Suns burn Blue Devils in 42-22 win

Southridge quarterback Matt Mendenhall lives up to his billing, throwing for five first-half TDs in the victory.

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KENNEWICK - Wa-Hi head football coach Eric Hisaw described Southridge quarterback Matt Mendenhall as "the real deal" and added he "may be the best we see all year" in the days leading up to Friday night's clash between the two Big Nine high schools at Lampson Stadium.

Mendenhall certainly lived up to the worth of Hisaw's statements.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior threw five first-half touchdown passes and ended the evening 20-of-34 for 322 yards in a 42-22 victory for the Class 3A Suns - a triumph that left the 4A Blue Devils with an early-season record of 0-2.

Running back Chris Haueter enjoyed a noteworthy effort with 205 yards rushing on 23 carries as Southridge evened its record at 1-1.

"We're really explosive," Southridge coach Tony Reiboldt said. "The big thing is protection and the guys up front. We're working without a two-way starter."

The Suns took the early lead on its second series. Mendenhall hit Josh Richards with a 27-yard scoring toss down the left sideline that ended a nine-play, 68-yard drive at the 3:35 mark of the opening quarter.

A missed extra point left the score 6-0.

Moe Handcox got the Blue Devils on the board 13 seconds later when he returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Dean Atkinson followed with a successful conversion kick that gave Wa-Hi its only lead of the night, 7-6.

Southridge dominated the rest of the way.

Mendenhall registered touchdown throws of 6 yards to Garrett Willard and 26 yards to Clay Gonzalez in the final three minutes of the initial frame to send the Suns to the second quarter with a 12-point spread, 19-7. The Gonzalez connection came one snap after a blocked punt.

Paul Hamada, who led Southridge receivers with eight catches for 121 yards, grabbed a pair of 12-yard six-pointers from Mendenhall in period two. The first put the Suns up 26-7, and the latter made it 33-14 at the 4:04 mark.

Wa-Hi running back Jonah Hoe broke loose for a 57-yard scoring sprint prior to Hamada's second score. The touchdown, recorded with 5:27 left, was part of 207-yard rushing performance by Hoe.

The Suns ended the half with 367 yards of total offense.

"That's what we did at Wenatchee," said Reiboldt, whose team lost its season opener a week earlier to the Panthers, 18-17.

"Our effort was poor in the first half," Hisaw said. "It's not who we are or who we want to be."

Haueter rambled for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:07 remaining in the third period to increase the Southridge advantage to 26 points, 40-14.

"It's fun," Reiboldt said. "We count our blessings that we have athletes like that. The kids work so hard."

Hoe tallied from 21 yards out with 10:27 to go in the final stanza. Quarterback Dakota Turner hooked up with Matt Wickham on a 2-point conversion that made the score 40-22.

"We responded to the challenge like men and played the way we're capable of (in the second half)," Hisaw said.

"There was no doubt in our minds they were not going to give up," Reiboldt said. "We got what we expected."

The finals points of the game resulted from a high snap out of punt formation that rolled out of the end zone with 8:09 on the clock.

Wa-Hi opens league play next Friday night when it hosts Wenatchee.

Southridge 42, Wa-Hi 22

Wa-Hi 7 7 0 8 - 22

Southridge 19 14 7 2 - 42

Southridge - Richards 27 pass from Mendenhall (kick failed).

Wa-Hi - Handcox 90 kickoff return (Atkinson kick).

Southridge - Willard 6 pass from Mendenhall (Ch. Mertens kick).

Southridge - Gonzalez 26 pass from Mendenhall (pass failed).

Southridge - Hamada 12 pass from Mendenhall (Ch. Mertens kick).

Wa-Hi - Hoe 57 run (Atkinson kick).

Southridge - Hamada 12 pass from Mendenhall (Ch. Mertens kick).

Southridge - Haueter 30 run (Co. Mertens kick).

Wa-Hi - Hoe 21 run (Wickham pass from Turner).

Southridge - Safety: Punt snap out of end zone.

Wa-Hi Southridge

First downs 12 23

Rushes/yards 32-200 33-232

Passing yards 68 322

Passes (att-comp-int) 17-7-0 34-20-0

Punts 8-29.3 2-32.5

Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2

Penalties-yards 8-74 10-84

Individual Statistics

RUSHING - Wa-Hi: Hoe 24-207, Turner 6-16, Palomo 1-(-5), Team 1-(-18); Southridge: Haueter 23-205, Diaz 4-20, Ellsworth 2-8, Henderson 2-6, Mendenhall 2-(-7).

PASSING - Wa-Hi: Turner 7-17-0, 68 yards, 0 TDs; Southridge: Mendenhall 20-34-0, 322 yards, 5 TDs.

RECEIVING - Wa-Hi: Handcox 4-32, Jameson 1-17, Rowley 1-12, Hoe 1-7; Southridge: Hamada 8-121-2, Richards 5-113-1, Gonzalez 3-47-1, Haueter 2-10, Sanders 1-25, Willard 1-6-1.

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