Cougars stopped cold

KENNEWICK - Capital coach J.D. Johnson refused to play the what-if game.

The Cougars played Saturday’s 3A state semifinal football game against fellow unbeaten Kamiakin without senior Tyler Sundberg, the state’s leading rusher with more than 2,400 yards.

The result was a 45-18 loss to the Braves at snowy Lampson Stadium, but Johnson wouldn’t use the excuse of being without The Olympian’s All-Area Player of the Year, who suffered a strained ligament in his right calf during last week’s quarterfinal win over O’Dea.

“It can’t all be on one guy,” Johnson said. “Our other guys didn’t make plays. This is a semifinal game. You’ve got to make plays, and we didn’t. We didn’t block well up front, and we dropped several balls.”

Johnson also emphasized all the positives in the Cougars’ 12-1 season.

“We beat O’Dea twice. We beat Olympia in the Spaghetti Bowl. We beat Lakes, which also reached the semifinals,” he said, ticking off the team’s accomplishments. “We did a lot of great things. This one will sting a lot, but we’ll move forward.”

Sundberg’s absence was a well-kept secret, even though Johnson knew all week he’d miss the game.

“I had no clue until their coach told me about 30 minutes before the game,” said Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin. “Without their playmaker, it makes things easier for us, but we knew we would still have our hands full. They’re not 12-0 just because of him.”

In Sundberg’s place stepped sophomore Kai Van Sickle, who did a credible job, gaining 89 yards on 22 carries.

“I felt a lot of pressure,” Van Sickle said. “Tyler does some amazing stuff. He’s one of the best running backs I’ve ever seen.”

But the Cougars clearly missed Sundberg’s experience and vision reading the holes against a quick and physical Kamiakin defense that allowed only 233 yards of total offense.

“Their speed surprised us,” Van Sickle said. “They looked a lot different on film than they did in person. They are a very fast team, and they flowed to the ball well. They got the job done.”

Capital trailed 28-18 late in the third quarter after Roman Vern scored on a 7-yard counter play for the Cougars.

But the Braves (13-0) answered quickly to put the game away and earn a spot in their first title game since 1995.

They will be seeking their first title when they meet two-time defending champion Bellevue at 4 p.m. Friday at the Tacoma Dome.

Kamiakin needed just three plays to get back on the board after Vern’s score, with Zac Umemoto galloping 29 yards for a touchdown 35 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Then, after forcing a three-and-out, the Braves scored on their first play, with quarterback Joey Jansen keeping on the option and racing 35 yards untouched into the end zone.

It was one of nine times the Braves started a drive in Capital territory during the game. They scored on five of them.

“Our defense was pinned on a short field the whole game,” Johnson said. “They’re an explosive team, and when you put your defense’s back against the wall like that, you can’t have that.”

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Braves Top Lions in Week 4

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.

Kamiakin runs over Southridge 47-3

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.

Kamiakin, Chiawana dominate all-CBBN football

The CBBN all-league football teams came out Sunday, and the Tri-Cities swept all the big awards.

In the 4A ranks, Chiawana's Jordan Downing and Richland's Jake McKinney split the MVP. McKinney was a unanimous choice at running back, while Downing was first-team running back and unanimous at linebacker.

Chiawana's Nick Vincent was named the defensive player of the year and shared lineman of the year with Richland's Joey White.

Riverhawks quarterback Luc Graff was named offensive player of the year, and his dad, Steve Graff, is coach of the year.

Kamiakin dominated the 3A selections, though the one that got away was MVP, which went to Kennewick quarterback and defensive back Drew Loftus.

Tim White was named offensive player of the year for the Braves, and teammate Tanner Meier collected lineman of the year.

Kamiakin shared two awards: Jon Allen the defensive player of the year award with Eastmont's Ryan Pierce, and Scott Biglin the coach of the year with Eastmont's Doug McGill.

Class 3A

First team


OL -- Jesse Holm, sr., Eastmont(u); Tanner Meier, sr., Kamiakin(u); Tyler Morphin, sr., Kennewick(u); Adam Peters, sr., Sunnyside(u); Nolan Haehl, sr., Eastmont. WR -- Darren Spaeth, sr., Eastmont(u); Tim White, sr., Kamiakin(u); Brandon Search, sr., Pasco; Tyler Holle, sr., Kamiakin. qb -- Joey Jansen, sr., Kamiakin. QB -- Gerrick Andrews, sr., West Valley(u); Steven Monterrey, jr., Sunnyside; Dallin Palmer, sr., Southridge. AP -- Drew Loftus, sr., Kennewick. K -- Garrett Bowe, sr., Kamiakin(u). Return -- Tim White, sr., Kamiakin(u).


