Friday, September 30
2016 Game 4: Richland 26, Southridge 10
September 23, 2016
First half struggles continued for the Richland Bombers against the Southridge Suns, falling behind for the first time since the opening game against Skyline, but they toughed out a 26-10 win to remain undefeated. The Bombers failed to produce offensively, and for the second straight week went three-and-out on the first series. The short punt took a Southridge bounce and was fielded by a Southridge blocker who found himself with space and only two men to beat, Richland's coverage having already sped past the ball. Fortunately Jacob Stanfield dragged him down easily near the 45 yard line. Taking five plays to reach the 25, they kicked a field goal to put Richland behind by three, where they stayed all quarter. Despite not being able to score on a surprisingly tough Suns defense, there were a few highlight plays. Running back Ben Stanfield started off well, taking his first handoff for eleven yards, and escaping a tackler in the backfield and then using a spin move to gain five yards the next play. Alex Chapman caught the next pass in traffic, twisted out of a tackle, and dodged several defenders to gain 27 yards and a first down. On the next possession Ryan Piper muscled his way through a mob of tacklers for an extra ten yards after the catch, putting the ball at the 25 to end the quarter. Three plays into the second quarter Chapman suckered the secondary to get open, caught the ball at the 45, and took it the rest of the way to make the game 7-3 with 11 minutes to go in the half. More penalties and missed defensive assignments kept the Suns offense on the field but weren't a threat to score thanks to strong play by defensive ends Jacob Stanfield and Braden Powell, tackle Brigham Whitby, and linebacker Victor Strasser. Good special teams play kept the Suns on their own side of the field, with Ben Stanfield and sophomore Ryan Kriskovich preventing a punt return by tackling the return man as soon as he caught the ball. Chapman proved his worth on defense as well as offense, teaming up with Kyle Kirby to make a big stop for a loss on a pitch to the Southridge running back. The defense started stepping up the intensity with two minutes to go in the half when Jacob Stanfield shed his blocker and sacked Mason Martin at his own 15 for a ten yard loss. Two plays later defensive tackle Jax Lee went through nearly untouched, made a bee-line for Martin, grabbing him at the three yard line and tossing him into the endzone, although the ball was spotted at the five, forcing Southridge to punt from the endzone. A great catch-and-run by Chapman, a catch by Josh Mendoza aided by blocks from Whitby and sophomore lineman Aric Davison, and the Bombers were on the five yard line with 45 seconds left in the half. Piper was inexplicably wide open on a short slant to the inside, easily catching a pass from Stevens to go up 13-3.
The second half saw Southridge marching down the field with big runs against a defense resting key starters, eventually making it within ten yards of the endzone before the Bomber D decided to crack down. Aside from defensive stops, the third quarter had no points from the offense and very few bright spots. Running Back Parker McCary had a big run and a huge bomb to Gaven Brasker was called back on an ineligible receiver penalty. There wasn't much more than that. The fourth quarter came with increased intensity, probably due to the constant chipping and post-whistle shoving going on. Chapman caught his second touchdown and went over 100 yards receiving with a 30 yard catch in the back of the north endzone, barely scraping his toes on the grass as he caught the ball over his head. The extra point made it 20-3 with most of the fourth quarter remaining. Despite struggling in the air and having good success on the ground, Richland continued to pass instead of running the ball. The defense held their ground, defending against a tricky offense with very few weapons. Although Southridge only passes on about one third of their plays, and most of those being short passes at the line of scrimmage, the Richland secondary didn't go to sleep. Piper had a big play on fouth-and-one, sticking with his man and jumping up behind the receiver to bat the ball out of his hands. Whitby, Strasser, and McCary had big tackles in the fourth quarter, stopping runs that could have gone for far more. Strasser in particular proved his worth at linebacker in this game. Ben Stanfield, set up by big passes to Weisenfells, Kirby, and Kriskovich, scored the only touchdown on the ground, taking the option pitch on the left side, practically jogging into the endzone for Richland's final score. With the score 26-3, Southridge had little to no chance of coming back, but that didn't keep them from trying. Taking a short kickoff from Weisenfells, Brycen Kelly attempted a return but was leveled by Ben Stanfield and Kyle Kirby. Continuing to rest some starters, the Bomber D allowed the Suns to take the ball down the field, nearly stopping them at the 40 but taken in by a halfback pass to the 10. Martin ran it in from there to bring the score to 26-10 with 44 seconds remaining.
