Blue Devils believe as they head to Kennewick

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WALLA WALLA — Wa-Hi heads to Lampson Stadium to face Mid-Columbia Conference 3A foe Kennewick tonight.

Coming off a 20-17, heartbreaking loss to Hanford at home last Friday, Blue Devil coach Eric Hisaw knows his squad has its work cut out, but feels Wa-Hi can bring home a victory.

“It’s going to be a great one,” Hisaw said of the 7 p.m. matchup. “There are never any easy games in this league and Kennewick was picked by many to be the pre-season favorite. They are a tremendous program and a very difficult opponent for us.”

The Blue Devils, at 2-2 on the season, play a 2-1-1 Kennewick team that edged Big Nine 3A Sunnyside last week.

“They run the ball very well, and do it in a variety of ways,” Hisaw said.

The Lions have put up 679 yards on the ground to 354 through the air.

“They almost formation you to death,” Hisaw said. “They must have about 25 formations in, it seems.

“They are very sound and they don’t beat themselves,” he said. “They run many of the same plays out of these sets, and they work hard to find the set that gives them the most success, then they attack your weakness. They are quick up front and do a great job keeping your defense off balance. If we can stop the big play against them, we’ll have a great chance to be very successful on defense.”

Kennewick is averaging 5.72 yards per play, just about even with Wa-Hi’s 5.71 yards.

The Blue Devils have put up 982 rushing yards — 621 behind Jonah Hoe, who is second in the MCC — and 451 passing.

The Lions are second in the MCC defensively, allowing 240.5 yards.

“Defensively, they very, very active and physical,” Hisaw said. “They’re nowhere near as big as Hanford or Richland, but, man, do they fly around!

“They’re in a different front than we’ve seen so far this year,” he said. “It’s taken our kids some time to adjust to it, and on only three days prep, compared to four — that’s tough!

“They pressure quite a bit, and they do so from about darn near anywhere,” Hisaw said. “They will give us a completely different challenge than anything we’ve seen this year. We’ll have to really raise our game to be successful on offense.”

And, despite the disappointment of last week’s three-point loss, which left the Blue Devils looking back at missed opportunities, Hisaw sees tonight’s game as an chance to put that behind them.

“Overall, I do believe it’s a game we can win,” he said. “We have a good football team, and we’re playing in a great league.

“We’re realistically two or three plays from being 4-0,” Hisaw said. “We’re good enough to be undefeated.

“The fact is, though, we’re not and we’ve got to go earn some respect back and fight our way to our third win. I expect a great game on Thursday night from our kids!”

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