WALLA WALLA — Wa-Hi scored three first-quarter touchdowns against Chiawana, then added one more in each of the next three periods.
The Blue Devil defense held the Riverhawks to a single tally.
Those efforts led to a 41-6 Big Nine Conference Cascade Division football victory for the Blue Devils and at least partly erased the disappointment felt after an overtime loss to Kamiakin last week.
"The kids played very well," Wa-Hi coach Marc Yonts said of his team’s homecoming effort. "Chiawana is a physical football team. They have a couple of skill kids that can run around, and they’re hard-nosed.
"But you just have to hand it to our kids," he said. "With all of the emotional ups and downs this last week from the disappointing loss to Kamiakin, and with all of the homecoming distractions, this was a good win for us."
Wa-Hi finished Friday with a 4-2 division record and a 4-3 record overall.
Chiawana is now 1-5 in the division and 1-6 overall, and officially out of the playoff picture.
"It was fun," Wa-Hi senior center and linebacker Ryan James said. "We knew we had to come out and be real physical and just beat them the way we know how to."
Wa-Hi limited the Riverhawks to 162 yards on offense (69 yards passing and 93 yards rushing).
"We were looking to stop the run, but we also had a really good pass rush," James said. "We got good pressure on the quarterback, so that was good."
Wa-Hi totaled 338 yards on offense, with 197 rushing yards and 141 passing yards.
Wa-Hi’s Austin Schilling led all ball carriers with 22 rushes for 140 yards.
Wa-Hi’s Michael Weisner completed 7-of-10 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
Moe Handcox caught four passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. Gary Winston caught two passes for 22 yards and a touchdown.
Winston also scored a TD on a 31-yard reverse.
Handcox also had the one Wa-Hi interception. He returned the ball 33 yards but lost it on a fumble that Chiawana recovered.
"The offensive line played well," James said. "Our emphasis was on being physical, and we did that. In the first quarter we stopped them on defense and got the ball where we wanted to."
And Wa-Hi had an 88-yard kickoff return by Brandon Porter for a touchdown to open the second half.
"It’s always fun when be get a big runback. Then we don’t have to go out and play offense," James said with a laugh.
Wa-Hi received the kickoff to open the second half, and Porter grabbed the ball at the 12-yard line inches from the out-of-bounds marker.
With a high-wire-walker’s balance, Porter cut through the first wave of would-be tacklers, found the lane and raced 88-yards for the TD and for Wa-Hi’s 34-6 lead with 11:47 remaining on the third-quarter clock.
"We played pretty well," Porter said. "And the run back was a lot of fun.
"I grabbed the ball on the sideline," he recalled . "I thought I was going to go out of bounds, with my tippy-toes about to touch the white line, but I just made a couple of cuts and made a good return.
"The guys have been working on returns a lot, and the coaches did a nice job at practice this week," he said. "The return team did a good job blocking, and a lane opened up.
"I didn’t think I was that fast," he said. "I guess I’ve got a little speed.
"This was a big game," Porter said. "We came off of a hard loss last week, but we bounced back and played well. And this win helps us to get ready for Richland on Friday."
Wa-Hi kicked off to open the game and held the Riverhawks to three-and-out.
After a 24-yard Chiawana punt, Wa-Hi took just two plays to cover 59 yards for a touchdown.
Michael Weisner hit Handcox for the 51-yard scoring play, and Fernando Garcia booted the extra point. Wa-Hi led 7-0 with 9:31 on the first-period clock.
Wa-Hi’s defense held the Riverhawks to 1 yard on their next possession.
After a 27-yard punt, Wa-Hi moved 58 yards in 11 plays for a 14-0 lead with 3:08 left in the first period.
A 24-yard Weisner pass to Handcox highlighted the drive, and Weisner ran in from the 1-yard line.
Chiwana ran four plays on its next possession. After failing to convert a fourth-and-two, the Riverhawks relinquished the ball on their 44-yard line.