Southridge was the most physical team faced so far, matching Richland's intensity and taking their best shot at a win. Junior quarterback Mason Martin showed his toughness, and he will be dangerous next year as well. Richland's lowest scoring game came at the expense of the running game, Stanfield getting ten carries for 50 yards, McCary eight carries for 28, and Stevens scrambling six times for 21. With a massive O line and good runners it would be relatively easy for the Bombers to run up the score and get themselves a comfortable lead, but the coaches decided to air it out and work out kinks in the offense before playoff-relevant games.
Next up are the winless Pasco Bulldogs. Pasco hasn't put up a win against Richland since 2009, and although they are struggling so far this year, they always have some talent. The game starts at 7:00 at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.
2016 Game 3: Richland 40, Kennewick 0
September 16, 2016
Being ranked number one is probably more of a curse than an honor, especially early in the season. Not only is every team looking to take down the top dog, but the adults in charge of the game tend to make sure number one doesn't take their high ranking to mean they can get away with anything. This seems to be a challenge the Richland Bombers are willing to take on, overcoming first half penalty struggles again this week to beat the Kennewick Lions 40-0 in front of a visiting crowd that outnumbered the home crowd.
After struggling last week, the receiving corps cleaned up its act and got their catches in early. After a surprisingly quick punt to end the first offensive series, the Bombers got it going with big catches from Josh Mendoza, Alex Chapman, and sophomore Ryan Kriskovich, culminating in an 11 yard touchdown catch by Mendoza. Richland's relentless defense kept Kennewick frustrated and gave the offense plenty of opportunities to score, although the Lions weren't rolling over so easily. Though clearly overmatched, they played tough and kept the score respectable during the first half. The only one other touchdown coming when running back Ben Stanfield took a pitch from quarterback Paxton Stevens on the left side and showed he was the fastest guy on the field, zipping down the home sideline past three defenders, cutting inside at the 15 to dodge two more, and then plowing the last defender into the endzone to make it a 12 point lead.
Offensively, the Bombers struggled a bit, but the defensive effort was epitomized by one first quarter play. Thwarted by tight coverage in the secondary, the Kennewick quarterback was flushed by the defensive line and rolled out to his right looking for his third receiver. That option was covered by William Harshaw-McDonald, allowing Braden Powell's hot pursuit to pay off with a sack for an eleven yard loss. That was the story of the night for Kennewick —nowhere to go, no options, and no gain.
The second half saw the Bombers electrified, with big plays coming from special teams and the defense. Unfortunately, some of the most exciting plays were called back on penalties, including kick returns by Gaven Brasker and an interception by Adam Weissenfels. These were compensated for by an interception by Chapman, an interception returned for a touchdown by Weissenfels (Weissenfels stepped in front of a pass at the 40 and raced 60 yards, juking the Kennewick QB at the 20) , two touchdowns on the ground from Parker McCary from 21 and 4 yards out, and a 33 yard catch by Chapman to seal the win at 40 points.
The Bomber D got its first shutout, holding the Lions to 48 yards total offense, allowing only one play over ten yards. The offensive and defensive lines proved dominant once again, blasting holes for the backs on offense and flushing the quarterback out of the pocket on defense. For the third straight week the Bombers have scored on the ground and in the air and have multiple players who have scored in each game.
Next week the Southridge Suns come to Fran Rish for Richland's homecoming game. The Suns are athletic and confident at 2-1, sporting a new coach and a revamped offense. Come see some old friends and cheer on the Bombers as they try to remain undefeated this Friday.
Game 2: Richland 40, Wenatchee 12
September 9, 2016
Despite knocking off a top-ranked West side team in week one, grabbing the top ranking, and thoroughly dominating a former Big Nine opponent, the Richland Bombers are not yet playing like a well-oiled machine. Week two against Wenatchee, in Wenatchee, showed there is plenty of room for improvement.
