9-5-2015 vs Ferndale Recap

Game Recap

The Kamiakin High School football team fell short in its season opener Saturday night in Ferndale, falling to the Golden Eagles 35-34 in overtime.

After Justice Powell’s touchdown gave Ferndale a 35-28 lead on its first possession in the extra period, Kamiakin received the ball at the 25-yard line. The Braves got into the end zone on Jethro Questad’s 8-yard run, but their two-point conversion attempt failed, giving the Golden Eagles the victory.

“We played them last year, and they’re a young team kind of like we were,” Braves coach Scott Biglin said. “We knew it would be a physical battle. They run the wing-T. They ran it really well, and they came out on top.”

Kamiakin led 7-0 and 14-7 in the first half, but Ferndale tied it both times.

After halftime, Ferndale went ahead 21-14. Kamiakin knotted the score on Zach Borisch’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Questad on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter.

The Golden Eagles then retook the lead on the first play from scrimmage, but Kamiakin forced overtime after Borisch’s 34-yard throw to Jace Navejas helped tie the score at 28 with 3:34 remaining.

Kamiakin bulldozes Hermiston in 54-6 rout

Crow commits to Montana

Gavin Crow, a senior defensive back and wide receiver at Kamiakin High School, has made a verbal commitment to play football for the University of Montana, announcing the decision Saturday on Twitter after a weekend visit to the campus. Crow, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety, is a two-year starter and was an honorable mention all-Mid-Columbia Conference selection in 2014.

The Grizzlies were the first team to reach out to Crow, offering him a scholarship on July 17. He is listed among Vype.com Northwest Prep Report’s top 200 prospects.

Kamiakin QB gains fame training with UFC star Miesha Tate

Tri-City HeraldAugust 26, 2015 

Zach Borisch figures to become a household name for Mid-Columbia sports fans in the near future.

Stepping in as the starting quarterback for the Kamiakin High School football team tends to do that, particularly under offense-minded head coach Scott Biglin. The 6-foot, 173-pound junior comes into the season with plenty of buzz: He is ranked in the top 145 Northwest players by Northwest Prep Report and has been in contact with schools such as Yale, Eastern Washington and Montana.

Perhaps more impressive — though likely a little farther out of the spotlight — is his status as one of the top judo fighters in the nation. He is ranked eighth by USA Judo at 83 kilograms (183 pounds) in the Cadet (21-and-under) division despite having just turned 16 years old. He has about three dozen state titles to go with numerous gold, silver and bronze medals from national competitions. One of those bronzes came at the U.S. Open Championships last month in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

There are his honor-roll smarts, a through-the-roof work ethic and a sense of responsibility that has him instructing at the family-owned Tri-City Judo immediately after two-a-day football practices.

There are plenty of reasons Borisch will show up on any local sports fan’s radar. But what he is best known for — world famous, really — is his ability to impersonate Ronda Rousey, the No. 1 attraction in mixed martial arts by a mile.

No, Borisch doesn’t look much like Rousey, whose looks have paved the way for a budding Hollywood career. And he certainly doesn’t duplicate her blunt, often-bullying demeanor. But when Miesha Tate — another top MMA star — wants to train to face her No. 1 rival, she makes sure to put in some time on the mat with the Kamiakin teen.

“He’s a high-level judo player, he’s bigger than me and he’s still a male,” Tate said last week during a stop in the Tri-Cities. “He may only be in high school, but he is still an elite athlete.”

For Borisch, it is a chance to help out someone who has become a family friend. It also brought some unintended fame when Tate posted a photo of the two on Instagram following a recent workout. It blew up, getting shared on Facebook and retweeted on Twitter, and winding up on various websites, including that of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the biggest brand in MMA. Borisch was wearing a NAGA (North American Grappling Association) T-shirt, so the photo landed on that website as well.

Almost overnight, he picked up 120 new followers on Instagram.

“I’m not starstruck, but my friends thought it was so cool,” he said. “I thought it was really cool to be part of that, to help her (try to) win.”

Tate and her longtime boyfriend, fellow MMA fighter Bryan Caraway, have a home in the Tri-Cities, near Caraway’s family. Tate, a 29-year-old Tacoma native, said she hopes to open an MMA gym in the Tri-Cities in the next year and figures she has “another year or two” left in her fighting career.

Borisch and Tate started training together when he was finishing up his eighth-grade school year and she was prepping for her second fight with Rousey in 2013. Tate wanted to get some work in to counter Rousey’s judo ability — she won bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics — and wanted someone close to her 135-pound frame. Chiawana wrestling coach Jack Anderson, who was one of Tate’s coaches for The Ultimate Fighter TV show, was friends with the Borisch family and suggested Zach.

“I was just helping her learn how to defend throws, know where Ronda’s hips are for (Tate) to keep it standing,” Borisch said.

Tate called it anti-judo: “He’s the aggressor; I’m the one defending.”

If Borisch can lock Tate up consistently with a particular move, they talk about it, and then Tate brings the information back to her trainers in Las Vegas for more work.

The two were working again this summer with Tate hoping to get a third crack at Rousey in December. However, the UFC bantamweight champ announced last week that she would fight Holly Holm on Jan. 2 to headline UFC 195.

