Game 14: Camas 24, Richland 14

Richland Bombers 14
Camas Papermakers 24
December 3, 2016

The Richland Bombers came up short in the 2016 Gridiron Classic 4A State Championship against the Camas Papermakers. It was a hard-fought battle the entire way but ultimately the Papermakers came away with the title 24-14.

We have compiled a group of article from both the Tri-City Herald and The Columbian newspaper out of Vancouver replaying the buildup and results from this classic game. Please enjoy.

We are so proud of this Richland Bomber team and congratulate the players and coaches on one of the best seasons in Bomber Football history. Thank you all for your hard work and determination and here's hoping you just remember the fun!

Go Bombers!

2016 Game 13: Richland 35, Skyview 7

Richland Bombers 35
Skyview Storm 7
November 26, 2016

The Richland Bombers put together another impressive performance in their semi-final win over the Skyview Storm. Skyview had won six straight games after their league loss to top-ranked Camas, including wins over playoff contenders Battle Ground, Chiawana, and offensive powerhouse Lake Stevens. The Storm were on a roll. The Bombers were on a roll too. On the opening kickoff, Gaven Brasker set the tone by catching the ball at the 15, going right, breaking the grasp of a tackler, and then cutting back against the grain and zipping down the home sideline to the opposing 40. After being called back on a holding penalty, the Bomber offense started from their own 45.

Judging by the last three games there was no way to tell if running or passing would be the preferred vehicle, but it didn't take long to find out. With runs of 4, 11, and 3 yards, the offense used Ben Stanfield to make their way to the 37 yard line. From there, Colton Michaels and Noah Sprenkle blasted a hole on the right side of the line while Brigham Whitby sealed off Skyline's 300 pound tackle to the left. Stanfield jetted through and outran the rest of the defense to the endzone to take the lead with only two minutes gone in the game. The Bombers showed they could score in a number of ways, either with big plays or by grinding out drives. The five touchdowns in this game were on plays of 37, 2, 36, 23, and 4 yards.

Skyview's following offensive possession showed they weren't going down easy as they used quick passes to get first downs and move to the Richland 45. Two incomplete passes and a two-handed batted pass by Whitby forced a punt, and the Bombers had the ball back deep in their own territory, but only temporarily. Alex Chapman juked his man at the line and made his way to the 35, where he was wide open. Side-stepping three consecutive defenders, he cut for a diagonal for the far right corner of the endzone before cutting left again, and then was brought down near the 15. Parker McCary took it from there, following a squadron of blockers to the left on the first play, and then making a sharp cut up the middle on the second to make the score 14-0 with six minutes to go in the first quarter. Skyview was still not convinced, and on the second play of their next possession sent their quick running back out for a screen pass, which he took 71 yards to the endzone. The last Bomber in pursuit was Brigham Whitby, nearly 300 pounds of persistence bearing down on the ball carrier. With 4:53 left in the quarter, the score was 14-7, but that would be the Storm's last glimmer of hope.

With receiver/defensive back Josh Mendoza limited to defense because of a cast on his broken hand, Brasker was in at receiver. On the first play of the second quarter he burned his man straight to the endzone, his first of two scores a 36 yard toss from Paxton Stevens. Skyview would suffer a sack by Victor Strasser for an 11 yard loss and a punt blocked by Jacob Stanfield and Ryan Piper on their next possession, and Richland's first play after the recovery by Strasser was a replica of their previous offensive play, a 23 yard touchdown catch by Brasker on the right side to put them up 28-7 with 8:26 left in the half.

The third quarter was uncharacteristically scoreless for the Bombers, but featured plenty of good defense to keep the Storm scoreless as well. Good defense by Chapman on a pass to the endzone, great D line pressure at the goal line, another pass batted down by Chapman, a 34 yard pass through the middle to Adam Weissenfels, some good runs by Stanfield and McCary, a pass defended by Weissenfels on one play and stripping the ball on a QB keeper on the next were some highlights of the third.

Two minutes into the fourth quarter McCary followed the same path as his first score for a 4 yard touchdown. Up 35-7 with ten minutes to go, some reserves started to filter into the game.

Skyview continued to make an effort but was constantly thwarted throughout the quarter. Tackles at the line by Charles Ford and Jacob Stanfield, big run stops by McCary, Jax Lee continuing to put pressure on the QB, and eventually an interception by Piper on a deep pass into double coverage kept the Storm frustrated. A 50 yard punt return by Brasker was called back by a barrage of yellow confetti, the culmination of a tense game that got pretty chippy at some points, with three unsportsmanlike penalties called on Richland alone. Skyview was clearly frustrated by their lack of success against a tough defense and the after-whistle action showed it. Skyview had been held to less than double digit scoring only once before, by Camas in week six.

Plenty of Bombers made plays, demonstrating their depth. Strasser was repeatedly in the opposing QBs face, delivering several hard hits as the ball was released, and his sack for an eleven yard loss on third down and 27 was devastating. Whitby had an interception, a sack, caused two fumbles, and swatted two passes out of the air on defense, and negated Skyline's best D lineman from his O line position. Every time Skyview started to get a whiff of momentum, Whitby was there to put a stop to it. William Harshaw-McDonald made several good tackles and fought through an illegal block to get to the receiver and prevent a big gain. Chapman and Weissenfels made plays at corner to prevent big plays, and the D line's constant pressure kept the passes rushed and off target. McCary played extra time at linebacker, filling in for the injured Garrett Guffey, and ended up with 62 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Stanfield had 121 yards on 16 carries, and Stevens threw for 163 yards on 6 completions. Special teams also made a big showing, keeping kick returners contained in their own territory and providing good blocking for Brasker on returns.

The Tacoma Dome is next. Richland faces a high-scoring and undefeated Camas team that seems determined to bring a title home after a disappointing end to the 2015 season. On the other hand, Camas faces a ferocious Bomber defense that has allowed an average of 10 points per game and a deep offense that can score in a variety of ways. The game starts at 7:30pm and caps a full day of championship games on Saturday, December 3. Last game until next season either way, but the Bomber faithful are looking for a win.

Go Bombers!

2016 MCC All-Conference Team

The 2016 Mid-Columbia Conference All-Conference Football team was announed on November 23rd and the conference champion Richland Bombers are well represented including Offensive and Defensive Lineman of the Year, Brigham Whitby, and for the second year in a row, Coach of the Year, Mike Neidhold. Congratulations to all of the Bomber players represented on the team.

Individual Awards
  • Brigham Whitby
    Richland Bombers
    Offensive Lineman of the Year
  • Brigham Whitby
    Richland Bombers
    Defensive Lineman of the Year
  • Mike Neidhold
    Richland Bombers
    Coach of the Year
First Team Defense
  • Alex Chapman
    Richland Bombers
    Defensive Back
  • Adam Weissenfels
    Richland Bombers
    Defensive Back
  • Brigham Whitby
    Richland Bombers
    Defensive Line
  • Jax Lee
    Richland Bombers
    Defensive Line
  • Victor Strasser
    Richland Bombers
    Linebacker
First Team Offense
  • Brigham Whitby
    Richland Bombers
    Offensive Line
  • Dontae Powell
    Richland Bombers
    Offensive Line
  • Alex Chapman
    Richland Bombers
    Wide Receiver
Second Team Defense
  • Josh Mendoza
    Richland Bombers
    Defensive Back
  • Garrett Guffey
    Richland Bombers
    Linebacker
  • William Harshaw
    Richland Bombers
    Linebacker
Second Team Offense
  • Paxton Stevens
    Richland Bombers
    Quarterback
  • Ben Stanfield
    Richland Bombers
    Running Back
  • Josh Mendoza
    Richland Bombers
    Wide Receiver
Honorable Mention
  • Braden Powell
    Richland Bombers
    Defensive Line
  • Kyle Kirby
    Richland Bombers
    Defensive Line
  • Jake Stanfield
    Richland Bombers
    Tight End

2016 Game 12: Richland 49, Bothell 28

Richland Bombers 49
Bothell Cougars 28
November 19, 2016

When it comes to the state playoffs, no game is a gimme, and when there are only eight teams left you can be sure they're all good teams. The Bothell Cougars presented a challenge the Bombers hadn't seen much of this season—a team that could pass and run, played good defense, and had a quarterback already committed to a major Division 1 school. Although Bothell had lost two games, they were both to teams that have been ranked in the top ten this season and both teams (Skyline and Woodinville) made the state playoffs as well. If the Cougars had anyone worried about bringing Richland's season to an end, the Bombers didn't get the message.