The Wenatchee Panthers put up a fight, despite being overmatched, but the 40-12 final score was not entirely indicative of the disparity between these teams. From the opening kickoff, which was an unexpected on-side kick to Richland, the Panthers showed they weren't rolling over, but their recovery was negated almost immediately by Richland's fearsome front four, as linebacker Victor Strasser pummeled the quarterback and defensive tackle Jax Lee retrieved the ball. From there the Bombers appeared to be ready to air things out, going for the dagger on a long pass from Paxton Stevens to a streaking Alex Chapman, but the ball bounced out of his hands. The first drive could be seen as a foreshadowing of the rest of the game—a dominant offense sparked by a tough defense, met with frustration but ultimately succeeding. Keeping the first drive alive with the running game, the Bombers eventually put Parker McCary into the endzone for a 6-0 lead. The rest of the first quarter and much of the second was dominated not by either of the teams but by an unprecedented series of holding calls against Richland, resulting in several big runs by Ben Stanfield being called back, totaling forty plus yards. While the defense kept the Panther offense from any significant advances, the offense continued to try to find their footing, throwing several more incomplete passes and an interception, but eventually used McCary and Stanfield as tag team runners, keeping it on the ground to complete a 60 yard drive with Stanfield smashing up the middle to go up two touchdowns, and then Stanfield sweeping to the right for a two point conversion to make it 14-0. The Bombers spent the rest of the half trying to get the passing game on track, struggling to reel the ball in on good passes, but eventually finding Chapman cutting left from the middle of the field for a 30 yard catch and score. The 21-0 halftime score could have and should have been much worse for Wenatchee, having no answer to the ferocious defense thrown at them by the Bombers.
The second half was more of the same, with some bright spots for the Panthers. Highlights included and acrobatic catch by Wenatchee receiver Otoniel Esquivel, who caught the ball over Chapman's head, side-stepped McCary, broke an attempted tackle by William Harshaw-McDonald, and then barely beat Strasser into the endzone. Refusing to let any wind be taken out of their sails, Richland's line crushed through and Dantae Powell easily slapped the kick to the ground. The following kickoff was taken 60 yards back for a touchdown by Gaven Brasker. More touchdowns were scored by tight end/defensive end Braden Powell and running back Jared Whitby to put the game far out of reach. Interceptions by Josh Mendoza and Alex Chapman stifled more drives, and the Wenatchee quarterback was continually terrorized by interior linemen Brigham Whitby and Jax Lee. The Panthers attempted to salvage some pride by scoring on a catch in the right corner of the endzone, but it was too little too late, and the game stood at 40-12.
The Bombers played another physical game, playing a fast and tough defense that any team would find hard to handle. Opposite of the Skyline game, the running game provided points while the passing game struggled. If the offense had been firing on all cylinders, Richland could have put up 70 or 80 points using the multiple weapons at their disposal. All cylinders will be needed next week as the Bombers play Kennewick at Lampson stadium. Despite beating Richland only once since 1994, Kennewick always plays tough and is never a gimme game. There were nearly as many Bomber fans in Wenatchee as there were Panther fans, so a vocal green crowd should be expected for a great game next week.
Game 1: Richland 38, Skyline 27
The 2015 season ended with Richland High in third place and Skyline High School in second, both defeated by a loaded Gonzaga Prep championship team. Both teams lost plenty of important starters. Both teams were ranked in the top 5 in multiple pre-season rankings. The game itself didn't disappoint.
The opening kickoff ended in a collision between senior returner Ben Stanfield and a Skyline cover man to end a twenty yard return. The Skyline player did not return to the game. The Bombers struggled on offense, giving QB Paxton Stevens plenty of time to throw but dropping passes and failure to advance with the running game left them empty handed. A punt gave the Spartans the ball, and they used the opportunity to score with their effective passing game, which kept the Bomber D honest enough for Skyline to use their running back to take it in for a nine yard touchdown. The first half demonstrated why Skyline has been either the champion or the runner-up in ten of the twenty tears since the school opened. They played smoothly and executed well. It's obviously a well coached and well run program. Although it's resulted in fewer championships, Richland has a tradition of its own (apparently that tradition now includes unsportsmanlike penalties early in the game). Continuing to stifle the running game, Skyline was taken by surprise on a 44 yard bomb from Stevens to three year starter Alex Chapman to keep the drive going. Two plays later, junior Josh Mendoza reeled in a pass over the top of two defenders for a 31 yard touchdown, bringing back memories (for those fortunate to have witnessed it) of the Brian Edwards-lead mayhem of the early 90s. No matter what's going wrong, a miracle is always around the corner. The ensuing drives saw the Richland defense stiffen up, with the line keeping pressure on the quarterback and the linebackers filling the gaps. Their hard work couldn't prevent another Skyline touchdown, an 83 yard catch-and-run to go up 14-7 with 3:47 to go in the half. Being down 7 at half isn't a bad position to be in against a top-ranked team, but the Bombers weren't satisfied. Despite an interception, the D forced a turnover on downs, and the next play was Stevens to Chapman for a 76 yard TD.
