It didn’t take Richland long to ruin Kennewick’s homecoming.
The Bombers allowed only one first-half first down, led 28-0 at the break and the final score was the only thing left in question.
Richland cruised to a 35-7 Mid-Columbia Conference victory Friday night at Lampson Stadium.
“We wanted to start fast,” Richland coach Mike Neidhold said. “The Richland-Kennewick game can go any way. We wanted to get up quick.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
The Bombers took Neidhold’s words to heart as Lakota Wills rumbled 42 yards on Richland’s third offensive play to give the Bombers a 7-0 lead before the game was 2 minutes old.
On their next offensive possession, the Bombers built the lead to 14-0 when Paxton Stevens hit Alex Chapman for a 39-yard touchdown with 5:17 left in the first quarter.
“We wanted to get after Kennewick,” Wills said. “(Neidhold) asked me what week it was and I said ‘Kennewick week.’ He told me he better not see me wearing any orange all week.”
Wills finished with 89 yards on just eight carries and scored two touchdowns. Wills also blocked a punt that Richland’s Brad Anderson recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Wills didn’t play a down on either offense or defense in the second half.
“He’s a workhorse,” Neidhold said. “We shut him down at halftime.”
Wills welcomed the rest.
“That last touchdown I got hit in the head and was a little dinged,” Wills said.
Kennewick didn’t record a first down in the game until under a minute to go before halftime and had only 5 yards of total offense in the first half.
Richland’s third scoring drive saw the Bombers convert three times on fourth down, the biggest one coming when punter Ryan Wolski took off around the left end and ran for 22 yards on a fake punt. The final fourth down conversion came when Wills barely got into the end zone on a 1-yard plunge.
Kennewick went three and out before Wills broke free and smothered Lion punter Dillon Plew’s punt and it bounced into the end zone for a score, making it 28-0 with 1:21 before halftime.
Linebackers Wills and Brecken Galliher were instrumental in Richland defensive effort in the first half.
Kennewick’s only touchdown came when Robbie Loomis picked off a Stevens pass that bounced off the chest of the intended receiver, and Loomis grabbed it out of the air and cruised in for a 10-yard touchdown return.
Richland’s final score came when Stevens ran it in from the 6 with 11:20 left in the game.
Richland raised its record to 5-1 overall , 3-0 in MCC play, while Kennewick drops to 2-4, 1-3 in MCC play.