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Introducing the RIVERHAWK REVIEW (9/5) Richland @ CHS (9/19) CHS @ Walla Walla (10/17)
CHS @ Camas (9/5) CHS @ Southridge (9/25) Kennewick @ CHS (10/24)
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11/7 vs LEWIS AND CLARK (Spokane)
Riverhawks 24, Tigers 0

11/15 vs A.C. DAVIS (Yakima)
Riverhawks 47, Pirates 7

11/22 vs GONZAGA PREP (Spokane)
Riverhawks 38, Bullpups 3

11/29 vs GRAHAM-KAPOWSIN (Graham)
Riverhawks 28, Eagles 12

12/6 vs The Bothell Cougars
Tacoma Dome - 7:30 pm

Saturday, September 27, 2014

9/25 - Southridge Suns Are Eclipsed By The Charging Chiawana Riverhawks

Photo courtesy of Jodie Wilson

September 25, 2014 - KENNEWICK, WASH. - A hint of Fall is in the dry desert air tonight as the Chiawana Riverhawks (3-1) expect to dominate the Southridge Suns (0-4) at Neil F. Lampson Stadium. The Suns continue to struggle as the 'Hawks continue to dazzle. Although there are no "easy games," this one should prove to be more of an opportunity to work on skills and packages than a head-on challenge. Of course, that is why we play the game, and the tale is told here.

Chiawana begins play at their own 31. The Suns are playing run, as they stuff a couple of attempts. The next play is an incomplete roll-out pass. On 4th down at the 25, the 'Hawks are forced to punt. A nice 46-yarder puts Southridge at their own 24.

Southridge opts to start with a pass play, which is immediately picked. The first of many penalty flags comes out, though it is declined. Chiawana has possession of the ball at the 15 of Southridge.

The first play is a pass, which falls incomplete. A screen pass for a loss, then a short run keeps the Riverhawks out of the end zone. Not to be deterred, the mighty 'Hawks make do with a 25-yard field goal to get on the board first with 8:38 left in the quarter.

The Suns start off pinned back at their own 8. A couple of ineffective runs, and an incomplete pass force the punt situation. The ensuing run puts Chiawana in great position at the Southridge 20. A QB keeper picks up ten and a first. A short pass and a couple of runs bring up 4th and goal at the 5. Chiawana takes a time out, and then makes a charge toward the end zone. The determined Sun squad stops the advance a yard short of the goal, and Southridge now has the ball on their own 1.

Three-and-out, starting with a bad snap. An ineffective pass and then run sets up the 4th down. A weak punt combined with a penalty puts the Chiawana team down at their 34.

A run and a swing pass lose a yard. An incomplete pass leads to a punt situation. Lining up for the punt, the crafty Riverhawks challenge with a fake, and run it for 18 and a first, just inside the Suns' territory. A run sets up the sweet touchdown pass. A good extra point puts the 'Hawks up 10-0 with 1:15 left.

Starting at their own 25, Southridge is met with a blitz on their first-down run play. A delay of game, and a couple of ineffective passes later lead to a 4th and 11.

End of 1st Quarter - Score: Riverhawks 10, Southridge 0 

Southridge punts from their own 24. Chiawana starts play at their own 38. A penalty saves the day for the Riverhawks, as an interception is reversed. Instead of a turnover, the ball is across midfield, to the Suns' 48 for a first down. Three consecutive pass plays lead to two dropped passes, and one completion for 8 yards. 4th down, and another fake punt, this time a pass for the first down at the 22. A couple of runs lead to a first down at the 12. Another pounding run picks up some yards. A fade to the tight end is too long, but a short pass on the next play sets up a first and goal at the 1. The tough Southridge line force two attempts, but the writing was on the wall. With the extra point, the score is 17-0, with 6:50 left in the half.

Beginning at their own 32, Southridge gains their first 1st down, with a 28-yard screen pass to the Riverhawk 30. After that, a stubborn Chiawana defense stifles any attempt at advancing the ball. The drive sputters, and Chiawana gets the ball back on downs.

The Riverhawks begin with an air assault. Two consecutive plays, two consecutive passes, two consecutive 1st downs. Their third play is a bruising off-tackle run for another 1st. A nice run is called back, but Chiawana is determined to make the run attack work. Facing a 1st and 20 from the 25, Chiawana goes to the ground-and-pound, and five plays later they hit pay dirt. The boot is good, and with 1:45 left, the score is 24-0.

The Suns start at their own 22. Three-and-out sets up a punt with no return. Chiawana start at their own 38. The first play is a pass, which is intercepted. The defensive player loses a handle on the ball after the pick, and the Riverhawks recover. Taking no chances, the 'Hawks kneel to end the half.

End of 2nd Quarter - Score: Riverhawks 24, Southridge 0 

Southridge gets the ball at their own 22. A holding penalty backs them up to the 11. A negative run, then a bad snap lead to a safety. The score is 26-0, with 10:54 left in the quarter.

The kickoff and a penalty puts the Riverhawks at their own 26. Undaunted, the mighty 'Hawks fire through the air, and 74 yards later they poke the pigskin through the pylons. Less than thirty seconds from their last score, Chiawana puts the score to 33-0, with 10:25 left.

