Kennewick beats Southridge 32-9

Special to the Tri-City Herald October 17, 2014

Bill Templeton has done a lot of mish-mashing with his lineups this season. Just when the Kennewick Lions appear to get some traction and put out the lineup Templeton penciled in to start the season, they seem to get bitten by the injury bug.

Case in point: Last week against Richland. The Lions were without their top running back, Dwight Norwood, and one of their best two-way players, Michael Vallier, in a loss to the Bombers.

Those two were back Friday night, and so was Kennewick’s running game.

Norwood rushed for three touchdowns, and Vallier had some key runs as the Lions ran away from Southridge 32-9 on Friday night at Lampson Stadium.

“I thought our offensive line did a nice job tonight,” Templeton said. “We talked all week about what (they) can do as individuals to make us better and make this team better.”

With the win, Kennewick (3-4, 2-3 Mid-Columbia Conference) takes control of the conference’s second playoff spot. The Lions are at Chiawana next Friday night.

“That’s always the goal,” Vallier said. “This is great as a senior to go out with a win over Southridge.”

Norwood, who was injured two weeks ago in a win over Pasco, did not play last week in the Lions’ 44-7 loss to the Bombers. He made his return to the backfield known right away Friday night.

Norwood ran the ball 31 times for 232 yards and three touchdowns. He had four runs of 20 yards or more, including a 52-yard touchdown run that all but put the game away.

Norwood got free, eluding several Suns defenders at the line of scrimmage and breaking loose down the left sideline to give the Lions a 29-0 lead with 5:55 to play in the third quarter.

Southridge (1-6, 1-4) did not go away and put some pressure on the Lions late in the third quarter and into the fourth. After a Kennewick turnover, Andrew Stayrook burst down the sideline to get Southridge on the board with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter to make the score 29-7. It was Southridge’s first offensive touchdown in two games. The Suns’ lone score last week against Walla Walla came on an interception return.

On Kennewick’s next possession, quarterback Matthew Driver fumbled the ball in the end zone for a safety to get the Suns within 29-9, and the Suns suddenly had some life.

But the momentum was short-lived as a fumble ended the Suns’ next drive.

“They play hard, and they didn’t give up,” Templeton said.

The Suns’ offense, which ranks last in the MCC at a little more than 155 yards per game, again struggled. The Suns had just 29 yards of total offense in the first half, and they finished the game with 177.

Most of those yards came off the arm of Jair Ealy-Thomas, who entered late in the second quarter to provide a spark to the Suns. Ealy-Thomas, after a hot start, finished 7-of-22 passing for 104 yards.

“We wanted to stop the run,” Vallier said. “That’s always our main focus.

“We just have to keep getting better.”

Kennewick rumbles past Pasco 48-20

Matthew Driver chuckled when asked about the amount of passes he threw Friday night.

It was exactly two. The Kennewick junior quarterback was 1-for-2 for 9 yards and a touchdown.

The lack of the passing game was just a product of the Lions’ game plan.

“It would have been nice to throw a little more, but we knew our running game was going to have a big night,” he said.

And he was right. The Lions ran up and down the field on Pasco, amassing more than 400 yards on the ground in a 48-20 victory over the Bulldogs at Lampson Stadium.

“We wanted to control the ball tonight,” Lions coach Bill Templeton said. “We knew their offense was explosive, and we did a good job of keeping them off the field.”

Kennewick used a big second quarter to pull away from Pasco for its first Mid-Columbia Conference victory of the season.

Dwight Norwood had three first-half touchdown runs, the final one a 15-yard sprint around the right side to put Kennewick ahead 26-7 with 5:34 to go before halftime.

Norwood, who entered the game third in the conference in rushing yards, carried the ball 14 times for 132 yards and the three scores, all in the first half. He did not play in the second half after suffering an arm injury.

