Walla Walla High School’s football team has a short week to prepare for its next game, at Mid-Columbia Conference matchup with second-place Kennewick on Thursday with the kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Lampson Stadium.
Wa-Hi (3-3 in the MCC) looks to bounce back from a bitter 37-27 loss to Kamiakin last week with the Wa-Hi homecoming at Borleske Stadium.
The Blue Devils had been up on Kamiakin by as much as 20-9, but saw the lead disappear in the second half — much like their 28-25 loss at Hanford the second week of this season.
“We’ve had lots of heads down,” Blue Devils coach Greg Lupfer said after practice Tuesday. “They were upset about it. They know we’ve let two games slip away from us. We could very well be 5-1. They’re not happy about it. But like we’ve been doing every week this season, we’ve put it to bed and we’ve moved on.
“Now we’ve got a short week, so we’re keeping it simple and trying to perform our best on Thursday.”
Kennewick is looking for its fifth straight win after crushing Pasco in a 55-20 rout last week at Edgar Brown Stadium.
The winning streak includes a 42-18 demolition of Kamiakin on Sept. 27.
Kennewick features a multi-pronged attack.
Running backs Myles Mayovsky and Ethan Wooley both average more than five yards per carry.
Meanwhile, quarterback Blaine Chavez has thrown for 1,242 yards and 13 touchdowns on 71-of-135 (.526) passing against his seven interceptions.
The Blue Devil secondary will have its hands full covering the 6-foot-2 Simeon Howard (14 receptions for 291 yards and five TDs), the 6-1 Max Mayer (20 catches for 272 and three TDs) and 6-foot Elijah Tanner (11-312-1).
“They are very big and very physical,” Lupfer said. “They are a very good football team, and their coach Randy Affholter has done a really good job. It’ll be a tough test for us. We’re about to find out if we can play a real physical game.”
Much like Luper with Wa-Hi here, Affholter is in his first season at Kennewick after 22 at Ellensburg High.
Prior to Ellensburg, Affholter coached here at when Walla Walla Community College still had a football program — and Lupfer (Dayton High, Class of 1998) played for him as a Warrior in 1989 and 1990.
Now two-thirds of the way through this season, Lupfer and the Blue Devils want to finish their first season together strong.
“To be honest, I think we have a lot of overachievers,” Lupfer said. “I don’t mean to take anything away from these kids. It’s just that when you just look at a lot of the guys we have, they might not strike you as much athletically. A lot of people didn’t expect much out of them at the beginning of this season. But they’ve been working hard, and they take pride in what they do.
“I honestly saw that I couldn’t ask for a better group of young kids,” Lupfer said. “We just want to keep on pushing ourselves,” Lupfer said. “I think it’s going to be interesting to see how we do these last few weeks.”