Both teams came out fired up, and Bothell seemed ready to replicate Sunnyside's game plan of stopping the run, but appeared to like their chances of stopping the Richland passing game with their taller and faster secondary. The third play of the game saw the Bombers connecting with a haymaker, Paxton Stevens lobbing a pass from the 25 to Gaven Brasker streaking down the right sideline, catching it at the far 30, and finding the end zone with no one around, but it was called back on Richland's second penalty (two penalties in the first three plays is a good summary of the first quarter for Richland).

Two plays later Stevens found Brasker burning his man again, this time on the left sideline, and dropped him a 47 yard pass at the 15 where he went out of bounds. After Stevens juked half the defense on a 19 yard run, Ben Stanfield took the handoff and went left, darting through a gaping hole provided by 600 pounds of Dantae Powell and Brigham Whitby. It took some big plays, but Richland was up 7-0 with nearly 9:00 to play in the first quarter. Bothell showed systematic poise on their drive, frustrating the Bomber defense with a good combination of running and passing, which culminated in a 2 yard scrum for the tying touchdown.

After forcing Richland to punt on consecutive possessions, Bothell took the lead early in the second quarter on a 62 yard bomb, despite quarterback Jacob Sirmon taking the first of what would be several big hits from linebacker Victor Strasser. Getting good field position from a Brasker kick return to the 50, Richland used moderate runs and passes, plus a 15 yard pass interference penalty, to get to the 10, where Parker McCary ran up the middle to tie the game at 14 with the first of his two rushing touchdowns, and the first of five unanswered touchdowns by the Bombers.

Bothell's next series ended with a Garrett Guffey interception at midfield, aided by Whitby swatting the ball as it went over his head. From there the rout was on, again despite plenty of penalties for Richland (anyone up for second down and 24 on consecutive holding penalties?), with McCary getting his second score from 15 yards out with 3:27 to go in the half. Being up 21-14 against a highly touted team only two years removed from a state championship season isn't bad, but the Bombers weren't settling. Strasser recovered a forced fumble at the 25 with only 11 seconds gone off the clock, and from there Stanfield cut left out of the middle of the pack to outrun everyone to the left corner of the endzone, a 22 yard touchdown to make it 28-14 with 2:38 left. The Cougars next offensive play was haunted by Strasser again. With another punishing hit on the QB, the ball was short and picked off by Adam Weissenfels, who returned it to the line of scrimmage. Alex Chapman finished off the short drive with a 7 yard catch to make the score 35-14 with under a minute to play in the half. The Cougars made some head with big passes, but the QB, while being tossed by Whitby, threw an off-balance pass which Ryan Piper promptly snatched at the 5 and returned to midfield, essentially ending the half.

Being up three touchdowns on a ranked team is good, but with two full quarters of football to play there wasn't quite enough breathing room. At their own 40 yard line, Bothell went for another deep pass, but Whitby, dragging an O lineman behind him, could not be stopped as he clobbered his way to the QB to cause a fumble. Guffey recovered, and Richland had great field position again. After an incomplete pass, Stanfield took the handoff again with a luxurious view of the field in front of him, provided by a key block by his younger brother Jacob Stanfield at tight end, as well as every offensive lineman dominating his defensive counterpart. With the D line occupied and/or on the ground, the older Stanfield had only to zigzag around three or four defensive backs for his third rushing touchdown of the game. 42-14 with 10:00 to go in the third quarter was a long road for the Cougars.

Obviously feeling the rush, Bothell used big plays to get within striking distance, scoring on a 30 yard pass into double coverage to make it 42-21 halfway through the third quarter, using up nearly four minutes in the process. Following suit, RIchland chewed time off the clock by staying on the ground, but with a 15 yard McCary run called back on a penalty, the Bombers decided to pad the lead a bit more. From the 35, Stanfield drifted left into open space to catch a short pass from Stevens, then cut a sharp right against the flow of blockers and sped past the flatfooted defenders. One last block by Aric Davison gave Stanfield all the room he needed as he outran the trailing defense to the right corner of the endzone for his fourth and Richland's final touchdown, going up 28 points with 2:48 left in the third.

The fourth quarter was a formality for the Bombers. Sacks on consecutive plays by Jax Lee and then Victor Strasser and Braden Powell showed they were determined to prevent a comeback. By this point Bothell had been thoroughly hammered by the ferocious Bomber D and clearly didn't want any more of it. They managed another score against the reserve defense, and attempted to salvage some pride with on onside kick, but MacCary was there and took it down to the 10 yard line where the rest of the time was burned off the clock.

Coming off a game with no rushing touchdowns and six passing, Richland showed their diversity by using a dominant O line to score five on the ground and two in the air, with Stanfield and McCary combining for 171 yards and Stevens throwing to six different receivers for 162 yards. Despite giving up height to the tall Bothell receivers, Richland's DBs executed well and prevented a lot of big plays, as well as picking off three passes from a quarterback who had thrown only two all season. The DBs were helped tremendously by the pressure applied by the D line and linebackers, giving Sirmon little time to locate his receivers. Strasser and Guffey had a huge game and, as always, Whitby added to his case for MVP with his relentless attack on offense and defense. After some first quarter struggles, the defense adapted and solved Bothell's attack. In contrast, Bothell stayed with their three-man front for too long, and the adjustments they made to stop Richland's ground attack came too late. The Bombers put up 49 points in three quarters on a good Bothell team which had allowed more than 30 points only one other time all season and took advantage of the many turnovers provided by the defense.

Saturday the 26th at 3PM the Bombers take on the Skyview Storm at Lampson Stadium. SKyview is 9-3, with the three losses coming against top ranked 3A teams Eastside Catholic and O'Dea, and their conference rival Camas. The winner of this game goes to the state title game in Tacoma. Come out and help the Bombers stay undefeated at Lampson this season.

Go Bombers!

2016 Game 11: Richland 41, Sunnyside 0

Richland Bombers 41
Sunnyside Grizzlies 0
November 11, 2016

The first round of the state playoffs could have been the perfect storm for the Sunnyside Grizzlies, and through the first quarter it looked like they might have come up with a way to beat the Bombers. Three major players for Richland—WR/DB/punter Josh Mendoza, lineman Colton Michaels, and kick returner Gaven Brasker—were on the sidelines, and the Grizzlies had two weeks off due to a preliminary round bye. Sunnyside had not been shut out all season, even having played two other teams who would end up in the 4A playoffs, Moses Lake and top-ranked Camas, and was one of only two teams to hold Camas under 40 points all season. A summary of the game plan to upset Richland in the first round might have read something like, "Stop the run and make them beat us with the pass." Six touchdown passes by Paxton Stevens and 41 points later, the flaw in the plan was evident.

Respect is due to Sunnyside, despite the blowout score. Their defense keyed on the run from the start and didn't let up, holding all Richland runners under 100 yards individually, allowed very few big plays on the ground, and allowed no rushing touchdowns. Their offense was gutsy as well, targeting some of the best defensive backs in the MCC in Alex Chapman and Adam Weissenfels. The Grizzlies came out on fire, stuffing the run and intercepting a Stevens pass on fourth and one, and then went for the throat immediately with long passes to the end zone. Both teams stymied the other for most of the first quarter with very few bright spots for either. On third down at the 43 yard line with about six minutes left in the quarter, Stevens rolled right and saw Chapman cutting to the sideline. Chapman caught the ball in front of a diving defender at the 35, stutter-stepped another, side-stepped a third at the 20, and then beat a fourth the rest of the way to the endzone.

Some good defense marked the rest of the quarter and the first half of the next, including batted passes at the line by Brigham Whitby and Kyle Kirby, and Weissenfels popping a pass out of a receiver's hands in the endzone, but no one would score until halfway through the second quarter when Chapman lined up opposite no one wide on the left side. Richland's quick huddle and Sunnyside's determination to stop the run caused defensive confusion, and the scrambling DBs couldn't get to him in time. 14-0 with 5:32 left in the half. Apparently the Bombers felt uneasy enough about their lead to attempt an onside kick, which was well placed by Weissenfels and recovered by Jared Whitby just across midfield. After a 10 yard catch by Weissenfels and a 15 yard run by Ben Stanfield, the Bombers found themselves at fourth and ten from 20 yards out. Weissenfels and Kody Kjarmo ran a crossing pattern and Weissenfels cut inside, catching the ball in the center of the endzone to make the score 20-0 with just over three minutes remaining in the half. Tight coverage by Chapman and good gap filling by linebacker Garrett Guffey forced a Sunnyside punt, which, after three attempts, was finally returned by Parker McCary from the 30 yard line to the opposite 35. A throw-away pass by Stevens was picked off, but more good defense prevented Sunnyside from capitalizing and the half ended with the Bombers up 20 points.

