The Hermiston Bulldogs still are looking for their groove. Once they find it, they could be dangerous.
The Bulldogs kept pace with Kennewick for three quarters on Friday night, but the Lions hung 14 points on the board in the fourth quarter to hold on for a 28-17 Mid-Columbia Conference victory at Lampson Stadium.
“You can’t win if you don’t take care of the little things,” Hermiston coach David Faaeteete said. “If you don’t sweat the small details, they come back to get you. We had missed assignments and missed opportunities. We just dropped the ball.”
It was a key 3A game for both teams, but the Dawgs (0-3) did not make it easy on the Lions (2-1).
“They play hard,” Kennewick coach Randy Affholter said. “I thought we controlled the ball and handled the run game, but we need to make plays and put the game away.”
The Lions led 14-11 after three quarters, but used a 2-yard touchdown by quarterback Blaine Chavez, and a 5-yard scoring pass to Max Mayer to take a 28-11 lead.
With 3:21 to play, the Dawgs scored on a 78-yard pass play from Sam Schwirse to Garrett Walchli to pull within 28-17.
“We played a lot better than what we have,” said Walchli, who dedicated the game to his grandfather Skip Walchli, who died Friday morning. “It comes down to discipline. We have to be more focused. We are right there.”
Schwirse finished the game with 183 yards passing, with Walchli on the receiving end of six for 108 yards.
Hermiston hung with the Lions in the first half, trailing 14-3 after two quarters.
Myles Mayovsky scored both touchdowns for Kennewick — on an 8-yard run in the first quarter, and from 11 yards out in the second. The bruising sophomore running back had 70 yards on 14 carries. He also had 85 receiving yards.
Between Mayovsky’s touchdowns, Trevor Wagner kicked a 25-yard field goal for the Bulldogs.
Wagner previously missed on a 44-yard field goal, and on a 43-yard try, the snap was low.
With 1:08 left in the second quarter, the Lions looked to make one last charge.
Chavez hit Mayovsky with a 38-yard pass to put the ball at the Hermiston 29. A holding penalty pushed the Lions back. Kennewick ran out of time before they could find the end zone.
Early in the third, the Dawgs punted, and the ball hit off the chest of Mayovsky. Trent Pitney recovered the ball for Hermiston on the Kennewick 18-yard line.
Daniel Faaeteete ran the ball into the end zone from 4 yards out, and Caden Fisher ran in the 2-point conversion, as the Dawgs trimmed the Lions’ lead to 14-11.
“You can’t let people hang around,” Affholter said. “You have to start playing with a killer instinct.”