Chiawana wins first title in wild final minute

Staff writerDecember 8, 2013 

In a state football championship game with more twists, turns and nail-biting than you can imagine, Chiawana High School was more than ecstatic to see how this one ended. …

… In an unbelievable, come-from-behind victory.

The No. 4 Riverhawks of Pasco scored two touchdowns in the final 55 seconds — capped by Joey Zamora’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Blake Bishop in the back right corner of the end zone as time ran out — to shock No. 1 Camas, 27-26, and win its first Class 4A state title Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.

Zamora’s touchdown pass tied the score, and Matt Winn made the PAT to send the Riverhawks into a storm-the-field frenzy.

“At Chiawana we never give up,” Zamora said. “We pride ourselves on that.”

The win gave Chiawana coach Steve Graff his fourth state title. He won three at Pasco (1998, 2000, 2003) and became just the second coach in state history to lead two large-classification schools to a state championship. Tom Ingles did it with Liberty of Issaquah in 1988 and Kentwood in 2001-02.

Camas (13-1) — the state’s top-scoring program at 56 points per game — had erased a halftime deficit to take a 26-13 lead.

On Camas’ first series of the second half, quarterback Reilly Hennessey threw to Nate Beasley along the left sideline. He ran 74 yards for a touchdown, and Camas cut it to 13-12 at the 11:07 mark.

On its first drive of the half, Chiawana (13-1) elected to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Camas 34. Running back Clifton Lozano was stopped short of the first down with 8:42 to go in the third quarter.

While Chiawana failed on fourth down, Camas struck gold. Going for it on fourth-and-8, Hennessey hit Slav Mikhalets in stride in the middle of the field, and he went 33 yards for a score.

Four minutes later, Beasley got loose on a 44-yard touchdown scamper, but the Papermakers never could land the knockout blow. Chiawana made them pay on Zamora’s 57-yard touchdown strike to Dre Dorton with 55 seconds remaining to cut it to 26-20.

Lining up for an onside kick, Winn’s dribbler off the tee took two high bounces. Deion Singleton went up over everybody to pull it down, giving Chiawana the ball at the Camas 43 with 51 seconds remaining.

Zamora hit Bishop on a 24-yard pass. And after a pass-interference penalty gave Chiawana the ball at the Camas 9, Zamora rumbled for a 5-yard gain on a third-and-inches play.

He immediately got his offense to the line of scrimmage and spiked the ball with 5 seconds to go.

On the last play, Zamora rolled to his right. He almost slipped. Bishop got free along the back end of the end zone, and the senior quarterback threw it right near his shoulders to set up the winning extra point.

“I saw (Bishop),” Zamora said. “I just threw the ball. I wasn’t thinking. It was like it was in slow motion.”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@

Staff writer TJ Cotterill contributed to this report

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