The second half started with a Weissenfels interception and a couple good runs from Stanfield. Weissenfels would have two more touchdowns in the game, the first on a 10 yard slant, the second a 5 yard slant to the middle which he reversed once he saw the defense converging. Cutting back toward the left corner of the endzone, he followed Chapman's block to the goal line, where he plowed through a defender to put the ball over the corner pylon for a 34 point lead. With 5:33 left in the third quarter, any hope the Grizzlies had for an upset were rapidly fading, if not completely dead. Their second longest play came on the next drive, a 36 yard pass to a streaking receiver who was barely tripped up by a diving Ryan Piper, but once again they were shut down by the Bomber D (Sunnyside's longest play was 56 yards on a catch and run, late in the fourth quarter). The rest of the game was ground down by Victor Strasser's big runs. Sometimes you need a knife and sometimes you need a hammer, and Strasser was the hammer that proved to be effective against Sunnyside. His 70 rushing yards in the second half made him the game's top runner and burned enough time off the clock to keep the Grizzlies from having a chance to score. Tyler Fishback and Tsega McDuff also kept the clock going with runs up the middle. With seven minutes left in the game, Stevens found Blake Binns distancing himself from his defender in the deep right corner of the endzone, and from there, with a 41 point lead, the running clock was in effect. As Sunnyside tried to avoid their first shut out, Binns sacked the quarterback and caused a fumble, which was picked up by Charles Lookabill at the 50, who rumbled to the 15 before being brought down.

Richland's defense produced a second straight shut out, their fourth overall, and held Sunnyside to 213 yards of total offense and eight first downs. Chapman ended with only two catches, but both were for touchdowns and a total of 70 yards. The Bombers proved again that keying on single aspects of their game doesn't stop them, it only allows room for others to make plays.

The next game will be November 18 or 19 against either Moses Lake or Bothell for a spot in the semi-final game.

Go Bombers!

2016 Game 10: Richland 37, Central Valley 0

Richland Bombers 37
Central Valley Bears 0
November 4, 2016

The Central Valley Bears, number two in the Greater Spokane League, had a team full of seniors and came ready to play against the Bombers. Richland's first offensive series didn't go well, with Central Valley stuffing the run, preventing the pass, and hitting hard. On third down, a CV defensive back came up with a diving interception of a low pass to get possession at the Richland 40 yard line. It looked like the Bears might put up a good fight and get themselves into the state playoffs.

The Bomber defense had a different idea. After a high snap that pushed them back to the 50 and an incomplete pass, Braden Powell came around the left end and dropped the quarterback for an 8 yard loss. Gaven Brasker's ensuing punt return came all the way back to the line of scrimmage, and with an added penalty Richland had the ball at the CV 30. After Alex Chapman took off on a post route and caught a 28 yard pass in the endzone for the first score, the Bears appeared to still have some fire left. Using a quick and elusive running back to get themselves to midfield, a pass attempt was picked off by Parker McCary at the 45, the first off four thrown by CV. Using the two back set of Ben Stanfield and Victor Strasser, they took turns slashing and bashing their way toward the endzone. Apparently CV had not solved the problem of Richland's running game. Eventually Stanfield took it in from 1 yard out to bring the score to 14-0 with 19 seconds left in the first quarter.

CV put together another decent drive but stalled out when Adam Weissenfels batted a pass out of the hands of a receiver in the endzone. The fourth down field goal attempt by Ryan Rehkow, who last year kicked a field goal over 50 yards, was blocked by Weissenfells, giving the ball back to Richland, but the ball was promptly taken back by a furious CV linebacker. Starting at the Richland 40, passes of 7, 11, and 5 yards got them nearly to the 20, but as Garrett Guffey crushed the receiver the ball popped up and was grabbed by Ryan Piper, who returned it from the 15 to the 50. Another interception at the 30 was taken all the way to the 2 yard line by Josh Mendoza, but CV still had some fire and prevented a touchdown. Richland settled for a Weissenfels field goal to make it 17-0 with 4:26 left in the half. Two minutes later Paxton Stevens' long pass to the endzone was intercepted, and the half ended with no more scoring.

Second half scoring kicked off with a CV punt, caught by Brasker at the 12 yard line, where he faked right but went straight, was sprung free by key blocks by Guffey and Powell, and then ran, in a cloud of Bomber blockers, right by Rehkow as the helpless punter was being flattened by Jax Lee. With 9:39 left in the third quarter it was 23-0. Second half highlights included another interception by Mendoza, a sack by Brigham Whitby to pin CV at their own 20, a 31 yard run by Stanfield, a 10 yard reception by Kody Kjarmo to get inside the 10, a McCary touchdown run near the end of the third quarter to go up 30 points, consecutive runs by Stanfield and Strasser to get near the goal line, and an 8 yard touchdown reception by Piper to close the scoring at 37-0 with almost nine minutes to go. Stevens ended with 139 passing yards, Stanfield with 116 yards on nine carries plus 29 more in the air, and once again the O and D lines proved dominant, even against Division 1-bound D lineman Jordan Talifili and two other 320 pounders attempting to crash through. Special teams made a difference as well. Along with the blocked field goal, Brasker made several electric returns and the blocking was solid all around. The defense held the slippery Braedon Orrino, the top runner in the GSL, to less than 100 yards rushing, and held CV to 184 total yards.

Next up is the first round of the state playoffs against Sunnyside, the second-seeded team from the Big 9. Richland hasn't played Sunnyside since 1963, so show up next Friday at Lampson Stadium and show Sunnyside what Bomber football is all about.

Go Bombers!

2016 Game 9: Richland 49, Hanford 7

Hanford Falcons 7
Richland Bombers 49
October 28, 2016
There was little suspense leading up to this game, and not much during it. The Richland Bombers were expected to beat the Hanford Falcons and they did. The undefeated and two-time Mid-Columbia Conference champion Bombers didn't have much to fear from the Falcons, having won only two conference games and bringing a run of defensive bad luck into the match up. To do away with any suspense here, the score was 42-0 at halftime, and it could have been far worse. After a week of rain the field at Fran Rish was a veritable swamp, prohibiting Richland's speed players from making hard cuts and reaching maximum speed. Five different Bombers scored six touchdowns in the first half, and the running clock rule (the clock runs constantly except during timeouts when a team is ahead by 40 or more points in the second half), along with a multitude of reserve players, allowed time for only one more Richland score in the second half. Hanford gave themselves some hope early in the first half when a linebacker intercepted an ill-advised pass into triple coverage by Paxton Stevens, but that turned out to be more of an annoyance than an obstacle as Alex Chapman took the ball back two plays later, setting up the first touchdown of the game, a catch right up the middleóright past two defensive backsóby Gaven Brasker. Three minutes later Josh Mendoza caught another on a slant route, followed by a Brasker punt return only 20 seconds into the second quarter, greatly aided by a Mendoza block that took out two would-be tacklers, which freed Brasker to run down the right sideline for a penalty-worthy dive into the endzone. One minute and twenty-six seconds later Ben Stanfield took a hand-off and cruised untouched for 32 yards to make the score 28-0. Another ninety seconds off the clock and it was time for another Bomber score, this time an easy 20 yard catch by the inexplicably uncovered Chapman. Everyone got a breather from the excitement for a while though. The next touchdown didn't come for another five minutes. Rolling out to the right and sprung free by a thunderous block on a defensive lineman by Stanfield, Stevens tossed a quick dart to Adam Weissenfels, open just in front of the 50 yard line. Cutting left and speeding on a diagonal toward open grass, Weissenfels out sprinted the defense to the endzone to make it 42-0 with 3:39 to go in the half. Big defensive plays were made throughout the half by Brigham Whitby, Jax Lee, Kyle Kirby, Victor Strasser, Garrett Guffey, Braden Powell, and Jacob Stanfield. Whitby and Lee kept the middle clogged and were constantly in the backfield harassing the quarterback, including a sack by Lee on third down to force a punt and give Richland great field position. Kirby had two batted passes, Strasser a huge hit on the QB on a blitz, Guffey and Strasser both with run stopping tackles near the line of scrimmage, and Powell and Stanfield keeping outside runs contained with pressure on the scrambling quarterback. Powell had several tackles both on the outside and by cutting back to the inside to cover for the double-teamed interior linemen. Jacob Stanfield shed his blocker and chased the quarterback down to pin the Falcons on their own 15 yard line. Colton Michaels, the starting center, recovered a fumble caused by William Harshaw-McDonald. The defensive backs hardly had a chance to make plays since Hanford couldn't make it past the front seven. The shortened second half saw a 58 yard catch by Ryan Piper followed by a several good runs by Jared Whitby, culminating in a 10 yard touchdown, his second of the year. Sammy Cervantes, normally playing receiver, snagged an interception on a long pass at the 20 and returned it 25 yards to the 45. Hanford eventually marched themselves down the field and put one in the endzone with two minutes left in the game. Stevens ended with 240 yards passing, Stanfield had 119 rushing yards, the majority in the first half, Chapman returned to scoring form with his touchdown, and the offense continued to diversify, finding new ways to get first downs while the defense focused on the well known weapons. As the first place team in the MCC, the Bombers host the Greater Spokane League's number two, the Central Valley Bears. The game is tentatively scheduled for Friday at Fran Rish Stadium, but may be changed to Lampson Stadium due to the boggy conditions at the Bomber Bowl. Regardless, the game will be played at 7:00 PM on Friday, somewhere in the Tri-Cities, in a stadium full of green and gold fans. Go Bombers!

