In a game chock full of big plays, an interception return for a touchdown by Chiawana’s Hayden Carrasco helped make the difference.
Carrasco stepped in front of Kennewick’s Devyn Edward early in the fourth quarter and raced 30 yards for a touchdown as the Riverhawks beat the Lions 42-35 in a Mid-Columbia Conference game Friday night at Lampson Stadium.
With Chiawana holding on to a 28-21 lead, Carrasco’s touchdown put the Riverhawks ahead by two touchdowns, and Kennewick could not recover.
Chiawana’s Andrew Vargas finished the night with 332 yards on the ground and three touchdowns — all for 51 yards or more.
“He does a great job,” Chiawana coach Steve Graff said. “Those guys (the offensive line) did a great job of opening holes for him.”
Kennewick jumped to a 7-0 lead with a three-play drive on its first offensive possession.
Quarterback Dillon Plew hit Keyshawn Owens for a 19-yard touchdown on the sixth play of the game.
The Riverhawks pulled even when Vargas broke down the right side for an 86-yard touchdown barely 2 minutes into the second quarter.
After recovering a fumble on Kennewick’s next offensive possession, Chiawana took the lead for good when quarterback Troy Simpkins found Michael Sanchez alone in the end zone on fourth down from the 3-yard line with 5:07 remaining in the first half.
A 64-yard touchdown run by Vargas with under a minute left in the half pushed the Riverhawks to a 21-7 lead.
But the Lions weren’t done.
Kennewick opened the second half with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, taking 4:58 off the clock. Plew capped the drive with a 1-yard run to pull the Lions within 21-14.
It didn’t take Chiawana long to push the lead back to 14 points. Roman Ruiz took a lateral pass from Troy Simpkins and hit Trent Simpkins for a 61-yard touchdown.
Kennewick again pulled within seven points, as Plew plunged in from the 1 after the Lions partially blocked a punt.
The two teams traded big-play touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
After Carrasco’s interception return, Plew hit Owens for a 37-yard score, and Vargas broke off a 51-yard touchdown run.
Kennewick scored on Plew’s 6-yard pass to Raymond Gutierrez to pull within 42-35, but Chiawana’s Adrian Navarette recovered the onside kick for the final margin.
“We were our own worst enemy,” Graff said. “We can’t make those type of mistakes when we play the better teams.”
Plew finished the game 17-for-43 for 235 yards for Kennewick.