KENNEWICK — The Skyview football players shook hands, shared hugs, consoled one another. Then a few seniors talked about what it all meant, now that their high school careers had ended.
“It shows you a brotherhood, how serious it is, how far you can go if you stay as one,” Jeremiah Wright said. “It changed my life. Believe it.”
“Skyview football made me more of a man,” Skyler Martin said. “A better football player, and a better person.”
There was not much else for the Storm to say about the game Saturday at Lampson Stadium. This Class 4A state semifinal game belonged to Richland.
The Bombers scored four plays into the game, then added three more first-half touchdowns on the way to a 35-7 victory over Skyview. Richland (13-0) will face Camas (13-0) for the state championship next week in the Tacoma Dome.
Skyview finished 9-4, with its third trip to the semifinals in program history.
“I told them I’m just really proud of the effort this year,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said of his players. “When things looked so bad, when we were 1-2 and then 3-3, these guys didn’t blink. They practiced hard every day, and their attitudes were great.”
The Storm won six consecutive games to reach the semifinals.
Then it came undone against the Bombers.
“I thought we’d have a little better game than this one,” Kizer said. “Give them some credit. They’re a good team. They’re solid.”
Ben Stanfield rushed for 124 yards and scored the game’s first touchdown less than two minutes into the game. He got the call four consecutive plays, rolling up 55 yards, including a 37-yarder for a 7-0 lead.
“The coaches are pretty confident in our O-line,” Stanfield said. “All I had to do was read the hole.”
After a Skyview punt, the Bombers went 80 yards on four plays again, this time scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run from Parker McCary.
The Storm would respond two plays later when Brody Barnum found Dyvon Green on a screen pass that broke for a 70-yard touchdown.
Skyview got the ball back, trailing 14-7. The Storm thought they had a first down in the red zone, too, but a penalty called back a long gain. That turned into the story of the day for Skyview — bad fortune. Penalties, turnovers, and a miscue on special teams just piled on the Storm.
“We shot ourselves in the foot. And they just came to play,” Martin said.
“We played our hearts out. Just didn’t go in our favor,” Wright added.
Richland quarterback Paxton Stevens hit Gaven Brasker for a 36-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter for a 21-7 lead.
Skyview punted on its next possession, and it went awry when the ball hit Skyview’s protect man. The “blocked” punt set up Richland on the 23-yard line. The next play, Stevens found Brasker again for a 28-7 lead.
“We just couldn’t move the ball like we wanted to,” Barnum said. “They were very physical all across the board. And a few crucial mistakes cost us.”
Brigham Whitby, a standout defensive lineman, had one of his team’s two interceptions, reading a screen pass to make the play. He also had a sack and was all over the field, helping to hold the Storm to one touchdown.
“We just had to swarm to the ball. That’s what we do best,” Whitby said. “We saw how fast they were. Everyone had to do their part.”
The Storm, who were held to 16 yards rushing in the first half, did not have much success in the second half, either. They did get inside the Richland 10-yard line, still down 21 in the third quarter. But the Richland pass rush forced errant passes on back-to-back plays and a fourth-down pass went incomplete.
The Bombers would add their fifth touchdown after a Skyview fumble in the fourth quarter, with McCary cashing in on a 4-yard run.
McCary finished with 63 yards on 12 carries. Stevens was 6 for 11 for 164 yards and his two touchdown passes.
Barnum went 22 for 47 for 242 yards. Cole Grossman caught nine passes for 66 yards for Skyview.
The Storm will try to forget this one and look at the bigger picture.
“The legacy of coming in as a freshman and knowing the work you have to put in to get where the team before you has been,” Barnum said. “I hope we can pass that legacy on to the younger guys and they can go farther than us.”
RICHLAND 35, SKYVIEW 7
Skyview 7 0 0 0—7
Richland 14 14 0 7—35
R — Ben Stanfield 37 run (Adam Weissenfels kick)
R — Parker McCary 2 run (Weissenfels kick)
S — Dyvon Green 70 pass from Brody Barnum (Wyatt Stallman kick)
R — Gaven Brasker 36 pass from Paxton Stevens (Weissenfels kick)
R — Brasker 23 pass from Stevens (Weissenfels kick)
R — McCary 4 run (Weissenfels kick)
RUSHING — Skyview: Green 14-50, Barnum 8-(minus 5), Hayden Froeber 1-2, Angelo Sarchi 1-1, James Millspaugh 3-19. Richland: Stanfield 17-124, McCary 12-63, Stevens 3-16, Victor Strasser 2-10, Tyler Fishback 2-4, Jared Whitby 1-6, Tsega MacDuff 1-7, Soren Baney 1-6, Team 1-(minus 13).
PASSING — Skyview: Barnum 22-47-2-242. Richland: Stevens 6-11-0-164.
RECEIVING — Skyview: Jayden Chatman 2-31, Cole Grossman 9-66, Green 1-70, Jeremiah Wright 4-30, Travis Yajko 6-45. Richland: Alex Chapman 1-66, Brasker 2-59, Weissenfels 2-42, Stanfield 1-(minus 3).