2019 Team Preview - 24/7 Sports

Key Players

QB Easton Wise-Hyde - Wise-Hyde is exactly what you’re looking for in a program QB. He’s been playing QB in Hanford’s system since he was a young kid, and now he’s ready for the big time. This 5-foot-11, 170-pound junior is a total gunslinger, which is perfect for Hanford’s spread offense.

RB Dylan McElderry - McElderry really caught fire towards the end of his junior year. When the original starter, Jared Devine, was lost for the season, McElderry stepped in and started the final five games. McElderry’s season was highlighted by a historic performance against Sunnyside, where he set a school record by scoring five touchdowns.

WR Isaiah Mitchell - He’s a tough-minded receiver who always runs his routes hard, and isn’t afraid to play physical. Pound-for-pound, Mitchell might be the strongest player on the team. This 6-foot, 185-pound senior is poised to have an All-League level season.

RB/DB Kamari Durmas - You won’t find many high school cornerbacks that are built like Kamari Durmas. He’s a muscular 5-foot-11,185-pounds, and he knows how to use his frame to deliver big hits. Dumas is expected to be a shutdown corner, and will also take some handoffs in the backfield.

OL/DL Wyatt Eller - The 6-foot-3, 300-pound senior is going to be a key contributor on both sides of the ball. Whether it’d be size, work ethic, or high IQ, Eller checks all the boxes that you look for in a linemen leader. He’ll be a tall order for any opposing coach to gameplan for.

Overview

Words cannot describe the pain that Hanford felt after squandering a 24-7 lead with eight minutes left against Gonzaga Prep in a state qualifer, a game they would lose 28-24. It would’ve sent Hanford to the state playoffs for the first time since 2009.

As heart-breaking as it was to come up one play short of making it to state, there’s no denying that Hanford Football is a program on the uptick at the moment.

The head coach of the Falcons, Brett Jay, inherited an 0-10 program back in 2015. It’s been a slow and steady ascent, but coach Jay firmly believes now he has his program in a position to be a contender every single season.

If Hanford is going to take that next step in 2019, they’re going to need their new quarterback, Easton Wise-Hyde, to become a star quickly. He’s largely an unknown commodity at this point, but the coaching staff has bought into him, and he’s as ready as he’s ever going to be.

Fortunately for him, he’ll have a couple powerful running backs to lean on in Dylan McElderry and Kamari Dumas. There’s high hopes that McElderry can be a workhorse type back, which could result in him leading the league in rushing. He’s at his best in open space, making defenders miss.

Dumas’ running style is fast and aggressive. He’s a challenge to take down between the tackles.

Both back will be working behind an experienced offensive line. With four of five starters returning, the O-line that may actually be the strength of the offense.

One of the many anchors on this line is senior center Wyatt Eller. The coaching staff has a lot of trust in him due to his consistency and excellent fundamentals.

Protecting Wise-Hyde’s blindside is a slim 6-foot-3 senior in Payten Collins. His build is more like a tight end, but Hanford needs an athletic and long guy to play left tackle, and Collins is exactly that.

Holding down the right side of the line is 6-foot, 240-pound guard Casey Moddrell, and 6-foot-2, 260-pound tackle Michael Chvedov. Both have a track record of being maulers, which should mean good things for the run game.

At the end of the day however, Hanford is a team that’s going to wants to air it out. There is definitely no shortage of tremendous downfield targets.

The conversation has to start with senior Isaiah Mitchell. He was a bit hidden last year behind a couple all-star seniors in Luke Stutey and Blake Vander Top. But now that he’s a bonafide top target, a special season appears to be on the horizon.

Three other receivers to look out for would be brothers Caleb and Jamouri Harvey, and the highly shifty Gabe Martinez. The brothers moved to the Tri-Cities from Florida. With their tall and athletic builds, Caleb and Jamouri are excellent additions to the passing game.

On the defensive side, Hanford will be striving to improve from being the sixth overall unit in the conference. Former Hanford head coach Bob Oram returns to the program as its new defensive coordinator, and they are hoping to see increased production this season.

The D-line should see plenty of the veteran O-linemen flip over and play defense. Some of those players will be Wyatt Eller, Payten Collins, Casey Moddrell, and Bobby Mauseth.

A player with increased responsibility this year is 6-foot, 205-pound senior defensive end Marcus Romero. With the sheer volume of two-way players on the D-line, Romero is going to need to stay healthy, and be a consistent force.

In the linebacker corp, a budding player that could get a lot of tackles this year is Konnor Oberman. He’s primarily been a receiver, but the coaches moved him to linebacker this season. With his strong, 6-foot, 205-pound frame, middle linebacker could be the perfect for for Oberman.

The picture isn’t clear yet who will join Oberman on Friday nights, but a couple seniors that have been playing at outside linebacker during Spring Ball is Nathan Bushman and Isaiah Mitchell.

The secondary should be a strength this year. It is highlighted by a couple All-League candidates in Gabe Martinez and Kamari Durmas.

Martinez led the entire conference in interceptions last year with six, en route to a First-Team All-League honor. Durmas is going into his third season as one of the starting corners, and there really is no true weakness in his game.

Manning the other DB spots is going to be the senior combination of Alec Cruz and Edward De La Paz at the safety spot, and the other cornerback will be junior Amir Deng. Deng is a little undersized at 5-foot-10, 140-pounds, but the coaches have liked what he’s done this off-season, and they are excited for what he can do this year.

