The Kennewick Lions’ magical run through the football postseason came to an end Saturday with a 35-6 loss at the hands of Lakes.
The state 3A quarterfinal loss in Lakewood ended a four-week run that saw the Lions having to beat Hanford in the final regular-season game to qualify for the playoffs; a big 34-32 regional road win in Spokane against then 8-2 Mt. Spokane; and a 20-13 first-round state tournament victory last weekend against Wilson of Tacoma.
For Kennewick coach Bill Templeton, he said his Lions have been feeling good this past month.
“We really had a lot of fun,” said Templeton.
The loss to Lakes ends Kennewick’s record at 6-6. The Lancers, who advance to play defending state champion Eastside Catholic next weekend in the semifinals, beat Kamiakin 53-34 last weekend at Lampson Stadium in the first round of state.
The Lancers were forced to punt early in the game.
“We came out and tried to play our game, but realized that they were a better team than we expected,” said senior running back Yisrael Stephens. “We came back and stopped them on defense. Our defense wouldn’t let them [score].”
Forcing the Lions’ Dillon Plew to throw an incomplete pass on 4th-and-5, the Lancers got the ball and the offense returned to the form that averages 47.5 points a game.
Andrew Bostic became the workhorse and carried the ball for several first downs. Then quarterback Jaiave Magalei tossed the ball to Chris Hunter for a 59 yard touchdown to go up 7-0.
Bostic ran the ball in from 15 yards out to make it 14-0 in the first, before Kennewick answered on the ensuing kickoff.
Kennewick’s lone touchdown came on an 86-yard kickoff return by Raymond Gutierrez, who had come on strong the last month for the Lions at running back.
That was it though. Lakes’ defense recovered one fumble and picked off three passes.
“First, they have some outstanding players and played well,” said Templeton. “We were in the Red Zone five times and didn’t score.”
“They’re big, they’re physical, and they’re fast,” Plew said. “We’d have to play a perfect game to beat them.”
The Lancers defense was aggressive, said Plew.
“They were disguising their blitzes really well,” he said. “They looked like they’d be in Cover 2 or man and at the last second they’d come up with blitzes. They did really good at disguising the blitzes.”
Kennewick trailed 28-6 at the half, but the Lions defensively fought back.
“Our defense shut them out in the second half until we threw an interception and they brought it back 40-plus yards to our 10,” said Templeton.
On the next play, Stephens scored on a 10-yard run for a 35-6 lead.
Templeton liked his defense’s play.
“We held (Magalei) in check for a good portion of the game,” said Templeton.
He felt the Lions had held standout Hunter in check too. So did Plew.
“We really stepped up defensively in the second half,” added Plew. “We forced them into six punts, and they turned the ball over on downs another time.”
Gutierrez finished with 100 yards rushing on 14 carries, while Plew threw for 181 yards on 17-for-34 passing.
L — Chris Hunter 60 pass from Jaiave Magalei (Kevin Lee kick)
L —Andrew Bostic 15 run (Lee kick)
K — Raymond Gutierrez 86 kickoff return (kick failed)
L — Israel Stephens 4 run (Lee kick)
L — J.Magalei 1 run (Lee kick)
L — Stephens 10 run (Lee kick)