DL -- Noaln Haehl, sr., Eastmont(u); Jon Allen, sr., Kamiakin(u); Adam Peters, sr., Sunnyside; Tyler Morphin, sr., Kennewick. LB -- Drew Oord, jr., Kamiakin(u); Zach Umemoto, jr., Kamiakin(u); Berlie Walker, jr., Eastmont; Cody Rush, sr., Pasco. DB -- Ryan Pierce, sr., Eastmont(u); Drew Loftus, sr., Kennewick(u); Tim White, sr., Kamiakin; Shad Fletcher, sr., Kamiakin. P -- Tanner Meier, sr., Kamiakin.

MVP -- Drew Loftus, Kennewick.

Offensive lineman of the year -- Tanner Meier, Kamiakin.

Offensive POY -- Tim White, Kamiakin.

Defensvie POY -- Jon Allen, Kamiakin, and Ryan Pierce, Eastmont.

Coaches of the year -- Scott Biglin, Kamiakin, and Doug McGill, Eastmont.

Second team


OL -- Sean Clausen, jr., Kamiakin; Hector Jimenez, sr., Pasco; Austin Brinkworth, sr., Southridge; Jacob Sauileone, sr., Eastmont; Brandon Callahan, sr., Eastmont. WR -- AJ Henderson, sr., Southridge; AJ Griffiths, sr., Kamiakin; Bodie Simpson, so., Kennewick; Reed Jaspers, sr., Eastmont. QB -- Drew Loftus, sr., Kennewick. RB -- Cameron Wagar, sr., Hanford; Ryan Pierce, sr., Eastmont; Dom Davis, sr., Kamiakin. AP -- Tim White, sr., Kamiakin. Return -- Grant Woods, jr., Kennewick.


DL -- Joe Hunt, jr., Kamiakin; Nick Tidrick, sr., Pasco; Jesse Holm, sr., Eastmont; Tanner Meier, sr., Kamiakin. LB -- Trevor Powers, sr, Kamiakin; Zak Albertin, sr., Kennewick; Edgar Godina, sr., Eastmont; Jay Seabeck, sr., Eastmont. DB -- Cameron Wagar, sr., Hanford; Jon Sider, sr., Southridge; Trea Thomas, so., Eastmont; Trevor Osborn, sr., Eastmont. P -- Darren Spaeth, sr., Eastmont.

(u)--unanimous pick

Kamiakin heading to Tacoma

KENNEWICK -- Scott Biglin has called it an embarrassment of riches.

Throughout the season, the Kamiakin coach has watched his football team play all three phases of the game -- offense, defense and special teams -- better than its opponents. The usual result is the Braves putting the game away early in the second half and finishing with a running clock.

But on a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon at Lampson Stadium, the Braves needed every penny of their treasury to fight off the Capital Cougars and punch their ticket to Tacoma.

Joey Jansen threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, Tim White had a hand in a pair of big plays, and the Kamiakin defense was at its brick-wall best in a 45-18 win over Capital in the 3A state semifinals.

"Amazing," said defensive end Jon Allen. "We knew we could do this. We knew we could get this far. The work paid off. We did it.

"We always dreamed of getting this far. We can do this."

"This is something," added lineman Tanner Meier, "since the eighth grade, we grew up talking about getting to state and winning state."

The Braves (13-0) will play in a state championship game for just the second time in the program's storied past. They will face Bellevue (12-1), the top program in the state. The Wolverines are the two-time defending champs and have won seven titles since 2001.

Kickoff is at 4 p.m. Friday in the comfy confines of the Tacoma Dome.

It took a massive effort for the Braves to reach their first final since 1995, and that was before kickoff. Some 80 volunteers -- school staff, parents, etc. -- took to the turf at Lampson on Saturday morning with snow shovels to clear some 9,400 square yards of snow.

The game itself required some heavy lifting by the Braves, with their 23-point margin hardly indicative of a game that was within 10 points heading into the final quarter. It would have been within a single touchdown if Capital (12-1) could kick an extra point.

It was a remarkable feat for the visitors from Olympia, who were playing without their star running back, Tyler Sundberg (2,475 yards, 29 TDs), who injured his calf in last week's close quarterfinal win over O'Dea and was never close to playing this week.

The Cougars had just answered another quick Kamiakin scoring drive -- three plays, 59 yards -- with a laborious, 14-play, 60-yard affair. They had to convert twice on third down and twice on fourth to pull within 28-18 in the waning moments of the third quarter.

The Braves came right back -- zip, zip, zip -- with Jesse Hauser taking the hit but holding on to Jansen's 30-yard strike over the middle. On the next play, Zack Umemoto burst another 30 yards up the middle for the quick score.

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