KENNEWICK, Wash. — Hermiston was worried about Kamiakin running back Tuna Altahir going into Friday’s game, but it would be the Braves’ defense that gave the Bulldogs fits.
Kamiakin held Hermiston to 121 yards of offense en route to a 40-7 Mid-Columbia Conference victory on a chilly night at Lampson Stadium.
“It was a tough night,” said Hermiston assistant coach Richard Wells, who filled in for coach David Faaeteete, who was serving a one-game suspension. “They are a very good football team. Coach (Scott) Biglin could have made it worse than what it was. They are a class organization.”
Sophomore Sam Cadenas said it was tough not having Faaeteete on the sidelines.
“It was hard without him,” Cadenas said. “He helps us on defense, and when we do something good, he gets up. His presence wasn’t there, and I felt we needed it.”
The Bulldogs (1-7 MCC), who missed the playoffs, will host an MCC/GSL crossover game at 5 p.m. next Friday against North Central.
“Tears will be flowing,” senior receiver and defensive back Garrett Walchli said of the final game of the season. “We’ve worked our tails off for 4-plus years. This is not the season we wanted, but we are with our brothers every day. Who wouldn’t want that.”
The Braves (6-2 MCC) scored early and often in the first half, taking a 37-0 lead at the half. Kelen Rutz scored on a 13-yard pass play from Henry Mercado, and on a 53-yard run.
Woodley Downard highlighted the second quarter with an 86-yard scoring pass from Mercado to make it 37-0 with 3:45 left to play in the first half.
“We want to make sure we are playing our best football right now,” Biglin said. “Our kids were focused. Defensively, they were flying around and having fun.”
Braeden Staniszewski kicked a 28-yard field goal less than five minutes into the third quarter to bring about the running clock.
It’s the first time since Sept. 11, 2015, that Hermiston has been on the wrong side of the running clock. That game was also against Kamiakin.
Walchli put the Bulldogs on the board with 3:40 left in the game, hauling in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Sam Schwirse.
Altahir, who averaged more than 150 yards a game heading into the contest, had 111 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown for the Braves, as the Bulldogs kept him in check.
“We tried to tackle him high and that didn’t work,” Cadenas said. “He’s a good player.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs had a productive night. Cadenas and Junior Sepeni had quarterback sacks. Cadenas also had eight solo tackles and two assists, while Trevor Wagner had eight solo tackles, and Koi Mikami five solo tackles and four assists.