There is so much history between the two coaching staffs at Kennewick and Kamiakin high schools, it’s really no secret what each other’s game plans are.
“We know what they want to do,” said Kennewick coach Bill Templeton. “There really aren’t any surprises.”
It’s just a matter of which team executes better. And Friday night, it was Kamiakin.
The Braves fell behind early before reeling off the game’s final 29 points en route to a 29-8 win over the rival Lions in front of a large crowd at Lampson Stadium.
“I have a lot of respect for those guys over there,” said Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin. “Some of those guys were my coaches in high school.
“It’s always fun to play against them; tonight was a good night for us.”
The Braves (3-1, 2-0 MCC) have now beaten their intracity rival six out of the last seven times. The Lions (1-3, 0-2) last win came in 2012.
As far as the big picture goes, it was a step in the right direction for Kamiakin.
“We are making baby steps to get to where we want to be,” said Braves quarterback Tyson Patten, who completed 7 of 17 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. “We want to make the playoffs and then make state.”
For Kennewick, it was a chance to see that by eliminating a few timely mistakes, the best is yet to come.
“I think we are pretty good football team,” Templeton said. “We just are making mistakes at the wrong time.”
The Lions, coming off a loss to Walla Walla last week, jumped out early on the Braves.
Matthew Driver led Kennewick on a 10-play, 74-yard opening drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brock Sittman. After a 2-point conversion, the Lions led 8-0.
That would be the last time Kennewick would reach the end zone.
Kamiakin scored late in the first quarter on an explosive run down the left sideline by Tomui Faamausili for 62 yards and a touchdown to cut the lead to 8-7. The Braves took the lead for good late in the first half, going 70 yards on four plays in less than 90 seconds, capped by a Faamausili 5-yard run. Faamausili ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion to give the Braves a 15-8 advantage.
“We knew we just had to stay focused,” Patten said after the Lions’ early score. “We just needed to respond.”
The Lions appeared to avoid danger early in the third quarter when Faamausili fumbled the ball at the Lions’ 5-yard line. However, Driver was intercepted two plays later by Justin Larsen setting up a touchdown catch by Dalton Tuveson from Patten to push the margin to 22-8.
“That play was huge,” Biglin said. “That really got us going again.”
Faamausili, who had three touchdowns on the night, broke free again in the fourth quarter, this time for a 72-yard scoring run that capped the scoring and put the game out of reach. Faamausili finished the night with 16 carries for 178 yards and three touchdowns.
“This was a big game for us and these are the kind of games we want to play in,” Biglin said.
Tri-City HeraldSeptember 19, 2014
T.J. Faamausili couldn’t be happier for his former team, the Pasco Bulldogs, who recorded their second win in a row after 21 consecutive losses.
“I still have a lot of friends over there,” Faamausili said. “I’m real happy for their success.”
But he’ll stick with his hand now that he’s with the Kamiakin Braves, who rolled to a 47-3 Mid-Columbia Conference win over Southridge on Friday night behind Faamausili’s 139 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Faamausili, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior running back, scored Kamiakin’s first two touchdowns and added a third to open the second-half scoring as the Braves bounced back from a Week 2 loss in Hermiston.
“It was good to see us come back after last week. That was a physical game for us, and for us to respond the way we did against Southridge was nice,” Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin said. “T.J. has gotten a lot better. In the springtime, he was still learning our system. At first he was slow to see the holes, but now he’s a hard runner. We’re glad he’s here.”
But he wasn’t the only Kamiakin running back to have a good night. Four Braves running backs got a chance to cross the goal line as Kamiakin totaled 312 yards on the ground.
“Those running backs killed it. Our running back play and offensive line play was so great tonight. That was the biggest push we’ve had all year,” Braves linebacker Tyler Herman said. “That was a nice win. I wouldn’t say we needed it, but we wanted to prove a point.”
Herman proved a point with the defensive play of the game early in the third quarter.
With Kamiakin leading 27-3, Herman blitzed hard around the left side of the Southridge line, tipping a pass from quarterback Jair Ealy-Thomas. The ball popped into the air and was grabbed by linebacker Tyler Johns at the Suns’ 8-yard line.
That set up the next score, an 8-yard touchdown run by Awad Kori to make it 34-3.
The Suns came in with some big-play capability, and they flashed it early on. Starting quarterback Conner Grigg threw deep to Brandon Zane down the left sideline, connecting on a 41-yard pass play — one of just five Southridge first downs.
But that was the only big play of the night for the Suns. Zane had a good night, finishing with three catches for 65 yards.
“I told them to keep fighting. Sometimes you get a win, and sometimes you take a loss, but it’s how you respond that defines you as a person,” said Southridge coach Tony Reiboldt, who watched his team fall to 0-3.
The Suns have been outscored 91-17 in their first three games.
Kamiakin got a big game from senior defensive back and receiver Jace Navejas, who returned a first-quarter punt 43 yards to the Southridge 26-yard line. That set up the Braves’ second score, an 18-yard run by Faamausili to make it 13-3.
Navejas then caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Tyson Patten to make it 20-3 but was injured on the play. He did not return to the game.