2016 Game 8: Richland 21, Chiawana 14

Richland Bombers 21
Chiawana Riverhawks 14
October 21, 2016

The final score of a game doesn't always give an accurate depiction of that game. Bombers vs Riverhawks 2016 was one of those games. Both teams were undefeated, both had a high scoring offense, both had a tough defense that hadn't allowed many points, and both teams were ranked in the top five in the state. Since both teams had already secured playoff spots, this game would be for playoff seeding as well as the conference championship. Bragging rights were at stake in this relatively new rivalry game as local media had proclaimed Chiawana as both an immovable object and an unstoppable force. Although Richland came away with a 21-14 win, there was much more to it than that.
The Bombers took the opening kickoff, but were forced into the usual opening three-and-out. Chiawana had no surprises up their sleeve, using the MCC rushing yardage leader Andrew Vargas almost exclusively. It seemed like it would work well since Richland hadn't adjusted their defense to account for the Riverhawk running game, but the defense stiffened near mid-field and forced a punt. After a short gain from scrimmage, running back Ben Stanfield fired up the Bomber faithful with the first big play of the game, breaking the grasp of one defender, spinning out of the pile of lineman, and breaking downfield before being pushed out of bounds at the 40 yard line for a 27 yard gain. Conventional wisdom would be the opposite game plan from Kamiakin—Kamiakin couldn't stop the run but could defend the pass, so run the ball. Chiawana had what was supposed to be an impenetrable D line and weak defensive backs, so the passing game would be the way to go. As it turns out, the Bombers could run and pass against Chiawana, but as they tested the waters there were punts and turnovers on downs through the first quarter. Chiawana, on the other hand, had no experimenting to do. It was Vargas or nothing. After Vargas broke a 26 yard run to get to Richland's 25, the coaches sent in 300 pound offensive lineman Dantae Powell to bolster the line. With Powell in to relieve Brigham Whitby from well-deserved double and triple team blocking, the shutdown began. Despite good field position, the Riverhawks couldn't find the endzone and the first quarter ended scoreless.
Taking over at the 20 after a missed field goal, the Bombers went to work again. Stanfield made another big play, breaking through and around the defense and nearly going all the way before being dragged down by the back of the jersey at the 45. Holding and intentional grounding penalties pushed Richland back to their 25, so another punt was in order. Chiawana's next offensive series served as a microcosm for the rest of the game. With the run stifled and the pass having no success, the frustration was visible. On a play that appeared to be successful, Josh Mendoza stepped in and simply took the ball out of Vargas' hands, the first of four fumbles for the back. Richland used running back Parker McCary to keep Chiawana honest and got two big catches from Mendoza. Victor Strasser bulled his way through the middle to get inside the 10, and Stanfield followed Strasser's block around the right end on the next play for the first score of the game. After trading punts, the Riverhawks started on their 11, but Mendoza popped the ball out of Vargas' hands again. They got the ball back on a blocked field goal, but lost it again two plays later on a bad handoff from the quarterback to Vargas. The half ended with Richland leading 7-0 and Chiawana's confidence visibly shaken.
The second half continued the Riverhawks' woes. The short kickoff hit star linebacker Caleb Weber in the numbers and the Bombers recovered at the 35. It took seven plays to take advantage of it, riding McCary down the field, aided by a pass to Mendoza. From the 1 yard line, McCary jab stepped left and then cut right, blasting through a hole provided by Colton Michaels and Aric Davison. At 14-0 early in third quarter it looked bad for Chiawana. The momentum had swung hard in Richland's favor and the defense was not letting up.
The Riverhawks weren't about to roll over, though. The return man took the kickoff back to the 50 and might have taken it all the way if William Harshaw-McDonald hadn't stuck his hand in and flipped the ball loose. From the 50, Chiawana abandoned their main weapon for a deep pass. Although the receiver was well covered by Ryan Piper, the pass was tipped and grabbed just before hitting the ground by a diving Riverhawk. The completion accounted for 45 of Chiawana's 77 passing yards. Five yards from the goal, Chiawana was poised to score. Vargas took the ball to the one before being knocked out of bounds by Garrett Guffey. With the 230 pound Weber lined up to block for Vargas it was no secret where the ball was going. The snap was bobbled under center and recovered by Piper on the blitz. Bomber ball on the 3 yard line.
After a timeout, the Bombers sensed a point of no return for the Riverhawks and went for the throat. With McCary and Stanfield both in the backfield it looked like a run. McCary blocked right as Stanfield jetted out of the backfield to the left and ran under a beautiful lob by Stevens, caught it wide open at the 25, and left every pursuer in the dust as he raced the length of the sideline to the endzone. It's normally the case that one call shouldn't alter the outcome of a game, but the penalty called on this play nearly did. As Stanfield crossed the 30, defender Josiah Richardson got within 2 yards before he was blocked by Mendoza. The line judge following the play about 15 yards behind threw a flag and called a personal foul. It was later determined that the call was for "unnecessary blocking" by Mendoza. On review of the game film it was a completely clean play. Mendoza's block on Richardson was textbook and a good play by him as Richardson was the nearest defender to the ball carrier. For the sake of public decorum the official's call would best be described as dubious. If the play had stood, the score would have been 21-0. The wind was taken completely out of Chiawana's sails. The frustration was palpable as their one weapon was proving sputtering against the Bomber defense. Up to that point in the game the defense had battered Chiawana's offense relentlessly, and the offense had done the same, rendering the vaunted defensive line and widely-feared Weber ineffective. With the play called back to the 25 and the score still 14-0, it all changed.
[As a side note, former all-state Bomber Chad Mitchell reports the play would have broken his 93 yard reception record]
With the Riverhawks encouraged by thier good fortune, they forced a punt after three more plays, getting the ball back at the 45. Trading punts again, Vargas finally broke a big run, taking it from his own 15 to the Richland 30. It took four more plays for him to finally reach the endzone to make it 14-7 with the third quarter winding down. Chiawana gathered up a fumble on a Stevens keeper to get the ball back, and then used a long pass and a short run to get to the 1, where the quarterback dove in to bring the score even in the fourth quarter.
Two possessions later the Bombers found themselves pinned on their own 5 by a punt. With minutes to go in the game they had 95 yards ahead of them. Switching things up, they used passes to Mendoza and Adam Weissenfels to advance to the 35. From there, Stevens exploited the weakness in the Chiawana secondary when he saw Mendoza stutter step Richardson and blow by him. Mendoza caught the ball at the 25 and was brought down near the 10. Three plays later McCary took it in from 9 yards out, smashing one defender and spinning over another for the winning score. 21-14 with less than a minute left, and Chiawana had no choice but to go to their outmatched passing game. Weissenfels intercepted the last ditch attempt and the game was over.
For the majority of the game, the underrated Richland lines pummeled the opposition, all but shutting down a very good runner and rendering useless a celebrated linebacker. The defensive line—Whitby, Jax Lee, Dantae Powell, Braden Powell, and Kyle Kirby—kept the Chiawana O line in disarray and hit them like they haven't been hit this season, and the O line—Whitby, Davison, Noah Sprenkle, Colton Michaels, Dantae Powell, Cody Clements, and tight end Jacob Stanfield—blocked the daylights out of the Riverhawks, allowing the Richland backs to keep Mendoza in single coverage. One of the MCCs leading receivers, Alex Chapman, attracting double-teams most of the game, was held to one reception, also helping keep defenders away from the runners and the other receivers. McCary ended with 22 carries for 68 yards, Stanfield 12 for 73, 9 of those going for 65 yards in the first half, plus 37 yards receiving. Mendoza had 8 catches for 107 yards while preventing Richardson from catching any passes. While there was never any doubt in their own minds, the Bombers made this a statement game, beating a top ten team convincingly for the second time this season and earning their second straight MCC championship. The strength of this team lies not only in the talent and skill of the players but also in their ability to win in different ways. Shutting down one player only results in another player picking up the slack and making things happen.
Hopefully the playoffs don't loom so large that the next game, against newcomers to 4A Hanford at Fran Rish, gets overlooked. Hanford has speed and an offense that can score points at any time. It's a good setup for a cross-town rivalry, so come out and see what happens next Friday at 7.
Go Bombers!

