Blue Devils seek third straight win with defense

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Area Prep Football Standings

Washington

Mid-Columbia Conference

League Overall

Chiawana (4A) 4-0 4-0

Kamiakin (3A) 2-0 4-0

Richland (4A) 2-1 3-1

Walla Walla (4A) 1-1 2-2

Southridge (3A) 1-2 2-2

Hanford (3A) 1-4 1-4

Kennewick (3A) 0-2 0-3

Pasco (4A) 0-2 0-4

Friday, Oct. 4

Pasco at Southride, 7 p.m.

Kennewick at Walla Walla, 7 p.m.

Kamiakin at Richland, 7 p.m.

Chiawana at Wenatchee, 7 p.m.

Hanford at Sunnyside, 7 p.m.

Big Nine Conference

League Overall

Wenatchee (4A) 3-1 3-1

Eisenhower (4A) 2-1 3-1

Moses Lake (4A) 2-1 3-1

Davis (4A) 1-2 1-3

Eastmont (4A) 0-3 1-3

Sunnyside (3A) 0-0 0-4

Friday, Oct. 4

Hanford at Sunnyside, 7 p.m.

Moses Lake at Eastmont, 7 p.m.

Eisenhower at Davis, 7 p.m.

Chiawana at Wenatchee, 7 p.m.

Southeast 2B League

League Overall

DeSales 1-0 3-1

Asotin 1-0 3-1

Dayton 0-2 0-4

Tri-Cities Prep 0-0 2-1

Waitsburg-Prescott 0-0 2-1

Friday, Oct. 4

Asotin at Tri-Cities Prep, 7 p.m.

Waitsburg-Prescott at DeSales, 7 p.m.

Southeast 1B

League Overall

Liberty Christian 1-0 3-0

Sunnyside Christian 1-0 3-1

Pomeroy 1-0 2-2

Colton 1-0 3-1

St. John-Endicott 0-1 2-2

Touchet 0-1 3-1

LaCrosse-Washtucna 0-1 0-3

Garfield-Palouse 0-1 0-3

Rosalia N/A 2-1

Friday, Oct. 4

Liberty Christian at Garfield-Palouse, 7 p.m.

Lacrosse-Washtucna at Colton, 7 p.m.

Sunnyside Christian at Pomeroy, 7 p.m.

Touchet at St. John-Endicott, 7 p.m.

Greater Oregon League

League Overall

Mac-Hi 0-0 2-2

Baker 0-0 2-3

La Grande 0-0 0-4

Ontario 0-0 0-4

Friday, Oct. 4

Nyssa at Mac-Hi, 7 p.m.

Vale at Baker, 8 p.m.

Burns at Ontario, 7 p.m.

Weiser (ID) at La Grande, 7 p.m.

Blue Mountain Conference

League Overall

Grant Union 2-0 4-0

Heppner 2-0 4-0

Stanfield 2-0 4-0

Irrigon 1-1 4-1

Weston-McEwen 1-1 1-3

Union 0-2 2-2

Enterprise 0-2 1-3

Pilot Rock 0-2 0-4

Friday, Oct. 4

Enterprise at Grant Union, 7 p.m.

Heppner at Union, 7 p.m.

Stanfield at Irrigon, 7 p.m.

Pilot Rock at Weston-McEwen, 7 p.m.

WALLA WALLA — One week ago, Walla Walla High School entered its Mid-Columbia Conference football game at Hanford with a bit more bounce in its step after achieving its first win of the season on Sept. 20 — a 28-18 victory over Davis at Borleske Stadium.

This Friday, the Blue Devils (1-1 MCC, 2-2 overall) are out to record their third straight win when they host a Kennewick Lions’ team that ended a three-game losing streak last weekend with a 45-21 triumph over Sunnyside.

In its previous three contests, Kennewick (1-2, 1-3), which tied Kamiakin and Hanford for the 2012 MCC championship, suffered lopsided losses to Lake City, Idaho, 42-10, Chiawana, 48-0, and Southridge, 34-7.

A solid defensive effort lifted Wa-Hi to a 13-7 victory Hanford last Friday night at Fran Rish Stadium. The Blue Devils gave up only 112 yards over the final three-and-a-half quarters and just 35 in the second half.

“To get a win on the road was awesome,” Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said. “The kids played to win. When you play as hard as they do, you don’t deserve to lose.

“The win has put them in a spot where they can finish the year on a strong note,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

An incredible amount of thievery occurred last Friday. The Blue Devils intercepted four Hanford passes and recovered an equal number of Falcon fumbles.

“We were opportunistic on defense,” Hisaw said. “The kids are doing a lot of the right things. They are starting to attack the football. It’s nice to have kids attack the football than make a singular tackle.”

Wa-Hi has not allowed a point in five of its last six quarters. The lone blemish was a first-quarter touchdown scored by Hanford a week ago.

While their defense dominated Hanford, the Blue Devils’ offense managed just 188 yards (102 passing, 86 rushing).

“We’re still trying to figure it out,”Hisaw said. “It’s not like people have stopped us. It’s minor things that are killing us — overshadowing the positives. The effort is there, but we are making costly mistakes at the wrong time.”

One example against Hanford was a fourth-quarter holding penalty that nullified what would have been a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Zehner to wide receiver Darnell Handcox.

Hisaw complimented athletes responsible for the punt protection, punt returns, and covering kickoffs last week. He also noted his team needs to be more physical.

“The kids did a good job making (special teams) important,” Hisaw said. “We can be more physical, especially on offense.”

Physically, the Blue Devils “are as healthy as we’ve been all year long,” Hisaw said.

Sophomore lineman Ryan Rogel, who has been out since the third week of practice due to an MCL injury, may be cleared to play Friday, Hisaw said.

Linebacker Troy Aguilar may return in a week after suffering a high ankle sprain at Richland on Sept. 13, Hisaw said.

Friday’s game will feature two teams that are looking to improve their standing in the league’s offensive and defensive statistics. The Blue Devils are sixth and the Lions eighth in total offense, while their defenses rank fifth and sixth, respectively.

“It’s not like they are a stranger to success,” Hisaw said of the Lions, who have made the postseason three consecutive years. “They play extremely hard.

“They play a 3-4 defense,” he said. “They will stunt, move and run to the ball. They have a physical defensive line. They will try to keep you honest on offense.”

Wa-Hi’s Noah Porter ranks fourth in the league with 290 yards rushing.

Kennewick’s top ball carrier, Dwight Norwood, is seventh with 209 yards.

Zehner is fourth in the conference with 601 yards passing. He has completed 57-of-102 passes and thrown five touchdowns.

Lions’ signal caller, Dylan Tennancour, is No. 6 in the MCC with 390 yards through the air. Thirty-two of his 54 pass attempts this season have been completed.

Both Zehner and Tennancour have thrown two interceptions.

Handcox continues to be the Mid-Columbia’s top pass catcher with 20 receptions. His 249 yards receiving is third best in the MCC.

If field position and the kicking game are keys in Friday’s game, the Lions may have an edge. Anthony Arroyo’s 36.5-yard punting average is No. 3 in the league.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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