The Hermiston Bulldogs knew what they were getting Friday night against the Kamiakin Braves from Kennewick, Wash. It just didnt look like Kamiakin knew who they were getting in the Bulldogs.
It was a big night against a big-time opponent, Hermiston head football coach Mark Hodges said.
A big night it was.
Hermiston scored 14 points in the second quarter after a scoreless first period and held an explosive offense to just seven points on the way to a 28-7 win over Kamiakin at Kennison Field.
Hermiston controlled the line on both sides of the ball and was able to pressure Kamiakin quarterback Tyson Patten into some bad throws. The pressure forced Patten to rush his delivery or make bad decisions. He air-mailed some balls that found their way into the hands of Hermiston senior Carson Morter.
Morter had four interceptions to lead the Bulldog defensive unit. He was quick in the secondary but quicker in his humility.
It was about the guys up front, Morter said. I was just in the right place at the right time.
Thats why hes back there, Hodges added.
Kamiakin had scored 35 points against a very good Ferndale team last week, and the game truly was won on the defensive side of the ball for Hermiston. After having a stellar throwing game last week, Patten was just 11-of-32 for 170 yards and the four interceptions.
No matter how good the defense was, the offense still needed to put up points.
Enter Chase Knutz.
Hermistons quarterback went 17-of-30 for 270 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He held his presence in the pocket and showed great patience when forced out, throwing a 27-yard dime to Keegan Crafton in the third quarter, which set up a short 2-yard plunge from Samuel Colbray.
Chase would be the first to tell you that hes capable of playing better, Hodges said. He works hard, hes a good young man and he has good character.
Hodges called the win a big statement for our program, saying it is tough to say whether his team could compete in the Mid-Columbia League with the Tri-Cities powers.
Chiawana would have something to say about that, he quipped.
All jokes aside, Hermiston physically beat a Kamiakin team with good size on both sides of the line and was able to run the ball effectively when it had to.
Up 21-7 in the fourth quarter, Hermiston abandoned its high-powered passing game in favor of Colbray and Cory Adams. Colbray picked up tough yard after yard to wind down the clock, and Adams was a nice change of pace when Colbray needed a blow.
After the scoreless first period, the game never felt close. Kamiakins offense could never get into a rhythm, and Hermistons couldnt get out of one.
Thats a physical team, a well-coached team, Hodges said. We have the utmost respect for them. We played well, and we coached well.
Hermistons next game is at Springfield by Eugene at 7 p.m. Friday.