2016 Game 7: Richland 64, Walla Walla 14

Walla Walla Blue Devils 14
Richland Bombers 64
October 14, 2016

The 77th edition of the longstanding rivalry between Walla Walla High School and Richland High featured new high points for the series. Richland's 64 points is the most scored by either team since they began playing each other in 1945, and the 78 combined points is the highest total. Head coach Mike Neidhold is now 7-2 against the Blue Devils, the best winning percentage of any head coach in Richland history. The series now stands at 29-46-2 in favor of Walla Walla. Oddly enough, it looked at the beginning of the game like the undefeated Bombers might earn their first loss of the season.

The first play from scrimmage saw the Bombers take to the air. Paxton Stevens' short pass to Alex Chapman was good, but the Blue Devil defensive back stripped the ball out of Chapman's hands and a linebacker snatched it from the air, returning it to the 1 yard line. After being pounded for a loss on consecutive running plays and an incompletion, the Blue Devils' main offensive weapon, quarterback Mitch Lesmeister, escaped the Bomber D and scored a touchdown. Richland was undaunted, going to Chapman again on the first play after kickoff, and then using Parker McCary to get downfield. At 33 yards out, Stevens spotted Kody Kjarmo betwen two defenders and threw a bullet right into his hands. Kjarmo broke out of an arm tackle, dodged another defender, and sprinted into the endzone to tie the game. The Bomber D had a handle on Walla Walla's passing game and the running backs, but Lesmeister presented a problem, as he continued to slip his way around the defense, eventually finding his way to the endzone around the right end of his line, going up 14-7 with 6:33 left in the quarter. McCary and Ben Stanfield marched the Bombers back down the field, easily gaining consecutive first downs in a rarely seen two back set series, and then receiver Adam Weisenfells grabbed a low pass at the 15, plowed over the safety at the goal line, and evened the score at 14 with two minutes to go. At this point the crowd was prepared for a barrage of points, and they would get it, just not from both teams. Lesmeister's two runs would be the last points for Walla Walla. Two plays into Walla Walla's next drive Victor Strasser got some air to pick off a pass and rumbled 40 yards to the endzone. Although the corner pylon was knocked over, he was ruled down at the one, and McCary and lead blocker Stanfield both went untouched into the endzone to get the lead for good.

The second quarter saw a new defensive attitude from the Bombers, apparently offended by Lesmeiters' insistence on making plays. The rest of the game was mostly three and outs with very few bright spots. Their offense would total only 109 yards for the game. Richland's next offensive series got down the field with big passing plays to Josh Mendoza, Weisenfells—who showed willpower and toughness after the catch on this drive and for the entire game—and Gaven Brasker, who was eventually tossed out of bounds at the 1 after a 17 yard gain. McCary again followed Stanfield through a dominant line into the endzone for his second touchdown. The following extra point kick was abandoned after a low snap, but holder Ryan Kriskovich was able to scramble right and get the ball off just as he was hit by the defense. Braden Powell was open in the back corner for two more points. 29-14. After another defensive stop and the running backs carrying the ball down the field, Stevens found Weisenfells open at the 25. Immediately juking two defenders and getting a great block from Mendoza, he went down the sideline, cut inside to dodge a defender, cut back outside to dodge a couple more at the 5, and scored the second of his four touchdowns to make it 36-14 with 1:46 left in the half.

After five plays of punishment from the Richland defense, the Blue Devils punted to Brasker, who returned it 15 yards to the 35. McCary got the ball on the next play and went 65 yards for his third score. With 9:44 left in the third quarter, the game was already a blowout at 43-14. Walla Walla managed to hold the Bombers on fourth down at their own 20 yard line, and seemed eager to salvage some dignity, but after a few successful plays Weisenfells showed his face again, reading Lesmeister's intention and snatching a pass at the 40, taking it down the visitor's sideline, pausing only to let Strasser level the quarterback to clear the last 10 yards into the endzone. Weisenfells' kick was good, making it 50-14 with 4:15 left in the third quarter. Two minutes later Stevens found Weisenfells again, this time on a slant through the middle, where he burned his defender and spun the safety around for a 77 yard touchdown. 57-14.

Up 43 points in the fourth quarter, Richland brought in the reserves. Quarterback Cade Jensen completed passes to Kjarmo and Kriskovich, who also had a near interception and a batted pass on defense, and Tyler Fishback helped run down the clock by running the ball. Fishback eventually found his way into the endzone from ten yards out to close the scoring at 64-14 with four minutes left.

Although this was the first game in which Chapman and Stanfield didn't score, the Bombers showed their offensive diversity and their ability to use multiple weapons to score points. Defensively, Kyle Kirby and Brigham Whitby made big plays and maintained a bruising level of intensity throughout the game, and both lines were simply dominant throughout.

Next week's conference championship game against the undefeated Chiawana Riverhawks will test that dominance, and it should be a playoff atmosphere at Edgar Brown stadium. Get there early, kickoff at 7PM.

Go Bombers!

2016 Game 6: Richland 21, Kamiakin 20 OT

Richland Bombers 21
Kamiakin Braves 20
October 7, 2016

This year's seniors were just freshmen in 2013 when Richland and Kamiakin played the epic barn burner, featuring four overtime periods and over 100 points combined. The 2016 game was also an overtime thriller, but with fewer barns burned. Bombers vs Braves never disappoints.

The first half included zero points from either team, which normally indicates a defensive slugfest, but in this case it was more like two big-play offenses sputtering at the wrong times. The Kamiakin defense plays a 3-4, which is three down linemen and four linebackers—a perfect opportunity to run the ball behind the very large offensive line, especially since Kamiakin's linebacker are undersized. This seemed to be Richland's game plan in the first half, but being a pass first team they abandoned the run near the end zone for the comfort of familiarity, and unfortunately the better than average Brave defensive backs weren't interested in becoming victims of big plays. That's not to say there weren't any highlights. After a punt on Richland's first possession, William Harshaw-McDonald grabbed a diving interception off a pass tipped by Brigham Whitby on Kamiakin's third play. After marching the ball down the field using the running game, an incomplete pass and a penalty snuffed out the momentum and the Braves came up with a stop on fourth down on their own 12. The Bomber D continued to play tough, forcing punts and allowing only a few first downs, and the offense continued to run the ball well, only to be interrupted by incomplete passes. Running backs Parker McCary and Ben Stanfield ran well behind the line, which thoroughly dominated the Kamiakin front seven, but timing is everything, and Richland couldn't put points on the board despite running the ball easily from red zone to red zone. First half highlights also included an interception by Alex Chapman, who picked it at the 5 and returned it 40 yards to midfield.

The second half was more of the same until 5:46 left in the quarter, when, after runs of 16, 14, and 21 yards by McCary, quarterback Paxton Stevens used his run option and beat the defense 17 yards to the endzone. It felt like the game might stay at 7-0, but it only took two minutes for Kamiakin to answer. Running for his life from linemen Jax Lee and Braden Powell, the QB, as he was falling down, tossed a high ball to the front of the end zone. It was playground fly-up at this point, and the 6'6" receiver brought it down to even the score. Two plays later Gaven Brasker caught a Stevens pass and took it to midfield for a 36 yard gain, and two plays after that Stanfield caught a bubble pass behind the line and saw daylight from the 45. Racing down the sideline untouched, he sidestepped one defender at the 15 and carried another on his back into the endzone to regain the lead. A huge sack by Lee, Powell, and Victor Strasser, and an interception by Adam Weisenfells kept Kamiakin from evening the score, but the Braves returned the favor two plays later, intercepting a pass and returning it to the Richland 15.

