Scott Bond felt calm watching junior kicker Michael Kot send the game-winning field goal through the uprights on Friday night in the final minutes.
In what has typically been billed as the battle atop the Mid Columbia Conference, Chiawana and Kamiakin have typically beat one another up in the process.
After Chiawana’s 15-14 win over Kamiakin at Edgar Brown Stadium on Friday night, one that established the Riverhawks (3-0) atop the MCC, Bond felt a shift from over-energetic offensive coordinator of past, to a less reactive head coach.
“That’s the way that battle will always go,” Bond said. “It was one of those sloppy wins. You have to make enough plays, and our defense did that for us.”
It was, undoubtedly, a game won on defense. Kamiakin’s front seven flushed Chiawana quarterback JP Zamora out of the pocket for most of the night, stunting the Riverhawks’ plan to throw upwards of 50 times.
Chiawana’s defense showed up, too, and put the first points on the board. Senior corner Jalen Webber read QB Henry Mercado to a T, jumped a route and took an interception back for touchdown to put the Riverhawks on the board, 6-0 in the first quarter.
“He played that really well,” Bond said. “To get points on the board right away was huge.”
Kamiakin responded by putting two touchdowns on the board, first a Mercado pass that Luis Salgado took more than 30 yards for a touchdown, then a drive-capping Tuna Altahir short touchdown run to put Kamiakin up 14-6 in the second quarter.
Among the few times Kamiakin’s blitz packages didn’t force Zamora to think quickly on his feet — a test for a new offensive line building experience — he connected on a 67-yard touchdown pass, but it was called back due to a penalty.
“I was running every play,” Zamora said.
He ended up throwing Chiawana’s one offensive touchdown of the game on the same drive, finding a leaping Kobe Young in the back of the end zone late in the final minutes of the first half to pull within 14-12.
“We know the rivalry’s good,” Zamora said. “It’s going to be a good game every time we play.”
AT SKYVIEW 23, UNION 20
You like a crazy shake-up in the 4A GSHL?
After the Storm’s come-from-behind victory over the 10th-ranked Titans, you have it now.
“We’re a pretty young team, but I thought we kept our cool and played disciplined,” Storm coach Steve Kizer said.
Picked third in the preseason, Skyview now has a chance to win the league title if it can beat defending 4A Camas on March 23. But with three games in nine days ahead, Kizer isn’t looking that far ahead.
Clark Coleman hit Xavier Owens on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 41/2 minutes to put Skyview up, 23-20. The drive was set up by a one-two punch of Jaydin Knapp’s speed around the edge and Gabe Martin’s more hard-nosed style.
Union drove to the Storm 30-yard line in the final seconds, but was stopped on a fumble.
Tobias Merriweather caught a 40-yard touchdown pass, and returned a kickoff 87 yards to give Union a 20-16 lead at the end of the third quarter. Like many teams Union faces, the Storm did not mean to kick to him.
“He’s got speed, size, strong, runs good routes and obviously can return a kick pretty well, too,” Kizer said. “I recommend if you play union, you don’t do that.”
AT EASTMONT 10, WENATCHEE 7
Mike Don seems to have a handle on how to win “Battle of the Bridges” rivalry games at Eastmont.
The Wildcats’ defense was spectacular for much of the game, and Oscar Mago kicked a game-winning 36-yard field goal with three minutes remaining at Eastmont Stadium.
Eastmont has won the past four rivalry games over the Panthers. The two teams play again April 2 in Wenatchee.
“I don’t know what it is about these games,” Don told the Wenatchee World after the game. “It’s unbelievable how they always come down to the final few minutes. There is just no other way to do it I guess.”
Corbin Keys tied the game, 7-7, for the Wildcats with his 2-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, setting the stage for Mago’s big kick late in the game.
Wenatchee dual-threat quarterback J.J. Jelsing led his team to a quick 7-0 lead on its opening series, tossing a 17-yard score to Camden Loidhamer. But the Panthers were shut out after that. Jelsing amassed 205 rushing yards on 25 carries.
COLVILLE 36, at FREEMAN 35
After throwing an ill-advised interception that gave the Scotties a lead midway through the fourth quarter, Colville quarterback Sam Anderson walked to the sideline – and directly to first-year coach Greg Mace.
“He says, ‘Yeah, that was stupid,’” Mace said. “And I told him, ‘We are moving on, so let’s go down and score.’”
And ninth-ranked Colville did, driving 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown – a 22-yard Isaiah Wilson scamper with 6:55 to go in a 1A Northeast nailbiter.
“Sam has been all-world for us,” Mace said. “Our communication runs through him, and he directs stuff at the line of scrimmage. He is a great leader for us.”
Freeman drove to its own 40-yard line in the final minute. But on fourth and 3, standout sophomore quarterback Boen Phelps was sacked by defensive tackles Justin Finley and Kris Nussbaum to seal the victory.
Phelps was the one who picked off Anderson’s shovel pass in the end zone for a touchdown – and 35-30 Freeman lead with nine minutes remaining.
Anderson finished with 193 passing yards and four touchdowns, and another 82 rushing yards.
AT ONALASKA 68, KALAMA 58
With a brutal schedule, there were plenty of opportunities for the reigning Class 2B champions to fall this season.
But the No. 3 Loggers have met every challenge, including one in this high-stakes shootout Friday against Jackson Esary and company.
Marshall Haight rushed for a career-high 288 yards and five touchdowns, and Onalaska set up a 2B Central championship rematch with Napavine next week. The Loggers won the earlier matchup, 38-0, in the season opener.
Onalaska has also beaten Forks and Toledo en route to a 5-0 record.
“Unbelievably proud,” Loggers coach Mazen Saade. “I am unbelievably proud of our guys. We’ve got a motto in our program – keep digging. … Their dedication and love for the game of football at Onalaska is unmatched.”
Onalaska broke away from a 22-22 game late in the first half with three consecutive touchdowns – all starting with a fumble recovery by Kolby Mozingo for a turnover.
Danny Dalsted capped the scoring barrage with his 2-yard touchdown run for a 46-22 Loggers’ lead with 30 seconds to go.
Esary rushed for 209 yards and four touchdowns, and passed for 227 yards and three scores for the No. 2 Chinooks.