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.

Falcons Fly on Blue Devils, win 41-6

Walla Walla High School’s football team kept its own defense embattled against a widespread Hanford attack, and the Blue Devils paid for it.

Wa-Hi gained enough yardage for a first down only four times as 10 of 14 drives resulted in punts — six of them after the minimum three plays. 

And the Blue Devils ended up rushing for a total of 13 yards on 24 carries.

Hanford quarterback Garrett Horner took advantage of the repeated opportunities and connected with four different receivers for touchdowns.

He gained 253 yards on 17-of-29 passing with only one interception, teammate Jared DeVine ran for another 128 yards and two TDs on 22 carries, and the Falcons dealt Wa-Hi a 41-6 loss at Borleske Stadium on a warm Friday night.

“Honestly, they were just better up front than us on both sides of the ball,” Blue Devils coach Eric Hisaw said. “We couldn’t run the ball tonight, we couldn’t stop their run. And when you can’t stop the run and you can’t run, it’s a long night. And that’s the bottom line.

“We got beat by a better team tonight,” he continued. “We played hard. We just got beat by a better team tonight, plain and simple.”

The Blue Devils look to bounce back this Friday at perennial powerhouse Chiawana, which needed a last-second field goal to edge Kennewick for a 27-26 win on Thursday.

“We’re gonna keep working and grinding,” Hisaw said. “It’s only game two. We are 1-1 right now, so the world’s not coming to an end. We’re just gonna go, get back to work. 

“That’s the only way to do things,” he added. “We’re gonna go attack the crap out of Chiawana next week. Our only focus is us looking to get better and going to play them.”

With almost no running game against Hanford, Wa-Hi eventually left its offense up to sophomore quarterback Ryan Martuscelli — starting in place of senior Keldan Swant, out of action due to a shoulder sprain he suffered midway through their season-opening win at Southridge.

The 5-foot-7 Martuscelli finished 14-of-21 passing for 121 yards and a touchdown with one interception.

Dylan Ashbeck caught six passes for 91 yards.

“I thought Ryan played really well tonight,” Hisaw said of his QB. 

The first time Wa-Hi could move the chains for a first down happened on a Martuscelli-Ashbeck connection for 31 yards to midfield with Hanford already up, 21-0, and only about two minutes left before halftime.

But Martuscelli and Ashbeck soon followed with gains of seven and 36 yards, the latter getting them to the Hanford 5.

A tackle behind the line of scrimmage pushed Wa-Hi back to the Hanford 9, but from there, Martuscelli got to 6-foot-7 senior Jared McAlvey in the end zone with about 18 seconds left.

Hanford would make a threat in those final seconds, creeping to within the Wa-Hi 22, but a defensive stand gave the Blue Devils some more momentum into the break.

The Wa-Hi rally seemed to carry over, as McAlvey picked off a Horner pass to the Blue Devil 22 less than a minute into the third quarter, but they then went three-and-out.

The ensuing Hanford drive ended on a failed fourth-down bid, but the very next play resulted in a Falcon interception at the Blue Devil 31, and Horner soon hit receiver Blake VanderTop with a 28-yard scoring pass to make it a 27-6 game. 

About five minutes still remained in the third quarter, and Hanford added touchdowns on its next two drives to finish off Wa-Hi.

“We couldn’t stay on the field on offense,” Hisaw said. “We had like six straight three-and-outs, I think. You can’t win a ball game doing that. Our defense actually played pretty well — first half, only giving up 21 — on a short field all night. 

“We just got beat-up up front on both sides,” he added. “Not a lack of effort, we’ve just got to get better.”

Hanford FB 2018 - TC Herald Preview

With Nirvana blasting “Come As You Are” over the loudspeakers at a recent Hanford Falcons football practice, head coach Brett Jay watched as senior quarterback Garrett Horner fired a pass into double coverage.

That pass was picked off by a Hanford linebacker in the end zone during the team’s live scrimmage near the goal line, the ball run back as the Falcons defense celebrated a rare mistake by Horner.

Suddenly Horner, running back Jared DeVine, and the other members of the offensive unit dropped to the ground and counted off 10 push-ups each.

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Horner throws for 5 TDs, Hanford sweeps aside Walla Walla

Hanford quarterback Garrett Horner (5) drops back to pass during a 2016 game against the Kamiakin Braves at Fran Rish Stadium. The Falcons went on the road to beat Walla Walla 24-6 on Friday night.

Garrett Horner was nearly flawless, completing 25 of 31 passes for 367 yards and five touchdowns, as the Hanford High School football team stormed into Walla Walla on Friday night and came away with a 42-6 victory.

The Falcons flexed their depth, with nine different players catching passes and 13 of them recording either a rush or a pass. Jared Devine continued his dynamic play out of the backfield, picking up 182 yards from scrimmage on 20 touches and scoring on a 15-yard scamper in the second quarter.

Darin Ongers did his best to jump start the Blue Devils offense early, racing 65 yards in the first quarter to open the scoring. But Walla Walla (0-3, 0-1) did little with the ball after that, gaining just 231 yards on the night compared to Hanford’s 517.

Horner found Dimitri Kennedy-Woody in the end zone twice in the second quarter to help the Falcons to a 28-6 halftime lead. Thomas Kitchens also had two touchdown grabs — 39 yards in the first quarter and 19 in the third — and had game highs with seven receptions and 128 yards.

Colton Bozich intercepted two passes for Hanford and Drezdyn O’Daol-Lyons made a pick as well. Damian Fraga made all six of his PAT attempts.