MOSES LAKE — Before the season, Moses Lake head coach Todd Griffith explained how he needed to insert a special protection against Hunter Cruz just so his offense could function during practice.
Hanford head coach Brett Jay might have wanted to compare notes after Friday’s game.
Cruz sacked Hanford quarterback Garrett Horner three times and Moses Lake’s defense allowed no points in a 31-7 victory.
“We have almost all returning defenders so we were feeling good defensively coming into the game and we came out, we did our job and we shut them down,” linebacker David Hersch said.
Moses Lake erased a Hanford offense that put up 41 points against Davis in Week 1.
And they did it all while the offense took about a quarter before it started to hum.
Brandon Griffith threw two first-quarter interceptions, one of which was returned by Dmitri Kennedy-Woody 40 yards for a touchdown.
“We had opportunities this week in the first quarter and we can’t capitalize,” head coach Todd Griffith said. “It’s frustrating as an offensive guy, but luckily our defense is keeping us in and not letting things get out of hand and then when we’re playing bad they stepped it up.”
The Chiefs grabbed the lead for good with a sharp second quarter and scored 31 unanswered points despite losing the turnover margin 3-1.
“When we were giving them up, except for the touchdown, we were playing on their end,” Griffith said. “We were moving the ball, getting the ball down there and then we were putting it up. Like I said, the defense put us in a lot of good spots.”
Rodney Fuchs and Dominic Signorelli combined on the ground to work Moses Lake inside Hanford’s five yard line mid-way through the second quarter. Fuchs eventually barreled into the end zone for a three-yard touchdown to give Moses Lake the lead for good.
The defense forced a three-and-out by the Falcons and Griffith promptly hit a streaking Kyler Haneberg for a 52-yard touchdown.
Moses Lake opened the second half with a lengthy drive that ended with a diving eight-yard touchdown reception by Dalenh Anderson.
Brandon Swett punctuated Moses Lake’s run with a 19-yard scamper into the end zone with under nine minutes to play.
The big lead allowed the front seven of the Chiefs to pressure Horner with impunity.
“Our D-line all-around played great and it made it easier on our DBs (defensive backs) and our linebackers,” Hersch said. “This win goes out to our D-line. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Score by quarters
ML — 0 17 7 7 31
H — 7 0 0 0 7
H — Kennedy-Woody 40 interception return (Fraga kick)
ML — Skeesick 30 field goal
ML — Fuchs 3 run (Skeesick kick)
ML — Haneberg 52 pass from Griffith (Skeesick kick)
ML — Anderson 8 pass from Griffith (Skeesick kick)
ML — Swett 19 run (Skeesick kick)
Ephrata 32, Chelan 13
CHELAN — Ephrata improved to 2-0 after trouncing Chelan 32-13.
The Tigers trailed 3-0 after one quarter, but outscored the Goats 32-10 over the next three.
Quarterback Zac Berryman showcased his dual threat ability with 182 yards passing, 131 yards rushing and five total touchdowns.
Chris Walker caught seven balls — three for touchdowns — and racked up 115 yards.
Score by quarters
E — 0 12 13 7 32
C — 3 3 7 0 13
Soap Lake 46, Waterville 0
WATERVILLE — Klayten Northup threw three touchdown passes and Soap Lake routed Waterville 46-0.
The Eagles led 33-0 at halftime.
Joey Babak totaled 60 yards on the ground, 40 from a touchdown run. Deezy Bentley returned the second half kick off 85 yards for a score and also caught four passes for 80 yards.
Score by quarters
WV — 0 0 0 0 0
SL — 14 19 13 0 46
Almira/Coulee-Hartline 48, Cusick 6
COULEE CITY —Maguire Isaak totaled four touchdowns and Almira/Coulee-Hartline cruised by Cusick 48-6.
Isaak connected with Parker Zappone for two passing touchdowns and four Payton Nielsen for another.
Almira/Coulee-Hartline 3, Columbia 0
HUNTERS — Almira/Coulee-Hartline made swift work of Columbia 25-10, 25-12, 25-3.
The Warriors were especially strong serving. Ashley Mitchell and Josie Pierce had six aces each.
Mikayla Rushton totaled a team-high six kills.
Cascade 3, Ephrata 0
PESHASTIN — Ephrata fell on the road to 2016 state semifinalist Cascade 3-0.
Ephrata travels to East Valley on Tuesday.