Projection: With 30 seniors graduating from last year's squad, it might be easy to assume that Hanford will take a step back in 2019. But given the momentum of this program right now, it would not be wise to step in the path of this active train. It’s worth acknowledging however that Hanford’s schedule is brutally difficult. A road slate of Kennewick, Kamiakin, Chiawana, Hermiston, and Richland would make any team shudder. The MCC boasts only two playoff berths this year, so Hanford simply cannot take any weeks off. Like they always do, expect Hanford to fight tooth and nail to qualify for the state playoffs.

Key Games

@ Kennewick 9/6

@ Chiawana 10/4

@ Richland 11/1

Falcons Roll to 50-6 Victory over Pasco

HANFORD 50, PASCO 6: The Hanford Falcons kept pace atop the Mid-Columbia Conference with a victory over Pasco at Edgar Brown Stadium.

Hanford is now 5-1 in MCC play, 6-1 overall, and tied for first with Chiawana.

Garrett Horner tossed two TD passes, Dylan McElderry scored three times, and Jared DeVine found the end zone two times as the Falcons rolled up 429 yards.

Hanford scored three TDs and a field goal in the first quarter for a 22-0 lead.

That included a 54-yard TD pass from Horner to Luke Sutey. Horner finished with 174 yards passing, while Sutey caught six passes for 115 yards.

DeVine, who was sidelined a few weeks ago with a badly sprained ankle, bounced back with 146 yards rushing on 13 carries.

Hanford’s defense held Pasco to minus-7 yards of rushing on 35 carries. But Pasco QBs Armani Reyes and Kekoa Nery each had 78 yards passing. Brandon Scott caught two passes for 55 yards.

Hanford Runs to 5-1 With Non-League Win vs Sunnyside

Everything went Hanford's way against Sunnyside on Friday as they made off with a 56-35 win.

Hanford started the game off right with 35 first-half points. Sunnyside wasn't quite able to keep up, scoring 14 to make it 35-14 heading into the break. Hanford's offense just added to that total in the second half en route to their big win. The victory bumped their record up to 5-1. The defeat dropped Sunnyside's record to 4-2.

Next week Hanford take on Pasco at Edgar Brown Stadium at 7:00 PM. Pasco are limping into the contest on a three-game losing streak. As for Sunnyside, they will face off against Eastmont. Eastmont also lit up the scoreboard in their last match, so this could be a high-scoring match.

VIDEO: Hanford v Chiawana 2018

Hanford had Chiawana from the start. Falcons win has turned MCC upside down

Updated September 29, 2018 06:05 PM

“We watched a lot of film on Chiawana,” said Hanford QB Garrett Horner, who passed for 199 yards, two touchdowns and ran for another TD. “We were definitely making reads on our routes.”

Horner threw to nine different receivers.

But it was the Hanford defense that made some big plays.

After Horner, on Hanford’s third series, broke the scoreless tie with a 44-yard TD pass to Isaiah Mitchell on a post pattern, the Falcons’ Gunnar Beyer intercepted Chiawana QB Preston Vine.

Four plays later, Louis Werner bulled into the end zone from 3 yards out and a 14-0 Hanford lead.

On Chiawana’s next series, Hanford safety Gabe Martinez picked off another Vine pass. Six plays and 43 yards later, Hanford had a 21-0 lead when Horner connected on a 20-yard TD pass to Luke Sutey on another post pattern.

“We beat ourselves in that first half,” said Chiawana coach Steve Graff. “We gave them too many opportunities. The bottom line is they’ve got a whole bunch of seniors, and we don’t. We’ve got to get better.”

The Riverhawks would rally back – “That’s what a Steve Graff –coached team does,” said Hanford coach Brett Jay – but it wasn’t enough.

And the Falcons did something perhaps out of character: they ran the ball a lot in the second half to chew the clock up.

When it was over, Hanford had the football 27 minutes and 58 seconds, compared to Chiawana’s 20:02.

“I believe in our run game,” said Jay. “Whenever you can run the ball, you can take the air out of the game.”

It just wasn’t the running back everyone expected to take the air out of the game.

Senior Jared DeVine, last year’s leading rusher in the MCC, went down in the second quarter with a badly twisted ankle. DeVine tried to come back after getting his ankle retaped, but it wasn’t working.

“He’s all heart,” said Jay. “He gave it a go. That’s why I love him. But we needed to get someone in there who could do better.”

That would be junior Dylan McElderry, who finished the game with 141 yards rushing on 19 carries.

“I was hoping I’d get an opportunity,” said McElderry. “I definitely want to thank our offensive line. They definitely gave me some holes to run through. And our receivers did a great job blocking on the outside.”

Even when Chiawana rallied to within a score, though, it was McElderry who made the big play.

Leading 28-21 with 1:17 to play, the Falcons had the ball on their own 49 hoping to run out the clock.

McElderry took the handoff, found a small hole that he burst through, and was gone for a 51-yard TD run.

“I was just focused on holding onto the ball,” McElderry said. “I didn’t care if I had zero yards on the run. I didn’t want to fumble.”

No. Instead, he scored.

“Dylan has got great vision,” said Jay. “He does a good job of setting up the block.”

NOTES: Defensively, DB Gabe Martinez shined for the Falcons, collecting five tackles and two interceptions. DL Keegan Smith added five tackles (one for loss) and 2.5 QB sacks for Hanford, whileDB Alec Cruz added eight tackles. … Chiawana was paced defensively by LB AJ Vongphachanh, who had 11 tackles (one for loss). DL Hunter Williams added f ive tackles (one for loss) and two QB sacks. … Chiawana has another tough matchup next Friday, playing host to Hermiston. … Hanford steps out of MCC play next Friday and travels to Big Nine leader Sunnyside.