Borisch has been immersed in judo since the age of 4. His dad, Robert, got his introduction to the sport in 1973 at the Richland Dojo and is a third-degree black belt. Robert and wife Maria own Tri-City Judo, and Zach and his siblings — sisters Morgan, 26, and Asia, 13, and brothers Samuel, 18, and Gabe, 7 — all grew up around the sport.

Technically, Zach is a first-degree brown belt, but he has acquired more than enough points in tournaments to achieve a black belt. Robert said black belts in judo generally are not awarded to athletes under age 17.

But it is football that has his full attention now.

“I’ll be doing (judo) till I die,” he said. “It’s a hobby I like to do. But right now I love playing football. Football is what I really want to do.”

He already has learned the first lesson of good quarterbacking — doling out the praise to the offensive line. Kamiakin has a big one.

“Every lineman we have is 250-plus,” he said. “The only hard part is seeing over them.”

He quickly dismisses talk of his ranking as a quarterback: “I focus on making the team better. It’s not about how good you are; it’s about how good the team is.

“The bond is what creates state champions.”

His coach has become a big fan and appreciates the amount of competition Borisch has faced over the years.

“He’s a unique kid,” Biglin said. “It’s not something you see in a lot of kids. His judo level — he competes at a high level, and he brings that competitive level to the football team.”

Borisch also wrestles for Kamiakin in the winter and runs hurdles on the track team in the spring. His dad was a college decathlete, and the track talent carries over.

It seems that desire to squeeze so much from so many things might be what finally limits Zach’s progression in judo. When he competes at the big national tournaments, he is going against guys who train almost every day, five or six hours a day. It’s an Olympic-sized commitment that he doesn’t seem too thrilled about.

It wouldn’t leave much room for other sports, and Borisch sounds adamant against giving up too much when he says, “I enjoy everything I do.”

“I want to do as much as I can,” he added. “Whatever pays for college.”

Kamiakin aiming for MCC football title

Tri-City HeraldAugust 27, 2015

Last season, the Kamiakin Braves were a very good team that played against — and lost to — three great teams: Hermiston (the Oregon Class 5A champion), Chiawana (which reached the Class 4A state title game) and Shadle Park (a Class 3A quarterfinalist).

This season, the Braves plan to be the great team laying waste to every opponent in its path.

“I think we’re going all the way. With the way we attack each other, this kind of intensity is going to carry us far,” senior receiver/defensive back Gavin Crow said.

With seven starters returning on both sides of the ball, and Division I-caliber talent anchoring every unit, Kamiakin might have to be the favorite to overtake perennial power Chiawana as the Mid-Columbia Conference champions.

Braves coach Scott Biglin likes the way his team has worked together not just on the field but starting eight months ago, right after their 2014 season-ending loss to Shadle Park.

“This is one of the stronger, closer teams I’ve had to coach. It comes from them being together so much, from being in the weight room together,” said Biglin, in his seventh season as Kamiakin coach. “I see them barking and griping at each other when they’re not working hard. That’s a sign of a together team.”

One of the Braves’ many strengths this year — and certainly the biggest physically — is their talent in the trenches, where Korbin Sorenson, Austin Crawford and Wyatt Musser will anchor a mammoth offensive line.

“I don’t know how talented we are yet. We haven’t hit the field. We’ll see how it goes (next) Saturday, then we can make a judgement on them,” Biglin said. “It’s definitely one of the biggest offensive lines we’ve had. They’re not just big and overweight. They’re lean and cut, and they can move. In our system, and what (offensive line coach Gilbert) Marquez has them doing makes them a perfect fit for us.”

Top returners

OL Sorenson and DL Crawford are returning first-team all-MCC performers and are poised for big years.

“Crawford has a chance to be a very special defensive end. He’s probably our strongest kid, and he looks the part. He’s going to be a force,” Biglin said.

Another top performer is WR/DB Jace Navejas, the Braves’ top receiver last year (21 catches, 395 yards, 4 TDs). He led the MCC with 18.8 yards per catch.

Biglin is also a big fan of returning all-MCC DB Darreon Moore, a starter since his freshman season who is drawing plenty of D-I interest.

“His whole role in the leadership department thrived this summer and in the offseason,” Biglin said. “He’s a different man, and I think it’s going to show on Friday nights.”

Role players

Kamiakin has the tough task of replacing RB T.J. Faamausili, who earned second-team all-state honors with 1,291 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. But Biglin is confident that a committee approach could yield some good things.

“Mike Jones (284 yards, 6.4 avg., 4 TDs) is a powerful running back, and he’ll do his thing. We’ve also got Justin Larsen, who ran for us last year. He could have had a big year, but T.J. just took over,” Biglin said, noting that John Mantanona and Jethro Questad could also contribute.

Key to success

Solid offensive line play and defensive intensity are critical to Kamiakin’s success.

“Our defensive backs are going to be very good. In (defensive coordinator Ted) Maher’s system of playing man-to-man and letting guys blitz, I look for them to do good things,” Biglin said.

Zach Borisch earned the starting quarterback role and could be one of the breakout surprises in the MCC this year.

“The biggest thing I like about him is he just wants to do well,” Biglin said. “When he was a sophomore, I tested him to see how much he could take. We really rode him, and he was like, ‘Give me more.’

“Seeing that, I knew he would be really special.”

Big games: The Braves open the season at Ferndale at 5 p.m. Sept. 5; Hermiston, 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Lampson. Chiawana 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at Lampson.