KENNEWICK – For the first 17 plays of the football game Friday, it certainly looked like the vaunted Shadle Park offense would have its way with Kennewick.
But once the Lions figured out the flow of the Highlanders’ no-huddle offense and started getting pressure, the game turned quickly.
Kennewick used a bend-but-don’t-break defense and a monster game from running back Devven Ramos to defeat Shadle Park 38-20 in a State 3A play-in game at Lampson Stadium.
“We found our rhythm,” Kennewick safety Bodie Simpson said. “We wanted to stop their big, explosive plays. We knew they would get some big plays, but we wanted to limit them.”
The Lions did just that, sacking Shadle Park quarterback Brett Rypien four times and intercepting him once. Rypien still threw for a whopping 410 yards, but the Highlanders struggled to put points on the board.
“They were definitely bringing a lot of pressure,” Rypien said. “You could tell after the first drive that we were a little rattled. We weren’t playing in our rhythm.”
Shadle Park turned the ball over on downs five times, including once when the Highlanders had first-and-goal at the 4.
A big part of that was the strong play of the defensive line for Kennewick, which did just enough to keep Rypien off-balance.
The Lions offense also got to the Highlanders, as Ramos had a monster night rushing for 208 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns. He also threw a touchdown pass on a halfback pass, and scored three two-point conversions.
To top it off, he added a sack of Rypien on defense.
“Every week he is putting it down when he is in the game,” Simpson said of Ramos. “No one seems to be able to tackle him.”
That was never more evident than in the third quarter when he scored on a 63-yard run to give Kennewick an important answer-back TD.
Shadle Park had just scored on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Rypien to Skyler Kelley to pull the Highlanders within 30-20 with 2:22 left in the third quarter.
Dylan Tennancour was an efficient 14 of 16 for 163 yards, and also scored on a 1-yard run. He added an interception on defense, while Simpson had nine receptions for 147 yards as he consistently abused the Shadle Park defense with his speed off the edge.