This is a good time to take a break from yards and numbers and mention intangibles. This Bomber team, when struggling with an offensive set or faced with an inopportune turnover, doesn't panic or self-destruct. They keep playing their game, make adjustments where they're needed, make something happen.

With Kamiakin 15 yards from scoring and about seven minutes left in the game, Strasser chased the quarterback down and spun him around as he tried to run around the left end, Weisenfells popped the ball out with a hit, and the ball was recovered by Garrett Guffey at the 20. Of course, this is Bombers vs Braves, so the action wasn't even close to over. After taking a big loss on a sack, and not able to use the passing game to get out danger, the Bombers opted to punt. The snap was low, the punter recovered it but had to scramble and was tackled at the 8. It took four plays for the Braves to score and bring the game to a tie with 5:42 to go. This was nearly a game changing moment as Weisenfells barely missed blocking the PAT from the right edge. Sticking with what had worked so far, Richland kept it on the ground. Stanfield, listed at 175 pounds, ran like he was 50 pounds heavier, gashing his way through the defense and knocking the linebackers back as they tackled him. Running the ball, along with a 14 yard completion to Josh Mendoza got them to the 11, but the Kamiakin D stiffened, and with only 50 seconds left a field goal was the call. Weisenfells' kick went wide to force the game into overtime.

Overtime was a simple affair. Two rushes and a 23 yard lob to a wide open Alex Chapman, who burned his man, Darreon Moore, straight down the field and then made a hard cut to the right to make the catch and run in for the score. This particular play showed what a good running game can mean for a team. Lined up across from Chapman, Moore paused briefly to protect against the run, which gave Chapman the advantage and the space he needed to shake his defender loose and make the catch. It took Kamiakin another four plays to find Moore on a slant in the endzone to make it 21-20, with the extra needed to tie the game. Weisenfells, who was scored on for the tying touchdown earlier in the game, improved on his previous attempt at blocking the kick by getting a full hand on the ball, sending it slightly skyward, only to drop at weakly at the endzone line. Weisenfells didn't even need to look for the ball as rolled out of his dive with his hands raised triumphantly.

In a game like this there are several seemingly small plays that make a big difference in the final outcome. A few of them in this game were big hits in the secondary by Chapman, Mendoza, and Weisenfells that caused dropped passes, tough play at multiple D line spots from Brigham Whitby, and more good linebacking, by Strasser especially, and ferocious running by Stanfield and McCary(McCary had 118 yards, Stanfield had 102 plus 75 yards on bubble passes, the first time both have gone over 100 yards in a game) and, as always, tough line play throughout the game. Despite giving up 9 or 10 inches in height to the receiver he was covering, Weisenfells made a play that prevented a score in the third quarter. On a long pass, the receiver put his hands on the ball and would have come down with it in the endzone if not for Weisenfells diving up and back to punch the ball out. Close games are won with small details on big plays, and this game was a good example of that.

The undefeated Bombers face the 3-3 Walla Walla Blue Devils at Fran Rish Stadium this Friday at 7.

Go Bombers!

2016 Game 5, Richland 47, Pasco 0

Richland Bombers 47
Pasco Bulldogs 0
September 30, 2016

The outcome of the game between the Pasco Bulldogs and the Richland Bombers was never really in doubt, but even the biggest underdogs have a chance. That's why they play the game. After taking the opening kickoff, it only took two plays for the Bombers to show who the underdog was. After getting to midfield on a pass to Adam Weisenfells, Paxton Stevens tossed a bomb to Alex Chapman streaking once again down the right sideline, who caught it and continued his run right into the endzone with only 43 seconds gone.

The next Richland score came only three minutes later when Stevens chose to keep some of the fun for himself and took it in from the right hash mark to the left corner of the endzone for 15 yards and a touchdown. Having missed the previous point after, Richland went for two and got it easily, with Ben Stanfield running it in around the left end, making it 14-0.
After another three-and-out by Pasco, the Bombers made it easily into Bulldog territory again, the biggest play coming on a 22 yard keeper by Stevens, but struggled at the goal line. The Bulldogs held tough on fourth and goal, preventing Ben Stanfield from putting up Richland's third touchdown. This put Pasco in a difficult situation, needing to take the ball 99 yards against a superior defense. It quickly turned into another three-and-out, and they punted from the endzone. Gaven Brasker fielded a skittish ball at the 45 and took it back to the 30, where Stevens threw to a new target, Garrett Guffey out of the tight end spot. Guffey's 20 yard catch and rumble gave the Bombers good field position for Josh Mendoza to run a quick slant into the endzone from the left, catching the ball easily and bringing the score to 21-0 with 22 seconds left in the quarter.

The Bulldogs saw a glimmer of hope on their next possesion when 240 pound running back Deondre Hendrix found himself in the open field after breaking loose at the line but was brought down by William Harshaw-McDonald after an eleven yard gain to end the quarter.

Guffey made a defensive appearance on the next series, diving in front of a pass and batting it away from the receiver. The Bulldogs still wanted to make a game of it, coming out in a punt formation but attempting to pass. Charles Ford got a hand on the pass, popping it high into the air, where a Bulldog snagged it and tried to run but was tackled by Victor Strasser for a 5 yard loss. Great catches by Ryan Piper and Weisenfells got Richland close to the endzone quickly, but Weisenfells fumbled at the 8.

Pasco's inevitable punt four plays later only made it to the 30. A 14 yard pass to Cody Kjarmo brought the ball back to the 9, which made it easy for Parker McCary to spin left out of the mob and cruise untouched to another touchdown. With 5 minutes left in the half it was 28-0. Two plays after kickoff, Piper dove for an interception at mid-field, and then grabbed a 24 yard pass on the next play. A series of penalties and incomplete passes only delayed what everyone knew was coming. Taking a short bubble pass five yards behind the line, Ben Stanfield wound his way 15 yards for Richland's fifth score of the half, aided by solid downfield blocks by receivers Chapman and Piper. A pass interference penalty helped Pasco keep their drive alive but were eventually forced to punt again. Piper took the bouncing punt at the Richland 40 and rambled an entertaining 35 yards, but with limited time Richland couldn't score again. The half ended 35-0.

On the third play after kickoff, Josh Mendoza drew a bead on the Bulldog quarterback's pass and stepped in front of it at the 20 yard line. With no one in front of him, it was a straight sprint to the endzone for his second score of the night, making it 41-0. With the game clock running with 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, the rest of the game breezed by. Richland took the opportunity to rotate the starters in and out and burned time by keeping the ball on the ground. Strasser had some good runs, at one point smashing his way to the 2 yard line, but penalties pushed the Bombers back. Pasco also chose to stay with the ground game, which saw slightly more success against the Richland reserves, but also quickly ran the clock down. Richland's last score came on a short pass to Weisenfells, who ran 10 yards untouched to go up 47-0 with 1:54 remaining.

Pasco kept it relatively respectable, gaining just over a total of 100 yards against a strong defense, and Richland kept the ball in the air, scoring 5 of 6 offensive touchdowns with passes. Stevens had 243 passing yards and a surprising 39 on the ground. Richland's runners, including Stevens, totaled 127 yards on only 22 carries. It must be difficult for a winless, struggling team to get up for a game like this, so the Bulldogs deserve respect for coming out and making an effort.

The Bombers head to Lampson Stadium once again to face of against the much-hyped Kamiakin Braves. Regardless of hype, Richland vs Kamiakin is always an intense game and is never a game Bomber fans want to miss. Get there early for good seats because it's sure to be packed.

Go Bombers!