The Suns begin play at their own 29. A penalty for leading with the helmet is against Chiawana, but combined with an unsportsmanlike penalty from Southridge, the result is a few yards of lost real estate for Southridge, and an ejection of one of their hot-headed players. First down and 15. Three negative yardage plays later, including a sack, brings up a fourth and 25. The boot puts the ball at the Chiawana 44.

Chiawana cracks the defensive line with a 15-yard run for a 1st down. After a nice run, a couple of pass plays amount to another dropped pass and an offensive interference penalty. On a third-and-nineteen from midfield, another pass play puts an ineligible man down field. The 'Hawks punt, putting the Suns on their own 10.

The Suns start with an incomplete pass, then a run back to the line of scrimmage. They pass on third down, and the opportunistic Riverhawk D snatches the ball out of mid-air for another interception. Starting at the Southridge 8, the relentless Riverhawks keep it on the ground to score again. With 4:07 left, the score is 40-0. Running clock is now in effect.

Southridge gets the ball back at their own 32. An ineffective series settles out with a 4th and 9 from the 33. After the punt, this is where Chiawana starts their possession. A short pass and run place the Riverhawks with a 3rd and 8, at the Suns' 31.

End of 3rd Quarter - Score: Riverhawks 40, Southridge 0 

Chiawana begins play in the fourth quarter on the Southridge 32, facing a 3rd down and 8. Not able to get anything going, Chiawana endures a sack, and then turns the ball over on downs. Southridge stays on the ground, and after a couple of runs, they break one off for their second 1st down of the contest. The drive is throttled by a ravaging Riverhawk rebuttal, however, and a punt puts the 'Hawks in position at the Southridge 47. From there, the Chiawana clean-up crew comes in and holds some practice with the Southridge squad until time runs out in the game.

Final Score: Riverhawks 40, Southridge 0
Next Week's Game - vs. Kamiakin (3-1) @ Chiawana (3-1) (Edgar Brown Stadium)

The Hawk Talker's Two Cents
While it is important to never overlook an opponent, it is also important to recognize the opportunities to work on specific plays, players, situations or designs while you have the chance. Going into this game, this is where my head was. I felt that Chiawana wouldn't be challenged in this contest. In a dominating scenario, my expectations were that the team would take advantage of the situation and work on whatever it is the coaches decide they need to work on. If, for some reason, the Suns miraculously began ripping us to shreds, then we have the fire power and skill to change plans.
What some people may have seen as a slow start from the gate for the Riverhawks I saw as purposeful play calling. A good team will make adjustments continually regarding players and their available roster, and it appeared that this is exactly what the coaches had in mind.
My interpretation of this element of the game is simple: "Offense = Control, Defense = Chaos." With each possession, the team had a job to do. Did it matter that they didn't have a touchdown on every play? Of course not. It allowed time for an offense to find its rhythm, which it did just fine.
The offense controlled the line and the movement of the football, and the defense kept the chaos to a level that shut down the Sun offense with authority. The defense held a high school varsity team to no points and what, like two first-downs? If that isn't a stellar performance, show me another. Using speed and swarming techniques, the eleven-man machine wore out the opposing offense pretty quickly. This is more and more the expectation of this air-tight crew.
Special teams offered up some variety tonight, with two fake punts, and over twenty different players on kickoff or kickoff return teams. Many folks will interpret a fake punt as just being "tricky," but in actuality tonight it was more of a very specific match-up situation. Given the two teams and their skill levels at key positions, it made sense to challenge the defense with a slight bit of trickery, spread the field, and then use your hard-hitting offense as a battering ram. If the play didn't work, no worries. The result would be Southridge ball around their 25 or so. Best case scenario is what happened. Again, sampling your options in a game like this only makes the team better, from my perspective.
There are a couple of areas to work on. A team of this caliber should not have so many dropped passes. At this level, I would expect that a mistake like that will open an opportunity for another player, especially if it is repeated. Not as punishment, but as a learning experience. It is absolutely rewarding for a key player to sit a game out as a spectator one time. They then have a perspective that they will never have otherwise, they have an opportunity to rally other players all game long on the sidelines, and they can reflect as to why they are on the sidelines in the first place.
Going forward, in a blowout I would expect to see more player rotation throughout the game, and earlier substitution of backup players. This helps keep the team healthy, and gives the backups valuable real-time experience. I don't anticipate that we will blow out Kamiakin, however. Their only loss was to Hermiston, perennial powerhouse yet again, and the game was respectable in a hard fought battle for the Braves. I anticipate that ours will be a great game, and that it will boil down to the least number of mistakes. A majority of the game is played between the ears, and this is sure to be a prime example of that. I expect that small things will matter in this contest (like arm tackling), and that "somebody needs to make a play" will be in effect several times in key situations. It is sometimes interesting to see who steps up and who doesn't. I can't wait to see who will shine in this game.

 Just my two cents. Please be sure to visit my sponsors. Thanks!

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 Hawk Talker is an enthusiastic fan of the Chiawana Riverhawks football team. His goal is to provide an accurate and honest review of each game in an effort to summarize the play of the team for others who may be interested. Please visit the links at the right of this page and participate in the poll when you have time. Thanks!

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