By Dustin Brennan |

Ready to get back to business after a 2016 season that produced the first state championship in school history, the No. 3 Kamiakin High School football team recovered from a slow start to beat Eastmont 35-6 on Friday night in the season opener in East Wenatchee.

Benson Smith caught both of first-year starting quarterback Payton Flynn’s touchdown passes, and running back Talmage Jacobson scored twice on the ground.

But as positive as the end result was for the Braves, things looked disastrous out of the gate.

Kamiakin looked like it had Eastmont stopped on the game’s opening drive when the Wildcats faced third-and-17 on the Braves’ 28-yard line, but quarterback Caelen Massey hit Ethan Simpson in the back of the end zone for a touchdown and an early 6-0 lead.

Working a two-quarterback system, Eastmont looked to be back in business later in the first quarter when Kole Warren hit Cameron Scaramozzino for a 69-yard catch-and-run to the Braves’ 9, but the drive stalled out and an errant snap on the field-goal attempt turned the Wildcats away with nothing to show for their efforts.

The game was all Kamiakin the rest of the way. Freshman running back Tuna Altahir closed out a lengthy drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Braves on the board, and Flynn connected with Smith for a 14-yard score for a 14-6 halftime lead.

A 60-yard punt return by Champ Grayson set up a 2-yard TD run by Jacobson in the third, then Flynn hit Smith for a for another score, and Jacobson scampered in from 17 yards out to cap the scoring in the fourth.

Despite winning by four touchdowns, Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin said in a text that the team made a lot of early-season mistakes and picked up too many penalties.

Kamiakin beat Eastmont 44-0 in last season’s opener.

Individual stats were not available.

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