That opened the door for Raymond Gutierrez to lead the running attack. Gutierrez finished the night with 22 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

All totaled, the Lions had 57 carries for 402 yards and six rushing touchdowns.

“We did a good job of blocking on the edge,” Templeton said.

Driver, who spent almost the entire night handing the ball off, did make the most of his only throw in the second half, hitting Michael Vallier for a 9-yard touchdown reception.

“This week was all about executing,” Driver said. “The coaches put us in the right spots, it’s just up to us to execute.”

Kennewick (2-3, 1-2) travels to play Richland (1-4, 1-2) next week.

“I think this win was good for us,” Templeton said. “Richland is a good team, and they will be ready.”

Pasco, which fell behind early, appeared to be one or two big plays away from getting back in the game late in the second quarter and then early in the third.

However, some key dropped passes and a turnover stifled the pass-heavy offense.

Kolby Killoy, the conference’s leading passer, was 19-of-36 passing for 234 yards and a touchdown. However, he was just 3-for-8 in the second half for 28 yards and a touchdown.

“This is a good win for us right now,” Templeton said.

Wa-Hi slows down Lions in 34-14 win

WALLA WALLA — With fewer than 20 minutes left until kickoff Friday, the Walla Walla High School pep band marched into Borleske Stadium and inadvertently blocked Kennewick running back Dwight Norwood’s path as he and some teammates attempted to jog to the locker room.

The forward progress of the Lions’ bell cow rusher would remain “frustrated by Blue Devil” for the duration of the evening. Walla Walla neutralized Norwood by keeping Kennewick’s offense stuck in third-and-unmanageable all night, and unleashed its own dormant rushing attack after halftime to cruise to a 34-14 victory in the Mid-Columbia Conference football opener for both teams.

“We flushed those last two weeks,” said Wa-Hi senior Mitchell Huffman, who caught two touchdown passes from Trever Coronado in the first half. “This is when the real season begins.”

In posting its first win of the season, Walla Walla (1-2, 1-0 MCC) rediscovered the power running game that helped produce a winning season in 2013. Coronado was 9-of-16 passing for 129 yards in the first half but attempted just five passes after recess. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils — after gaining 14 rushing yards as an afterthought over the first two quarters — erupted for 212 in the second half.

“We haven’t been running the ball well,” Huffman said. “We wanted to set the tone.”

The tone — somewhere between “jet engine” and “death metal” — was struck on Wa-Hi’s opening second-half possession. The Blue Devils ran the ball on six of seven plays during that series, punctuated by Noah Porter’s weaving, slashing, 51-yard touchdown run for a 20-7 lead.

Porter added a 38-yard scoring run later and finished with 133 yards rushing — 118 in the second half.

“Coach (Eric Hisaw) said we were really going to run the ball tonight,” Porter said. “We played with a lot more effort this game, a lot more intensity. We had some mistakes, but ultimately, we kept our heads in it.”

Despite owning a 14-7 lead at recess, Walla Walla probably could built a more comfortable halftime cushion had it capitalized on excellent early field position. The Blue Devils scored just once on their first four possessions despite starting drives at their own 48, then the Lions’ 41, 23 and 44. Wa-Hi took advantage of its shortest field when Coronado found Huffman on a quick slant in the middle of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown with 29 seconds left in the first quarter.

Norwood’s two-yard touchdown run midway through the second tied the game, but the Blue Devils answered with a seven-play, 67-yard scoring drive capped by Coronado’s 35-yard touchdown catch down the home sideline after a Kennewick defensive back slipped and fell in coverage.

Norwood wasn’t shut down by any means. The 6-foot-1 senior, who came into the contest with 271 yards rushing on 38 carries, had 110 yards rushing, two rushing touchdowns and 233 all-purpose yards. But Norwood saw limited touches in high-leverage situations: Kennewick (1-2, 0-1) faced third down 11 times on Friday, with an average down-and-distance of third-and-12.

