The Kennewick Lions football team has a lot of offensive weapons.
But when the game is on the line, Lions coach Randy Affholter knows his team needs to go to the two most dangerous parts of his arsenal: sophomore running back Myles Mayovsky and that big, talented offensive line.
“Our strength is up front,” said Affholter. “And Myles sees things pretty well.”
Mayovsky scored two second-half touchdowns — including the go-ahead one, a 49-year screen pass from Elijah Tanner — to put away a pesky Walla Walla Blue Devils team 28-14 in Mid-Columbia Conference play Thursday night at Lampson Stadium.
Mayovsky finished with 189 yards of rushing on 28 carries, plus added another 58 receiving yards on two screen passes. He had just 55 yards rushing in the first half.
“Our line is just huge,” said Mayovsky, whose team improves to 5-1 in MCC play, 6-1 overall. “Our coaches have been yelling at me the last few weeks, saying, ‘Patience! Patience!”
He had been hitting the hole too early, not allowing the play to develop. By waiting an extra split second, the Lions line was opening holes that Mayovsky could drive a truck through without getting touched.
Wa-Hi coach Greg Lupfer saw it too.
“Our defensive line is 185 to 195 pounds across the line,” said Lupfer. “You’re sitting there, taking on guys who are 6-4, 240, 250, 260 pounds for a while. That’s the way it is. Eventually your body is gonna break down.”
And then Mayovsky comes at them.
“I definitely feel stronger the more I carry the ball. Give me 30 carries. We were just pounding the 4 and 3 holes (in the line),” said Mayovsky. “And I knew that screen pass was going to be big. I had some offensive linemen in front of me, and a lane.”
Tanner stepped in for normal starter Blaine Chavez, whom Affholter said was sidelined with a knee injury.
“We’re not sure when it happened, and that’s the honest truth,” said Affholter. “He’s going to have an MRI on it. We don’t know if he did it in practice or two weeks ago against Kamiakin. But on Sunday night, it just swelled up.”
But Tanner stepped in and filled Chavez’s role admirably, throwing for 237 yards and a TD.
“He did well,” said Affholter. “He moved the ball. We did have some Red Zone turnovers.”
Three in the first half — two fumbles by Tanner and an interception at the goal line by Wa-Hi’s Dash Sirmon.
That’s what kept the Blue Devils in the game, which was tied at 7-7 at intermission, and at 14-14 after three quarters.
But in the end, it wasn’t enough for Lupfer’s team, which falls to 3-4 in both MCC and overall play.
Yet the Blue Devils still have a chance to grab the MCC’s second 4A regional playoff berth.
“I’m extremely proud of the way these guys fight,” said Lupfer. “I’ve coached in a lot of big-time college football games. But this is the most fun I’ve had coaching football, besides the losses, in my 22 years of coaching football. These kids are tired of being a doormat. And you know what? We’re only 13 points away from being 5-1 (coming into Thursday’s game).”