Kamiakin wears down Seattle Prep, 28-14

A fast start by the Panthers wasn't enough against the fourth-ranked Braves, who rallied for a first-round win.

Tri-City Herald

KENNEWICK — The mark of a great football team isn't 40-point wins and second-quarter blowouts. It's picking yourself up after a surprise right cross knocks you down.

Kamiakin battled back from a dominating quarter-plus of play by Seattle Prep, grinding down the smaller Panthers in the second half for a 28-14 Class 3A playoff win Saturday at Lampson Stadium.

Zach Umemoto ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore fill-in Kylle Robertson played beyond his years at quarterback, and the Braves' defense made the big plays in the second half.

"They smashed us in the mouth. They came ready to play," said fullback/linebacker Drew Oord, who scored Kamiakin's first touchdown in the second quarter on a bullish 8-yard run. "But after that first quarter, our defense shut them down. They couldn't move the ball to save their lives."

The win sets up the rematch that Big Nine fans have been drooling over, with the fourth-ranked Braves (11-0) and No. 9 Kennewick playing next Saturday in the quarterfinals. Kamiakin handed the Lions (10-1) their lone loss, 14-6, in Week 4.

But that rematch seemed a long shot after seventh-ranked Seattle Prep (9-2) opened the game in a fashion Kamiakin fans are not accustom to: pushing their Braves up and down the field and blowing holes in the Red Brick Wall.

The Panthers took the opening kickoff and marched to the Kamiakin 24, tearing off chunks of yards in their double-tight end set with power back Charlie Brennan. Quarterback Jackson Clough frequently pitched the ball to Brennan, then used his 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame to lead the ball carrier into the hole, along with 200-pound fullback Jim Killeen.

It added up to the Braves being outnumbered at the point of attack.

"A couple of times, I felt like four guys were on me," said Kamiakin defensive end Joe Hunt. "It was tough to hold my gap."

The Panthers' second drive lasted just three plays, with speedy back Teré Calloway coming to a dead stop before picking his way through the middle of Kamiakin's defense to reach open field on a 78-yard touchdown.

"People have a hard time with our offense out of the gate," Clawson said. "We get a rhythm going, and if we can sustain it, great."

A three-and-out by Kamiakin, and Prep was back on the move as the quarter came to a close. In just 12 minutes, the visitors had piled up 173 yards on the ground — about two games' worth for the Braves defense.

Three plays into the second quarter, Prep flashed its dangerous side, with a play-action pass from Clough to Parker Mays. Mays beat one-on-one coverage on the outside and scored on the 39-yard play.

Prep was up 14-0, and Kamiakin had yet to show any signs of figuring that offense out.

"They hit us in the mouth," Hunt said. "I think we were shell-shocked. But our team's a bunch of fighters. We came back and kept punching, came back with a 'W'."

The comeback started after Prep rolled the dice on its next possession. Facing fourth-and-2 on his team's 35, Panthers coach D.R. Clawson decided to go for it. The plan was to draw the defense offside. But not everyone got the message, and an unexpected snap resulted in a fumble and a short field for Kamiakin, which soon scored.

"That fourth-down conversion, we fumble the ball and let them score going into the half," Clawson said. "At that point in the game, if we get that fourth-down conversion, we can drive the ball and get three or seven points. But we blew that, gave them a short field and the score was 14-7."

And the momentum swung all the way to Kamiakin, which dominated the second half.

"They were too big for us, too physical," said Prep's Clawson. "We couldn't get the stops and get off the field."

Kamiakin finished with 248 yards on the ground and 311 total. After their fast start, Seattle Prep managed just 68 more yards rushing the rest of the day.

Calloway finished with 134 yards on 14 carries, and Brennan had 92 on 18 for the Panthers.