It’s a matchup Mid-Columbia football fans have been waiting for — Hermiston vs. Chiawana.
The Bulldogs (4-1) will visit the Riverhawks at Edgar Brown Stadium on Friday.
Chiawana (3-2 overall, 3-1 MCC) has lost two games in a row, but that does not take away from the importance of this week’s game.
Hermiston and Hanford are tied atop the MCC at 4-1, with Chiawana and Kamiakin right behind at 3-1. The Falcons are at Sunnyside for a nonleague game Friday, while the Braves host Walla Walla.
The Bulldogs lead the MCC in defense, allowing just 225 yards of offense and 10 points per game, but the Riverhawks are No. 2 at 234. Though Chiawana is stingy with the yards, they are giving up 20 points per game. Hermiston scores an average of 33.8.
Hermiston coach David Faaeteete knows the points won’t come easy this week.
“We have got to be able to run the football, play good defense and control the clock,” Faaeteete said. “I think we have to contain them offensively and stop their vertical game. It’s a chess match. We have to come ready to play physical football. They are as quick as any team we will play this year.”
Hermiston running back Wyatt Noland will play a big part in the outcome of Friday’s game. He leads the league in rushing with 842 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“You don’t know what kind of play Wyatt will bring,” Faaeteete said. “He runs hard and is a physical player.”
That was certainly true Friday, when Noland rushed fro 138 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of a 56-0 win over Southridge of Kennewick at Kennison Field, at times dragging two or three defenders down the field.
“We thought we need to come out and show what we do,” Noland said. “Had to show we weren’t messing around.”
A running clock in the second half moved things along, with Hermiston finishing the night with a 56-0 Mid-Columbia Conference victory over the Suns at Kennison Field.
“We talked about playing to our level all the time,” Faaeteete said. “Southridge is young and hurt. We just had to play hard and finish the game.”
Andrew James ran for a 1-yard touchdown, and threw for two more as he put up 168 yards in the air in the first half. His TD passes went to Trevor Wagner and Jordan Ramirez.
Noland finished with 153 yards, and gave credit to the men in the trenches.
“The holes opened up with the line blocking and allowed me to get yards,” he said.
In the second half, James ran the ball in from two yards out for a 48-0 lead with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter, Tyson Salinas scored on a 2-yard run to account for the final score.
“It was great to watch them play as hard as they do, and see guys get their first varsity minutes under the lights,” Faaeteete said.
Ryan Stayrook was a one-man wrecking crew for the Suns (0-5), picking up 50 yards on 11 carries. He also caught four passes for 34 yards.
Defensively, Alex Teal had a first-quarter interception for the Suns.
Southridge 0 0 0 0— 0
Hermiston 27 14 7 7— 56
H - Wyatt Noland 10 run (Juan Carlos Navarrete kick)
H - Andrew James 1 run (Trevor Wagner kick)
H - Noland 3 run (kick failed)
H - Noland 2 run (Navarrete kick)
H - Wagner 20 pass from James (Wagner kick)
H - Jordan Ramirez 11 pass from James (Navarrete kick)
H - James 2 run (Wagner kick)
H - Tyson Salinas 2 run (Garrett Walchli run)
SHS: Trenton Slater 11–23 Theron McCullough 3-4 Ryan Stayrook 11-50; HHS: Andrew James 9-44, Wyatt Noland 15-153, Guiomar Garry 5-49, Tyson Salinas 3-16, Derek McBride 1-5, Chase Elliot 3–5.
SHS: Trenton Slater 9-22-0-73; HHS: Andrew James 11-16-1-168, Chase Elliot 2-2-0-24.
SHS: Alex Teal 1-2, Caleb Cook-Parker 2-23, Ryan Stayrook 4-34, Theron McCullough 1-(minus-3), Trent Mertens 1-9; HHS: Youbani Razon 2-14, Garrett Walchli 2-36, Jordan Ramirez 3-66, Trent Pitney 1-12, Trevor Wagner 3-26, Tyson Salinas 1-28.