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Sports >  High school sports

Gonzaga Prep shows seed doesn’t matter; romps to 56-7 first-round win over Moses Lake

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 12, 2021

Gonzaga Prep has been ranked in the top three of the state media poll and in the top five in the WIAA’s RPI ratings all season long.

So when the Bullpups (11-0) received the No. 6 seed to the State 4A playoffs last Sunday, some folks were left scratching their heads.

Friday night they showed what they thought of the polls – even if they didn’t come out and say it.

Ryan McKenna carried nine times for 90 yards with a touchdown, returned a kickoff 90 yards for another score and host Gonzaga Prep beat No. 11 Moses Lake (7-4) 56-7 to advance to a 4A quarterfinal next week.

The opponent will be the winner of Saturday’s first-round matchup between third-seeded Lake Stevens and No. 14 Richland.

The Bullpups’ emphatic win made a statement unto itself.

“Seeding doesn’t matter to us,” McKenna said. “We’re coming out to play every week. It doesn’t matter where we are. We’re gonna come out and we’re gonna play our game.”

That game includes plenty of rushing attempts and a stout defense. G-Prep rushed 41 times for 359 yards and six touchdowns with scores on a fumble return and kickoff return.

“We’re gonna play whoever is next up,” G-Prep coach Dave McKenna said. “That’s what we’re going to do. Wherever it is, we’re gonna go and give our best effort.”

“You take everything you get,” defensive lineman Ephraim Watkins said. “Do I think we could be a higher seed? Absolutely. But do I care at this point? No.”

“Prep’s always been an underdog,” linebacker Luciano Reynolds said. “We just go out and play. We don’t care what seed we are, we just go and have fun.”

On its first drive, Moses Lake faced fourth-and-5 at midfield and went for it.

Quarterback Brock Clark was stopped after a 2-yard gain and the Chiefs turned it over on downs.

G-Prep moved into Moses Lake territory. McKenna picked up a fourth-and-4 at the 22-yard line, then Matteo Saccomanno (12 carries, 85 yards) burst over left tackle for 15 yards into the end zone for a 7-0 lead 5 minutes in.

Moses Lake fumbled on its next play from scrimmage and Reynolds scooped it and went 39 yards for a score and a two-touchdown advantage.

“A lot of green out there,” Reynolds said. “You know, a big dude missed it. I just picked it up and did my thing.”

After another stop on fourth down, Nick Bankey took a pitch 48 yards to the Moses Lake 25. Two plays later, Lilomaiva Mikaele broke tackles through the line and went 23 yards for the Bullpups’ third touchdown and G-Prep led 21-0 at the end of one quarter.

The Chiefs put together a 10-play drive, capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Clark to Kyson Thomas on a fade to the left corner, to get on the board.

But McKenna took the kickoff at the 10 and streaked down the sideline for another G-Prep touchdown and 28-7 lead.

“It was blocked perfectly,” he said. “I can’t ask for much, I didn’t even get touched so it was awesome.”

The Bullpups’ defense forced a punt and on first down at the 35.

McKenna burst up the middle for 54 yards to the Chiefs 21.

Four plays later, he went off-tackle for a 5-yard TD run and 35-7 lead.

“(Moses Lake) won their conference and they are really good ballclub,” Dave McKenna said. “Our kids practiced well all week. That’s where it starts and then, you know, it transformed into a great ‘W’ tonight.”

Moses Lake tried a fake punt from its 14 and the pass went incomplete. On the next play, Bankey took the pitch left and scampered into the end zone to put the Bullpups up 42-7.

Gonzaga Prep got the ball at the start of the third quarter and went 65 yards in 12 plays, culminated by Saccomanno’s 1-yard plunge, to start the running clock.

“Obviously, we wish we would have gotten the higher seed,” G-Prep defensive end Kaz Melzer said. “But I think that type of performance proves that. We feel good about it, just one week at a time keep getting these ‘Ws.’”

“We came out and we had a sense of urgency about us,” Watkins said, acknowledging fellow seniors McKenna and Melzer. “We didn’t want to lose our last game here and we want to move on.”

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