MOSES LAKE - Quarterback Justin Simmons single-handedly displayed offensive balance during Moses Lake's Big Nine Conference 4A football game with Wa-Hi Friday night at Lions Field.
Simmons rushed for 139 yards and passed for 133 more as the Chiefs overcame a 239-yard rushing effort by the Blue Devils' Jonah Hoe to post a 22-12 homecoming victory, its first win of the 2011 season.
While Moses Lake improved to 1-4 in league and 1-7 overall, Wa-Hi fell to 0-5 and 0-7.
The Chiefs wasted little time putting the Blue Devils in an early hole. Simmons ended a seven-play, 60-yard opening drive with an 11-yard touchdown run at the 9:59 mark of the first quarter.
Wa-Hi tied the score at 6-6 with 3:29 left in the period when Hoe registered an 11-yard scoring run of his own to finish a possession of three plays that negotiated 71 yards.
"It was a neat drive," Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said. "We got behind the eight-ball early. The kids did a good job. I was happy with that. We looked like the team we're supposed to be."
Moses Lake reclaimed the lead just 54 seconds before halftime after an Elliot Sage field goal of 35 yards.
"We had missed a 39-yarder, got the ball back with two (minutes) to play, and threw a pick," Hisaw said. "But we stoned them on defense. We responded really well."
The Chiefs increased their advantage to double figures less than two minutes into the third quarter. Simmons hit Jordan Koon with a six-point pass that covered 54 yards. The toss, coupled with a Sage PAT kick, gave Moses Lake a 16-6 lead with 10:13 on the clock.
"It wasn't like they threw a long bomb," Hisaw said. "It was a nine-yard curl, and we missed a couple of tackles. We didn't tackle well all night in space."
Wa-Hi got itself back in the game with an 89-yard march that ended with 1:06 remaining in the third on a 10-yard touchdown run by Moe Handcox.
But Moses Lake's Bryce Perez would re-establish a 10-point margin with the final scoring play of the game - a 3-yard rush on the first snap of the fourth quarter.
"We played O.K. and they played better," Hisaw said. "We looked unenthused - no excitement or hype when we made a play. Maybe I'm wrong, but it didn't seem like there was a lot of life. That's my deal as a head coach. I didn't do a very good job this week."
The contest wasn't without its share of ineptitude. Both teams had four turnovers (two interceptions and a pair of lost fumbles apiece) and combined to squander an equal number of conversion kicks (two each). In all, the teams were flagged 16 times for 131 yards.
Wa-Hi ends its regular season next Friday night at playoff-bound Eisenhower.
Moses Lake 22, Wa-Hi 12
Wa-Hi 6 0 6 0 - 12
Moses Lake 6 3 7 6 - 22
Moses Lake - Simmons 11 run (kick failed).
Wa-Hi - Hoe 11 run (kick blocked).
Moses Lake - Sage 35 FG.
Moses Lake - Koon 54 pass from Simmons (Sage kick).
Wa-Hi - M. Handcox 10 run (kick blocked).
Moses Lake - Perez 3 run (kick blocked).
Wa-Hi Moses Lake
First downs 20 17
Rushes/yards 41-312 40-236
Passing yards 79 133
Passes (att-comp-int) 19-12-2 14-6-2
Punts 3-47.7 3-27.3
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-2
Penalties-yards 7-55 9-76
RUSHING - Wa-Hi: Hoe 26-239, Turner 5-41, Handcox 9-30, Porter 1-2; Moses Lake: Simmons 13-139, Law 17-72, Perez 7-21, Koon 2-7, Thompson 1-(-3).
PASSING - Wa-Hi: M. Handcox 4-6-1, 26 yards, 0 TDs, Turner 8-13-1, 53 yards, 0 TDs; Moses Lake: Simmons 6-14-2, 133 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING - Wa-Hi: Rowley 6-49, M. Handcox 2-1, D. Handcox 1-15, Atkinson 1-7, Ferenz 1-4, Hoe 1-3; Moses Lake: Koon 3-90-1, Ballard 3-43.