2016 Game 4: Richland 26, Southridge 10

Southridge Suns 10
Richland Bombers 26
September 23, 2016

First half struggles continued for the Richland Bombers against the Southridge Suns, falling behind for the first time since the opening game against Skyline, but they toughed out a 26-10 win to remain undefeated. The Bombers failed to produce offensively, and for the second straight week went three-and-out on the first series. The short punt took a Southridge bounce and was fielded by a Southridge blocker who found himself with space and only two men to beat, Richland's coverage having already sped past the ball. Fortunately Jacob Stanfield dragged him down easily near the 45 yard line. Taking five plays to reach the 25, they kicked a field goal to put Richland behind by three, where they stayed all quarter. Despite not being able to score on a surprisingly tough Suns defense, there were a few highlight plays. Running back Ben Stanfield started off well, taking his first handoff for eleven yards, and escaping a tackler in the backfield and then using a spin move to gain five yards the next play. Alex Chapman caught the next pass in traffic, twisted out of a tackle, and dodged several defenders to gain 27 yards and a first down. On the next possession Ryan Piper muscled his way through a mob of tacklers for an extra ten yards after the catch, putting the ball at the 25 to end the quarter. Three plays into the second quarter Chapman suckered the secondary to get open, caught the ball at the 45, and took it the rest of the way to make the game 7-3 with 11 minutes to go in the half. More penalties and missed defensive assignments kept the Suns offense on the field but weren't a threat to score thanks to strong play by defensive ends Jacob Stanfield and Braden Powell, tackle Brigham Whitby, and linebacker Victor Strasser. Good special teams play kept the Suns on their own side of the field, with Ben Stanfield and sophomore Ryan Kriskovich preventing a punt return by tackling the return man as soon as he caught the ball. Chapman proved his worth on defense as well as offense, teaming up with Kyle Kirby to make a big stop for a loss on a pitch to the Southridge running back. The defense started stepping up the intensity with two minutes to go in the half when Jacob Stanfield shed his blocker and sacked Mason Martin at his own 15 for a ten yard loss. Two plays later defensive tackle Jax Lee went through nearly untouched, made a bee-line for Martin, grabbing him at the three yard line and tossing him into the endzone, although the ball was spotted at the five, forcing Southridge to punt from the endzone. A great catch-and-run by Chapman, a catch by Josh Mendoza aided by blocks from Whitby and sophomore lineman Aric Davison, and the Bombers were on the five yard line with 45 seconds left in the half. Piper was inexplicably wide open on a short slant to the inside, easily catching a pass from Stevens to go up 13-3.

The second half saw Southridge marching down the field with big runs against a defense resting key starters, eventually making it within ten yards of the endzone before the Bomber D decided to crack down. Aside from defensive stops, the third quarter had no points from the offense and very few bright spots. Running Back Parker McCary had a big run and a huge bomb to Gaven Brasker was called back on an ineligible receiver penalty. There wasn't much more than that. The fourth quarter came with increased intensity, probably due to the constant chipping and post-whistle shoving going on. Chapman caught his second touchdown and went over 100 yards receiving with a 30 yard catch in the back of the north endzone, barely scraping his toes on the grass as he caught the ball over his head. The extra point made it 20-3 with most of the fourth quarter remaining. Despite struggling in the air and having good success on the ground, Richland continued to pass instead of running the ball. The defense held their ground, defending against a tricky offense with very few weapons. Although Southridge only passes on about one third of their plays, and most of those being short passes at the line of scrimmage, the Richland secondary didn't go to sleep. Piper had a big play on fouth-and-one, sticking with his man and jumping up behind the receiver to bat the ball out of his hands. Whitby, Strasser, and McCary had big tackles in the fourth quarter, stopping runs that could have gone for far more. Strasser in particular proved his worth at linebacker in this game. Ben Stanfield, set up by big passes to Weisenfells, Kirby, and Kriskovich, scored the only touchdown on the ground, taking the option pitch on the left side, practically jogging into the endzone for Richland's final score. With the score 26-3, Southridge had little to no chance of coming back, but that didn't keep them from trying. Taking a short kickoff from Weisenfells, Brycen Kelly attempted a return but was leveled by Ben Stanfield and Kyle Kirby. Continuing to rest some starters, the Bomber D allowed the Suns to take the ball down the field, nearly stopping them at the 40 but taken in by a halfback pass to the 10. Martin ran it in from there to bring the score to 26-10 with 44 seconds remaining.

Southridge was the most physical team faced so far, matching Richland's intensity and taking their best shot at a win. Junior quarterback Mason Martin showed his toughness, and he will be dangerous next year as well. Richland's lowest scoring game came at the expense of the running game, Stanfield getting ten carries for 50 yards, McCary eight carries for 28, and Stevens scrambling six times for 21. With a massive O line and good runners it would be relatively easy for the Bombers to run up the score and get themselves a comfortable lead, but the coaches decided to air it out and work out kinks in the offense before playoff-relevant games.

Next up are the winless Pasco Bulldogs. Pasco hasn't put up a win against Richland since 2009, and although they are struggling so far this year, they always have some talent. The game starts at 7:00 at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.

Go Bombers!

2016 Game 3: Richland 40, Kennewick 0

Richland Bombers 40
Kennewick Lions 0
September 16, 2016

Being ranked number one is probably more of a curse than an honor, especially early in the season. Not only is every team looking to take down the top dog, but the adults in charge of the game tend to make sure number one doesn't take their high ranking to mean they can get away with anything. This seems to be a challenge the Richland Bombers are willing to take on, overcoming first half penalty struggles again this week to beat the Kennewick Lions 40-0 in front of a visiting crowd that outnumbered the home crowd.

After struggling last week, the receiving corps cleaned up its act and got their catches in early. After a surprisingly quick punt to end the first offensive series, the Bombers got it going with big catches from Josh Mendoza, Alex Chapman, and sophomore Ryan Kriskovich, culminating in an 11 yard touchdown catch by Mendoza. Richland's relentless defense kept Kennewick frustrated and gave the offense plenty of opportunities to score, although the Lions weren't rolling over so easily. Though clearly overmatched, they played tough and kept the score respectable during the first half. The only one other touchdown coming when running back Ben Stanfield took a pitch from quarterback Paxton Stevens on the left side and showed he was the fastest guy on the field, zipping down the home sideline past three defenders, cutting inside at the 15 to dodge two more, and then plowing the last defender into the endzone to make it a 12 point lead.

Offensively, the Bombers struggled a bit, but the defensive effort was epitomized by one first quarter play. Thwarted by tight coverage in the secondary, the Kennewick quarterback was flushed by the defensive line and rolled out to his right looking for his third receiver. That option was covered by William Harshaw-McDonald, allowing Braden Powell's hot pursuit to pay off with a sack for an eleven yard loss. That was the story of the night for Kennewick —nowhere to go, no options, and no gain.

The second half saw the Bombers electrified, with big plays coming from special teams and the defense. Unfortunately, some of the most exciting plays were called back on penalties, including kick returns by Gaven Brasker and an interception by Adam Weissenfels. These were compensated for by an interception by Chapman, an interception returned for a touchdown by Weissenfels (Weissenfels stepped in front of a pass at the 40 and raced 60 yards, juking the Kennewick QB at the 20) , two touchdowns on the ground from Parker McCary from 21 and 4 yards out, and a 33 yard catch by Chapman to seal the win at 40 points.

The Bomber D got its first shutout, holding the Lions to 48 yards total offense, allowing only one play over ten yards. The offensive and defensive lines proved dominant once again, blasting holes for the backs on offense and flushing the quarterback out of the pocket on defense. For the third straight week the Bombers have scored on the ground and in the air and have multiple players who have scored in each game.

Next week the Southridge Suns come to Fran Rish for Richland's homecoming game. The Suns are athletic and confident at 2-1, sporting a new coach and a revamped offense. Come see some old friends and cheer on the Bombers as they try to remain undefeated this Friday.


Go Bombers!

Game 2: Richland 40, Wenatchee 12

Richland Bombers 40
Wenatchee Panthers 12
September 9, 2016

Despite knocking off a top-ranked West side team in week one, grabbing the top ranking, and thoroughly dominating a former Big Nine opponent, the Richland Bombers are not yet playing like a well-oiled machine. Week two against Wenatchee, in Wenatchee, showed there is plenty of room for improvement.

The Wenatchee Panthers put up a fight, despite being overmatched, but the 40-12 final score was not entirely indicative of the disparity between these teams. From the opening kickoff, which was an unexpected on-side kick to Richland, the Panthers showed they weren't rolling over, but their recovery was negated almost immediately by Richland's fearsome front four, as linebacker Victor Strasser pummeled the quarterback and defensive tackle Jax Lee retrieved the ball. From there the Bombers appeared to be ready to air things out, going for the dagger on a long pass from Paxton Stevens to a streaking Alex Chapman, but the ball bounced out of his hands. The first drive could be seen as a foreshadowing of the rest of the game—a dominant offense sparked by a tough defense, met with frustration but ultimately succeeding. Keeping the first drive alive with the running game, the Bombers eventually put Parker McCary into the endzone for a 6-0 lead. The rest of the first quarter and much of the second was dominated not by either of the teams but by an unprecedented series of holding calls against Richland, resulting in several big runs by Ben Stanfield being called back, totaling forty plus yards. While the defense kept the Panther offense from any significant advances, the offense continued to try to find their footing, throwing several more incomplete passes and an interception, but eventually used McCary and Stanfield as tag team runners, keeping it on the ground to complete a 60 yard drive with Stanfield smashing up the middle to go up two touchdowns, and then Stanfield sweeping to the right for a two point conversion to make it 14-0. The Bombers spent the rest of the half trying to get the passing game on track, struggling to reel the ball in on good passes, but eventually finding Chapman cutting left from the middle of the field for a 30 yard catch and score. The 21-0 halftime score could have and should have been much worse for Wenatchee, having no answer to the ferocious defense thrown at them by the Bombers.