“We just wanted to shut down their entire offense,” said Huffman. “Our goal was to hold them to two scores or less. We knew if we shut down 28 (Norwood) and got them in third-and-long, we knew they can’t throw.”

Kennewick quarterback Matthew Driver completed 11 of 20 passes for 84 yards.

Football: Kennewick rolls over Ike 41-0

Special to the Tri-City Herald September 11, 2014

It’s kind of a wonder why the Kennewick Lions even tried to pass the ball Thursday night. But they did — 13 times to be exact.

Maybe it was because the coaching staff got a little bored after calling the same running plays over and over. The reality of it was the Dwight Norwood probably needed a little time to catch his breath.

The senior running back led a dominant ground attack as he sliced its way through an Eisenhower defense all night long, leading the Lions to a 41-0 win over Eisenhower at Lampson Stadium.

“We just wanted to keep running the ball,” Norwood said. “We could tell they were getting tired and started to let down.”

Norwood led the charge with 184 yards on 23 carries in just three quarters and three touchdowns. But it wasn’t just him. Several others got their chances to break through the Cadets defense line and shed tacklers in the secondary. All totaled, Kennewick rushed the ball 37 times for 270 yards and four touchdowns.

“Our offensive line did a great job tonight,” said Kennewick coach Bill Templeton. “They got a good push.”

Norwood continually ran the ball going untouched until he reached the linebackers and defensive backs. That’s when his strength took over shedding the tacklers for extra yards.

“Dwight had a good night,” Templeton said.

Let’s not forget his 78-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the third quarter as he tip-toed the sideline to push the Lions lead to 27-0.

“That was big,” he said. “We just wanted to come out strong in the second half.”

The Lions (1-1) opened the season last weekend with a 21-6 loss to Ellensburg. Despite the loss, Templeton thought his team was close.

“We saw a lot of good things last week,” he said. “We were close.”

A week later, the Lions looked like a team that was poised to give teams fits in the Mid-Columbia Conference.

“We had a setback and we were ready for a big comeback,” Norwood said.

Kennewick took a quick lead thanks to an Eisenhower (0-2) fumble deep in its own territory. On the second play of the game, Bryce Reynolds could not handle the snap, and Hayden Docken jumped on the loose ball.

Three plays later, Norwood gave the Lions a quick 7-0 lead less 90 seconds into the game.

The Lions pushed the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown catch by Brock Sittman from Matthew Driver.

After an interception by Jared Gray, his first of two on the night, Kennewick moved the ball 62 yards down the field, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Norwood to give the Lions a 20-0 lead with 5:51 left in the half.

The Lions defense allowed just 137 yards of total offense to a Cadet team that had just seven first downs and crossed into Kennewick’s side of the field just twice in the game.

“We played well on both sides of the ball,” Templeton said.

Eisenhower 0 0 0 0 — 0

Kennewick 7 13 21 0 — 41


K — Dwight Norwood 11 run (Norwood kick)

K — Brock Sittman 5 pass from Matthew Driver (Norwood kick)

K — Norwood 2 run (kick fail)

K — Norwood 78 kick return (Norwood kick)

K — Norwood 30 run (Norwood kick)

K — Raymond Gutierrez 12 run (Norwood kick)


RUSHING—E, Luis Leon 11-34, Julian Batten 4-44, Team 2-(minus-19). K, Norwood 23-184, Gutierrez 2-12, Driver 1-5, Alejandro Manzano 4-31, Keyshawn Owens 6-44, Team 1-(minus-6).

PASSING—E, Bryce Reynolds 9-21-3-78. K, Driver 11-16-0-72, Austin Knode 1-1-0-15.

RECEIVING—E, Devon Lawrence 6-48, Deltay Redick 2-21, Noah Ramirez 1-9, K, Sittman 7-51, Andrew Townsend 1-6, Norwood 2-8, Eric Moore 1-9, Leo Contreras 1-15.