KENNEWICK – The Kennewick Lions are off the snide. The Sunnyside Grizzlies, however, are still in search of their first victory of the year.
Both, the host Lions and visiting Grizzlies brought 0-3 records into last night’s non-league football game. It didn’t take long, though, to figure out which team was going to chalk up its first ‘W’ of the season.
Kennewick bolted to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, thanks to a pair of touchdown tosses by QB Dyllan Tennancour. Any suspense as to the outcome quickly went by the wayside when Tennacour threw up two more touchdown passes in the second quarter.
Up 28-0, the Lions tacked on a 35-yard field goal with just 15 seconds remaining in the first half.
On the ensuing kick-off senior Jesus Magallan gathered in the pigskin on the Grizzly 2-yard line. He was then off to the races, sprinting 98 yards for a score to erase the goose egg on Sunnyside’s side of the scoreboard. A successful point-after kick by Thomas Waywell drew the Grizzlies to within 31-7.
Sunnyside Coach Mark Marro said Magallan got a few key blocks from his teammates on the return, but it was the senior who turned the runback into a dazzling play.
“Jesus actually worked his way across the field, which he probably shouldn’t have done. But he was able to avoid four tacklers and then just out ran them. It wasn’t like he hit a crease and went. It turned out to be a great return,” Marro said.
Neither club could get much of anything going early on in the second half. That is, until Tennancour threw his fifth TD pass of the game, with just 16 seconds showing on the third-quarter clock.
That final touchdown throw went to Brock Sittman, which gave the Kennewick wideout four TD catches on the night.
For Tennancour, he finished Thursday evening’s game with 209 passing yards on a 12-for-17 performance.
Marro said the Grizzlies had trouble with both Kennewick’s speed and height. On several occasions one of Tennancour’s receivers, a 6’2” wideout, was being covered by a 5’7” defensive back.
“The receiver would run to the corner and just out jump us for the ball,” Marro said.
It didn’t help Sunnyside’s chances in defending the pass when a couple of its defensive backs sustained injuries early on last night, and had to be replaced by inexperienced players.
The Lions’ offensive attack was also paced by Dwight Norwood. The running back netted 132 rushing yards on 21 carries. Overall for the game, Kennewick totaled 194 yards on the ground.
In contrast, Sunnyside tallied 123 rushing yards and managed just 68 yards via the pass.
The Grizzlies’ two leading ground-pounders were Magallan and fellow senior Marcus Sanchez, who totaled 83 and 81 rushing yards, respectively.
Through the air, sophomore QB Anthony Herrera connected with his receivers on eight passes, throwing the ball up a total of 14 times. Herrera’s favorite target proved to be Sunnyside senior Oswaldo Valdez, who had four receptions for 58 yards, one of those catches good for a TD.
For the young and inexperienced Herrera, last night’s game was the first of four this season he didn’t get picked. His 8-for-14 passing stats also were a season best.
“We tried running some offensive sets that would give Anthony more protection,” said Marro.
The SHS coach said Herrera’s first reads were downfield, but feeling pressure he often went to his dump-off passes.
“Once Anthony watches the film, I think he’ll see he had more time than he thought he had.
“With more experience on the field he’s going to get better with that clock in his head.
“Anthony is definitely progressing well,” Marro said.
Following Tennacour’s fifth and final touchdown toss of the night, the Lions added an insurance TD on a 2-yard plunge by Raymond Gutierrez. That dive into the end zone, coming with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game, put Kennewick up by a 45-7 score.
Sunnyside accounted for the final 45-21 score with a pair of garbage time touchdowns…the first on a 7-yard TD pass from Herrera to Valdez, the second on a 36-yard breakaway run by Magallan.
The Grizzlies’ next chance to break into the win column comes Friday, Oct. 4, during Sunnyside’s homecoming festivities. Their opponent that night will be the Hanford Falcons, who are taking a 1-2 record into tonight’s game against Walla Walla, another 1-2 club.
“Hanford has had a couple of tough opponents this year already in Southridge and Kamiakin,” said Marro. “Hanford is big and physical.
“They run a spread offensive and a 3-4 defense.
“No, they aren’t a marshmallow. We’ll have our work cut out for us,” Marro said. He added that the Grizzlies are optimistic, though, based on the close encounters the two teams have had the last 10 years.
“Most of those games have been right down to the wire, decided by a point or two.
“But first, we need to heal up.
“Then, hopefully, that homecoming excitement will rub off on our guys,” he added.