KENNEWICK – Mount Spokane coach Mike McLaughlin thought of just about every scenario possible for Saturday’s 3A state quarterfinal football game against Kamiakin.
None, however, matched the horror show that unfolded before his eyes on the Lampson Stadium turf.
Everything that could go wrong for the Wildcats in the first half did, as they fell behind 30-0 and could never recover in a 44-19 loss to end their season at 10-2.
Kamiakin (12-0) hosts Capital in the semifinals next weekend in Kennewick.
“If I had scripted a worst-case scenario, I couldn’t have come up with anything else,” McLaughlin said after a long postgame talk. “This loss doesn’t take away from the accomplishments of this season. At this point, the only endings are endings to great seasons.”
The game set up as a matchup between an irresistible force (Mt. Spokane’s high-powered offense) and an immovable object (Kamiakin’s league-leading defense).
The Braves were the ones who didn’t budge. They bottled up the Wildcats’ attack for the better part of three quarters, forcing four first-half turnovers which Kamiakin converted into 20 points.
The Wildcats didn’t cross midfield until early in the third quarter and had only 84 yards total offense at halftime.
“We knew they had three options out of their sets,” said Kamiakin senior Jon Allen, the CBBN co-Defensive MVP who had 13 tackles, 31/2 for loss. “It was all about how their line set up and recognizing what they were going to run.”
The tone was set on Mt. Spokane’s opening possession, which started from its 3 after a coffin-corner punt by Kamiakin’s Tanner Meier.
The Wildcats managed two first downs before attempting their first pass, which went through the hands of receiver Tyler Green and into the waiting arms of Dom Davis.
Davis powered through Green’s tackle attempt and ran 32 yards for a touchdown.
“We’d been lucky all year. That was unlucky,” McLaughlin said. “We didn’t panic at that point, but things snowballed.”
A three-and-out led to a 21-yard Garrett Bowe field goal. Another punt eventually turned into a 10-yard TD pass from Joey Jansen to Tyler Holle and a 17-0 Braves lead.
Then the turnovers came in droves. Zach Umemoto stripped Trevor Kissinger of the ball on a short pass reception, setting up a second Jansen-to-Holle touchdown connection – this one from 28 yards out.
On the next possession, Shad Fletcher stepped in front of a Carson Blumenthal pass and picked it off at the Wildcats 29. Five plays later, Drew Oord plunged over from the 1 to put the Braves up 30-0 with 1:07 left before halftime.
One final Fletcher interception on a desperation pass ended the half.
“They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect,” McLaughlin said. “We just didn’t execute well. It just wasn’t our day.”
Chase Naccarato ran for 128 of his 160 yards in the second half, including a 69-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Blumenthal finished 6 of 14 for 47 yards and three interceptions before leaving with a shoulder injury midway through the third quarter.