Lions Advance to State Semifinal

Via the Tri City Herald (Jeff Morrow)

The Kennewick Lions held off the Bethel Braves 21-20 on Saturday night in their Class 3A matchup in Spanaway.

Kennewick coach Randy Affholter said his team was physically spent after Saturday night’s game.

“The kids played super hard last night,” said Affholter on Sunday afternoon. “I can’t believe how hard they played. We had guys laying on the field dehydrated. We had guys laying on the field with cramps.”

Kennewick trailed early, 7-0, as Bethel took the opening kickoff and drove downfield for a score.

But the Lions bounced back to tie the game at 7-7, when quarterback Elijah Tanner found Simeon Howard for a 9-yard touchdown pass.

Kennewick took the lead at 14-7, as Tanner dived in from the 1.

But again, Bethel responded to tie the game at 14-14 as the teams entered the fourth quarter.

The Braves had a chance to take the lead with a field goal. But Paige Aldrich blocked the attempt.

The Lions then marched downfield, and Tanner scored his second TD, again on a 1-yard run, with 1:06 to play in the game for a 21-14 Kennewick lead.

Again, nothing comes easy for this Lions crew.Bethel wasn’t done, and the Braves scored on a 42-yard TD pass with 25 seconds left.

But Kennewick came through again, as the Lions blocked the extra-point attempt, keeping the score Kennewick 21, Bethel 20, with not much time left.

Affholter was so busy Sunday making practice arrangements for the week and looking at O’Dea film that he hadn’t had time to watch his team’s game film from Saturday night.

But he though it might have been Arnaldo Cabrera who blocked the kick.

Still, Bethel wasn’t done, as it recovered the ensuing onside kick.

But a Hail Mary pass fell incomplete as time expired, giving the Lions (12-1) the victory.

“Bethel was athletic as heck,” said Affholter. “Our defense was on the field a lot. In the third quarter alone, I think Bethel’s offense had the ball 8, 9 minutes out of the 12. But we felt if we played disciplined football, they would make mistakes. We stayed calm. The kids kept playing, and we weathered the storm.”

Myles Mayovsky carried the football 23 times for 106 yards for the Lions, while teammate Ethan Woolery rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries.