If Richland wants to be the politically incorrect Bombers, the Big Nine visitors certainly earned that right Tuesday night.
Jared Mitchell hit his first nine passes, threw an interception just before halftime, then hit five more to spark the Bombers to a 42-6 bombing of Shadle Park at Central Valley’s Sig T. Hansen Field in the qualifying round of the State AAA football playoffs.
“They just can’t cover our offense with their defense,” Mitchell said. “We just wanted to take what they would give us out there. I didn’t do anything special, they were just open.”
Wide open, to be more precise.
Shadle controlled the ball for the first 4 minutes, 35 seconds of the game before punting. Then the Bombers went 83 yards in seven plays, using just 3:09. The last 38 yards came on a bomb, Mitchell connecting with Joshua Jelmberg down the left sideline.
Shadle then used up the last 4:16 of the first quarter before punting, and Mitchell took the Bombers 63 yards in six plays and 2:35. This time Aaron Richardson hauled in the 26-yard scoring pass down the left sideline.
The Highlanders were forced to punt again, but on Richland’s first play Ken Lauritzen recovered a Casey Metz fumble on the 26. Shadle Park cashed in on Tim Snell’s 3-yard run, but not until after Nick Bender made a diving fingertip catch of a Kris Walters pass for 22 yards.
Mitchell responded by marching the Bombers 61 yards in eight plays, using up 3:06 because standout linebacker Jeff Lidey had a pair of 2-yard runs to cap the drive.
Only Mitchell’s errant pass to Walters in the final minute of the first half kept the score close. However, the third quarter was just 1:10 old when the score became 28-6 as the Bombers went 80 yards in four plays, capped by a Mitchell-to-Jelmberg 12 yarder. It was started by a Metz catch over the middle that was turned into a 48-yard gain.
Shadle fumbled the ball away at midfield and it took Richland 1:57 and five plays to go 54 yards, Mitchell hitting Brice Rae for the final 22.
“They just outplayed us in every way. They played a whale of a game,” Shadle Park coach Mark Hester said. “They took us out of what we like to do… . It kind of steamrolled on us. We made a couple of mistakes on offense early; maybe if we get momentum, it’s a different game.”
Mitchell finished 17 of 24 for 288 yards, usually enjoying plenty of time to throw because of great play-action fakes. Joel Lechett rushed for 123 yards in the second half, including a 42-yard scamper to end the scoring. Meanwhile, the Highlanders tried 41 rushes for 108 yards and their quarterbacks were 8-of-21 passing for 84 yards and three second-half interceptions.
“We just adjusted to their good plays,” Lidey said. “We had a few defensive breakdowns. Their touchdown they got, they earned that one. This was one of our best defensive games of the year. We’re playing to our potential.”
Richland (8-2) plays top-ranked Kamiakin at Lampson Stadium at 3 p.m. Saturday after the two schools meet in the quarterfinals of the girls state soccer tournament.
Shadle Park finished 6-4.
“The seniors had a great year but that’s a tough way to end the season,” Hester said of Shadle’s first playoff appearance since reaching the semifinals in 1991. “It was a great year.”
Richland 42, Shadle Park 6
Richland 7 14 14 7 -42
Shadle Park 0 6 0 0 -6
R-Jelmberg 38 pass from Mitchell (May kick) R-Richardson 26 pass from Mitchell (May kick) SP-Snell 3 run (kick failed) R-Lidey 2 run (May kick) R-Jelmberg 12 pass from Mitchell (May kick) R-Rae 22 pass from Mitchell (May kick) R-Lechett 42 run (May kick) R SP First downs 20 12 Rushes-yards 32-190 41-108 Passing yards 288 84 Return yards 103 22 Passes 24-17-2 21-8-3 Punts-avg. 2-33.5 5-37.8 Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1 Penalties-yards 8-83 3-35
RUSHING Richland: Lechett 13-126, Metz 9-28, Stephenson 3-26, Mitchell 5-6, Lidey 2-4. Shadle Park: Lafferty 16-50, Snell 9-44, Bender 6-24, Walters 7-13, Ryan 3-3.
PASSING Richland: Mitchell 17-24-2-288. Shadle Park: Walters 5-17-3-64, Ryan 3-4-0-20.
RECEIVING Richland: Richardson 5-96, Jelmberg 6-74, Rae 3-49, Metz 1-48, Knutson 2-21. Shadle Park: Pate 2-37, Bender 1-22, Mohr 1-11, Johnson 1-8, Snell 2-4, Lafferty 1-2.