PASCO – The Chiawana High defense came into Friday’s crossover against Gonzaga Prep with a giant chip on its shoulder.
A year after watching the Bullpups run up an astounding 602 yards on the ground in a State 4A play-in rout, the Riverhawks vowed history would not repeat itself.
And, boy, were they right.
Chiawana dominated Gonzaga Prep in every aspect, rolling to a 42-14 victory at Edgar Brown Stadium and locking up a spot in the state 4A football playoffs.
“Not only do we have more experience this year,” Chiawana senior Alex Weber said, “but we came in with a chip on our shoulder. My sophomore year we also lost in the crossover, and we decided to get rid of that two-year curse.”
The Riverhawks outmuscled the Bullpups from the opening whistle.
The defense played strong assignment football to shut down the Gonzaga Prep read-option offense, holding the Bullpups to just 56 yards and four first downs on the ground.
Chiawana led 23-0 at halftime, holding Gonzaga Prep to minus-4 yards and two first downs, opening a commanding lead.
“After last year, we were a little nervous,” Weber said referencing the 600-plus yards in last year’s crossover. “But it starts with the defensive line. They sprung us forward and did the job.”
While the defense was stopping everything thrown its way, the Chiawana offense was doing what it’s done all season – roll over anyone in its way.
Senior running back Clifton Lozano rushed 39 times for 294 yards and three touchdowns, while Austin Urlacher racked up 124 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown before leaving with a leg injury in the third quarter.
Quarterback Joey Zamora threw for 108 yards and two touchdowns, and the Riverhawks even converted two fake punts in the first half – both on runs by Dre Dorton – as they could do nothing wrong against the overmatched team from Spokane.
Zamora went to work early, completing touchdown passes to Isaiah Richie of 35 yards and to Cortez Ruiz of 24 yards on a play-action pass.
Urlacher scored from 7 yards out for the 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. G-Prep had no answer. The Bullpups are not built to pass their way back into games and it showed. They completed just six passes, and four of those came late in the game.
Chiawana continued to pour it on, scoring on a 2-yard run by Lozano on its first possession of the half.
The victory, combined with Richland’s win over Ferris in Spokane, gave the Riverhawks a much clearer path to reaching the Tacoma Dome.
They will face Moses Lake, the second-place team out of a weak CBBN, and if they win play either a No. 2 team from the west side or Wenatchee in the quarterfinals.