KENNEWICK, WA – In a battle between Gonzaga Prep’s onslaught on Kamiakin’s air show, visiting Bullpups’ Lilomaiava Mikaele and teammates emerged victorious.
Mikaele rushed 30 times for 190 yards and three touchdowns. No. 10 seed Gonzaga Prep beat the No. 10 seed. 7 Kamiakin, 40-27, at Lampson Stadium Saturday,
The win set the stage for Gonzaga Reserves (9-2 overall) to face the No. 2 team in the quarterfinals. 2 Lake Stevens next weekend.
Last season, the Steven Lakes beat the Bullpups 35-14 in the 4A quarterfinals.
“It’s been great,” Gonzaga Prep coach Dave McKenna said. “It’s a good feeling. They have such a good football team. But for us, it’s all about the players up front.”
Overall, Gonzaga Prep rushed 65 times for 296 yards.
This helps take the ball away from the powerful Kamiakin offensive unit.
“Their offense was tough to defend, even though we got there early,” Kamiakin coach Scott Biglin said. “It just wears you down.”
Offensively, the Warriors are still able to get the ball in the air.
Kamiakin quarterback Carter Poland completed 27 of 48 passes for 374 yards.
Catchers Gavyn Buchanan (eight catches, 129 yards) and David Kuku (nine catches, 124 yards) had monster games for Kamiakin.
Bullpups are able to keep the Warriors’ offense going when needed.
“Credit to HT Higgins,” McKenna said. “He’s our defensive coordinator. When we do what the coach tells us, we do a good job.”
Mikaele was equally impressed.
“It’s been great watching my defense step up,” Mikaele said. “They’re getting better every week.”
Gonzaga Reserves trailed 12-0 early in the game.
However, the Bulldogs bounced back and took a 13-12 lead entering the half. Early in the third quarter, the Prep’s William Alexander-Durr knocked Poland down with a 38-yard touchdown catch to give the Prep a 20-12 lead.
The Braves responded late in the third quarter when Devon Crow scored on a 4-yard run and then added a two-point run conversion. Suddenly, it was tied 20-20.
But Gonzaga Prep continued to use its run game to weaken the Kamiakin defense.
The Bullpups scored two missed touchdowns on touchdown drives by Noah Holman (1 yard) and Mikaele (3 yards), giving them plenty of breathing room.
Kamiakin tried to respond as Poland advanced 99 yards on an efficient 2-minute drill with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Tahir and Gonzaga with 2:38 left. Prep’s lead narrowed to 34-27.
But it was Mikaele who gave the Bullpups breathing room again, slamming the football on the ground until he found the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown run to seal the win with a minute left.
For Kamiakin, the young team finished the season with an 8-3 record.
“If you saw us at team training camp last summer, if you told us we were going to be in the first round of the state playoffs, we wouldn’t have believed it,” Biggreen said.