Schilling ran for eight yards. Weisner passed five yards to Gary Winston, and then Winston ran a reverse for the 31-yard touchdown.
Wa-Hi took a 21-0 lead with 1:06 left in the first quarter.
After the teams exchanged punts in the second quarter, Chiawana mounted a 12-play drive for its only score of the game.
Luc Graff passed 14 yards to Brett Adamson for the TD with 1:19 on the second-quarter clock.
After the kickoff, however, Wa-Hi covered 49 yards in three plays, including a 26-yard Weisner-to-Aaron Flippo pass and a 17-yard Weisner pass to Winston for the touchdown. Wa-Hi led 28-6 with 49 seconds left in the first half.
Wa-Hi led 34-6 after Porter’s kickoff return in the third quarter.
Wa-Hi added the final score of the game with 6:11 on the fourth-quarter clock when Matt Watson broke three tackles and bulled his way for 12 yards to score and a give Wa-Hi a 41-6 lead.
Watson also punted one time for Wa-Hi, a 49-yarder, and he contributed to several tackles on defense.
Morgan Maddess also contributed to several tackles, and he had Wa-Hi’s single quarterback sack on the night.
"It was a lot of fun, and we did OK," Maddess said about the Blue Devils’ play. "We missed some stuff. We missed some tackles. No. 30 (Jordan Downing, 19 carries 89 yards) ran the ball hard. He’s a big guy. I missed some tackles on him that I could’ve got, but it was a lot of fun.
"You know, coming back after Kamiakin, we really needed this," he said. "We were kinda demoralized after that loss.
"But it was good that we got this win," Maddess said. "It will keep us going. It will help us be ready for Richland next week. We’re thinking about it already."
Yonts was pleased with the Blue Devils’ play.
"We kind of challenged them a little bit, and they responded," he said. "I’m just so proud of them. The way they came out and worked. It was a real blue-collar effort.
"It wasn’t real fancy, but you could really see that all of a sudden the ‘O’ line and the ‘D’ line started getting their pads down and delivering the blow instead of catching it.
"I’m really proud of the kids," Yonts said. "This was a nice win. We’ll go back to work on Monday and get ready to go."
Chiawana coach Steve Graff said the Riverhawks did well.
"The kids keep competing," he said. "They’re overmatched age-wise and size-wise. All we ask them to do is compete, to go out there and try to make it a battle.
"But we can’t give up those big plays like that, you know, against good football teams like (Wa-Hi)," he said. "That puts us in a hole. Then we just have to battle and to keep trying to play."
Chiawana 0 6 0 0 — 6
Wa-Hi 21 7 6 7 — 41
WW — Handcox 51 pass from Wwisner (Garcia kick).
WW — Weisner 1 run (Garcia kick).
WW — Winston 31 run (Garcia kick).
CHI — Adamson 14 pass from Graf (pass failed).
WW — Winston 17 pass from Weisner (Garcia kick).
WW — Porter 88 yard kickoff return (kick failed).
WW — Watson 12 run (Garcia kick).
First downs 10 34-197
Rushes/yards 29-93 34-197
Passing yards 69 141
Passes (att-comp-int) 20-8-1 10-7-0
Punts 6-30.8 1-49
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 1-10 5-50
RUSHING — Downing 19-89, Graff 6-2, avidson 4-14; Wa-Hi: Schilling 22-140, Porter 1-0, Weisner 5-13, Winston 1-31, Watson 5-19.
PASSING — Chiawana: Graff 8-20-1, 69 yards, 1 TD; Wa-Hi: Weisner 7-10-0, 141 yards, 2 Tds.
RECEIVING — Chiawana: Smith 2-12-0, Evans 1-6-0, Salas 2-20-0, Adamson 1-14-1, Downing 1-11-0, Edrington 1-6-0; Wa-Hi: Handcox 4-92-1, Winston 2-22-1, Flippo 1-27-0.