t look now, but the Hanford football team is 2-0 on the young season.
OK, maybe stop and look. The Falcons overcame an early deficit Friday night and cruised to a 34-14 victory over West Valley at Fran Rish Stadium.
The win comes on the heels of a victory over Hermiston, the defending Oregon 5A state champions. And while it is really too early to look too far ahead, the Falcons will be getting some attention. The Falcons gave up two big plays on West Valley’s first drive of the game as the Rams jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead. That was their last score until the game was out of hand in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. And the final touchdown came on a late turnover with most of the starters resting on the sideline.
In between the Rams’ two touchdowns, Hanford looked impressive at times led by quarterback Desmond Samples. The junior hit a couple early seam routes up the field and relied on the running of Elwood Davis.
But it was the defense that looked good all night as the Rams could never establish their running game and struggled in the passing game.
Hanford allowed just 77 yards of offense in the second half.
West Valley wasted little time in jumping out to the early lead. After Hanford had its first drive stalled by a fumble, the Rams exploded down the field. After a 37-yard pass play on second down, Garrett Wells shed tacklers down the left sideline on his way to a 46-yard touchdown run with 9:48 left in the first quarter.
West Valley would not find the end zone again until 2:48 left in the game. On the game clock that equates to 43 minutes without a score. In real time for a game that last three hours, it was about 2 hours, 45 minutes.
Hanford answered the Rams’ touchdown on its next possession to even the score at 7 with 7:50 remaining in the opening quarter.
Then it was time for the first big defensive play of the night. Wells was stood up for a loss on a first-down run and Taren Rosa wrestled the ball out of Wells’ hands and sprinted untouched down the sideline for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 14-7 lead. It was the first of three West Valley turnovers on the night.
Finding a Rhythm
Samples had a hot-and-cold night throwing the ball for the Falcons. The good news is he made some great throws on the run and found some tight seams in the Rams’ defense that resulted in two touchdown passes.
On the flipside, he went through a string in the second quarter where he was just 2-of-13 with an interception. For the night, Samples was 21 of 43 passing for 207 yards. He had one interception and two touchdowns. He also added a rushing TD, carrying the ball 12 times for 132 yards.
W – Garrett Wells 46 run (Austin Stromme kick)
H – Desmond Samples 1 run (Woody Page kick)
H – Taren Rosa 58 fumble return (kick fail)
H – Elwood Davis 29 run (Page kick)
H – Kevon Skinner 30 pass from Samples (Page kick)
H – Skinner 12 pass from Samples (Page kick)
W – Ryan Bickler 1 run (Stromme kick)
RUSHING – W, Bickler 2-2, #8 4-5, Quinton Stromme 1-(minus-2), Wells 19-97, Justin Vandebrake 1-3. H, Joe Gauthier 3-7, Samples 12-132, Davis 19-125, Mateo Valadez 6-9.
PASSING – W, #8 6-12-0-43, Q. Stromme 5-16-1-118. H, Samples 21-43-1-207.
RECEIVING – W, #27 1-15, David Lindgren 3-57, Mason Sali-Orvald 3-60, Vandebrake 3-26, Jacob Caffrey 1-16. H, Josiah Richardson 3-58, Thomas Kitchens 1-7, Davis 10-50, Gavin Slack 2-2, Kendrick Skinner 2-7, Josh Betzhold 1-6, Gauthier 1-10.