While big plays kept Richland in it, the second half was a different story. The defense, shaking off some of the rust that had accumulated during the offseason, started to get physical. Skyline fumbled on third down, and it took three plays for Chapman to chalk up another TD catch from 36 yards out. 21-14, RHS. Skyline was still in the game, and began taking the ball down the field like they did in the first half, but were cut short when junior safety Ryan Piper intercepted a pass. This is when Skyline started to fall apart.
Richland kicked a field goal and junior LB Victor Strasser ended another short SHS drive with an interception, nearly returning it for a touchdown. It took one play for Parker McCary to follow his blockers into the endzone to make it 31-14. The kickoff was returned for short yardage by Skyline's starting running back, who he was injured on the play and wouldn't play again. Another fumble gave Richland the ball, and they capitalized when Ben Stanfield saw daylight on the left side of the line, escaped a diving grab by one defender, and sprinted untouched 55 yards to the endzone. 38-14.
Skyline played like a defeated team from then on, eventually scoring two more touchdowns while the Bomber starters rested. The starters that stayed in the game did their best to prevent it, coming up with two more interceptions by Chapman and returning starter William Harshaw-McDonald. The final score, 38-27, looks closer than it was, with the second half going to a decisively dominant Bomber squad. Notable was the physical aspect of Richland's game, which Skyline didn't appear ready to handle.
A lot of credit has to go to the Spartan lineman, offense and defense, for battling tough against what looks to be a great crew of lineman from Richland. They stifled the Bomber run game in the first half and kept their quarterbacks relatively safe on the other side.
A key to the game was the difference in defensive intensity from the first half to the second half, which was obvious. The Richland line—Brigham Whitby, Jax Lee, Braden Powell, and Jacob Stanfield—stayed strong through the whole game, and a strong crew of linebackers—Strasser, McCary, Garret Guffey, and Isaac Lovato—proved they could fill the large hole left by the graduation of the MCC's best LBs last year. The secondary brushed up on their assignments and prevented big plays. There isn't a lot of glory in this part of the game, and these positions rarely get mentioned, but the heart and grit of RHS football starts here. It should be a great season.
Richland doesn't get to rest, though, because next Friday the Bombers travel to the Apple Bowl in Wenatchee to take on the Panthers. Wenatchee is coming off a week one loss to the Southridge Suns so it should be another great game between the MCC and the Big Nine.
Tri-City Herald: Bomber soar past Skyline
Tri-City Herald Prep Football Preview
The Tri-City Herald has been breaking down all of the local teams in preparation for the 2016 MCC season and today was Richland's turn.
Nice article by Dustin Brennan.
Tri-City Herald: Bombers eye another run
The season starts off tomorrow night at 7:00pm at Fran Rish Stadium with the Bombers taking on the Skyline Spartans. This should be a great game so please consider coming out and supporting the Richland Bombers.
Bombers No. 5 in Preseason Rankings
The Seattle Times has release their 2016 preseason power rankings and the Richland Bombers are ranked number five in the state.
The Bombers will be tested immediately when the second ranked Skyline Spartans come to Richland on September 2nd at 7:00pm.
Check out the rankings and see what you think.
Preseason top-10 rankings for 3A, 4A Washington state high school football
2016 Fall Practice Schedule
The 2015 Fall Practice Schedule has been released by Coach Mike Neidhold.
Download the Fall Practice Schedule
Most important: Thursday, August 11, 2016 is the Fall Sports Clearance night in the Richland High School cafeteria at 6:00PM.
First practice is on Wednesday, August 17th at 9:00AM.
First game is on Friday, September 2nd against perennial state power Skyline Spartans at Fran Rish Stadium at 7:00PM.