The second half was more of the same, with some bright spots for the Panthers. Highlights included and acrobatic catch by Wenatchee receiver Otoniel Esquivel, who caught the ball over Chapman's head, side-stepped McCary, broke an attempted tackle by William Harshaw-McDonald, and then barely beat Strasser into the endzone. Refusing to let any wind be taken out of their sails, Richland's line crushed through and Dantae Powell easily slapped the kick to the ground. The following kickoff was taken 60 yards back for a touchdown by Gaven Brasker. More touchdowns were scored by tight end/defensive end Braden Powell and running back Jared Whitby to put the game far out of reach. Interceptions by Josh Mendoza and Alex Chapman stifled more drives, and the Wenatchee quarterback was continually terrorized by interior linemen Brigham Whitby and Jax Lee. The Panthers attempted to salvage some pride by scoring on a catch in the right corner of the endzone, but it was too little too late, and the game stood at 40-12.

The Bombers played another physical game, playing a fast and tough defense that any team would find hard to handle. Opposite of the Skyline game, the running game provided points while the passing game struggled. If the offense had been firing on all cylinders, Richland could have put up 70 or 80 points using the multiple weapons at their disposal. All cylinders will be needed next week as the Bombers play Kennewick at Lampson stadium. Despite beating Richland only once since 1994, Kennewick always plays tough and is never a gimme game. There were nearly as many Bomber fans in Wenatchee as there were Panther fans, so a vocal green crowd should be expected for a great game next week.

Go Bombers!

Game 1: Richland 38, Skyline 27

The 2015 season ended with Richland High in third place and Skyline High School in second, both defeated by a loaded Gonzaga Prep championship team. Both teams lost plenty of important starters. Both teams were ranked in the top 5 in multiple pre-season rankings. The game itself didn't disappoint.

The opening kickoff ended in a collision between senior returner Ben Stanfield and a Skyline cover man to end a twenty yard return. The Skyline player did not return to the game. The Bombers struggled on offense, giving QB Paxton Stevens plenty of time to throw but dropping passes and failure to advance with the running game left them empty handed. A punt gave the Spartans the ball, and they used the opportunity to score with their effective passing game, which kept the Bomber D honest enough for Skyline to use their running back to take it in for a nine yard touchdown. The first half demonstrated why Skyline has been either the champion or the runner-up in ten of the twenty tears since the school opened. They played smoothly and executed well. It's obviously a well coached and well run program. Although it's resulted in fewer championships, Richland has a tradition of its own (apparently that tradition now includes unsportsmanlike penalties early in the game). Continuing to stifle the running game, Skyline was taken by surprise on a 44 yard bomb from Stevens to three year starter Alex Chapman to keep the drive going. Two plays later, junior Josh Mendoza reeled in a pass over the top of two defenders for a 31 yard touchdown, bringing back memories (for those fortunate to have witnessed it) of the Brian Edwards-lead mayhem of the early 90s. No matter what's going wrong, a miracle is always around the corner. The ensuing drives saw the Richland defense stiffen up, with the line keeping pressure on the quarterback and the linebackers filling the gaps. Their hard work couldn't prevent another Skyline touchdown, an 83 yard catch-and-run to go up 14-7 with 3:47 to go in the half. Being down 7 at half isn't a bad position to be in against a top-ranked team, but the Bombers weren't satisfied. Despite an interception, the D forced a turnover on downs, and the next play was Stevens to Chapman for a 76 yard TD.

While big plays kept Richland in it, the second half was a different story. The defense, shaking off some of the rust that had accumulated during the offseason, started to get physical. Skyline fumbled on third down, and it took three plays for Chapman to chalk up another TD catch from 36 yards out. 21-14, RHS. Skyline was still in the game, and began taking the ball down the field like they did in the first half, but were cut short when junior safety Ryan Piper intercepted a pass. This is when Skyline started to fall apart.

Richland kicked a field goal and junior LB Victor Strasser ended another short SHS drive with an interception, nearly returning it for a touchdown. It took one play for Parker McCary to follow his blockers into the endzone to make it 31-14. The kickoff was returned for short yardage by Skyline's starting running back, who he was injured on the play and wouldn't play again. Another fumble gave Richland the ball, and they capitalized when Ben Stanfield saw daylight on the left side of the line, escaped a diving grab by one defender, and sprinted untouched 55 yards to the endzone. 38-14.

Skyline played like a defeated team from then on, eventually scoring two more touchdowns while the Bomber starters rested. The starters that stayed in the game did their best to prevent it, coming up with two more interceptions by Chapman and returning starter William Harshaw-McDonald. The final score, 38-27, looks closer than it was, with the second half going to a decisively dominant Bomber squad. Notable was the physical aspect of Richland's game, which Skyline didn't appear ready to handle.

A lot of credit has to go to the Spartan lineman, offense and defense, for battling tough against what looks to be a great crew of lineman from Richland. They stifled the Bomber run game in the first half and kept their quarterbacks relatively safe on the other side.

A key to the game was the difference in defensive intensity from the first half to the second half, which was obvious. The Richland line—Brigham Whitby, Jax Lee, Braden Powell, and Jacob Stanfield—stayed strong through the whole game, and a strong crew of linebackers—Strasser, McCary, Garret Guffey, and Isaac Lovato—proved they could fill the large hole left by the graduation of the MCC's best LBs last year. The secondary brushed up on their assignments and prevented big plays. There isn't a lot of glory in this part of the game, and these positions rarely get mentioned, but the heart and grit of RHS football starts here. It should be a great season.

Richland doesn't get to rest, though, because next Friday the Bombers travel to the Apple Bowl in Wenatchee to take on the Panthers. Wenatchee is coming off a week one loss to the Southridge Suns so it should be another great game between the MCC and the Big Nine.

Tri-City Herald: Bomber soar past Skyline

Go Bombers!

Tri-City Herald Prep Football Preview

The Tri-City Herald has been breaking down all of the local teams in preparation for the 2016 MCC season and today was Richland's turn.

Nice article by Dustin Brennan.

Tri-City Herald: Bombers eye another run

The season starts off tomorrow night at 7:00pm at Fran Rish Stadium with the Bombers taking on the Skyline Spartans. This should be a great game so please consider coming out and supporting the Richland Bombers.

Go Bombers!

Bombers No. 5 in Preseason Rankings

The Seattle Times has release their 2016 preseason power rankings and the Richland Bombers are ranked number five in the state.

The Bombers will be tested immediately when the second ranked Skyline Spartans come to Richland on September 2nd at 7:00pm.

Check out the rankings and see what you think.

Preseason top-10 rankings for 3A, 4A Washington state high school football

Go Bombers!

2016 Fall Practice Schedule

The 2015 Fall Practice Schedule has been released by Coach Mike Neidhold.

Download the Fall Practice Schedule

Most important: Thursday, August 11, 2016 is the Fall Sports Clearance night in the Richland High School cafeteria at 6:00PM.

First practice is on Wednesday, August 17th at 9:00AM.

First game is on Friday, September 2nd against perennial state power Skyline Spartans at Fran Rish Stadium at 7:00PM.

Go Bombers!

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2016 Varsity Schedule
Skyline Spartans 27
Richland Bombers 38
Richland Bombers 40
Wenatchee Panthers 12
Richland Bombers 40
Kennewick Lions 0
Southridge Suns 10
Richland Bombers 26
Richland Bombers 47
Pasco Bulldogs 0
Richland Bombers 21
Kamiakin Braves 20
Walla Walla Blue Devils 14
Richland Bombers 64
Richland Bombers 21
Chiawana Riverhawks 14
Hanford Falcons 7
Richland Bombers 49
Richland Bombers 37
Central Valley Bears 0
Richland Bombers 41
Sunnyside Grizzlies 0
Richland Bombers 49
Bothell Cougars 28
Richland Bombers 35
Skyview Storm 7
Richland Bombers 14
Camas Papermakers 24


2016 Junior Varsity

2016 Freshman