Walla Walla High School’s football team looks for better results as it returns to Fran Rish Stadium this week.

The Blue Devils last went there on September’s Friday the 13th, with momentum from an exciting 36-17 season-opening victory over Southridge at Borleske Stadium the previous week. 

But at Fran Rish, the Blues Devils and Hanford traded leads six times in a back-and-forth thriller that finished with Wa-Hi on the bottom end of a 28-25 score.

The Blue Devils go back to the Fran Rish gridiron fresh off a 14-3 win at Hermiston last week, and this time, they will take on Richland in a pivotal Mid-Columbia Conference clash Friday night starting at 7 p.m.

Blue Devils coach Greg Lupfer looks forward to taking another shot at getting a win there.

“No hard feelings towards the stadium,” Lupfer said. “I’m not mad at the stadium. It’s a fine stadium. It’s where we’re scheduled to play, so let’s see how we can do this time.”

Walla Walla-Richland will one of two MCC matchups Friday between 4A teams, the other being Hanford at Chiawana.

The other 4A team, Pasco, will be at Kamiakin.

Approaching the midway point of the season, Chiawana and Pasco top the MCC’s 4A standings. This year, only the top two have a shot at advancing to state.

But at this point, Lupfer and the Blue Devils (2-2 record) have ignored the playoff picture.

“We’re just worried about what we’re doing,” Lupfer said. “I’m not looking at playoff stats or anything like that. Our only concern is today’s practice, and then tomorrow’s practice. And then tomorrow, we’re only thinking about that day’s practice. You see what I’m getting at?”

Richland is coming off a 16-14 loss at Pasco last week.

The Bombers (2-2 overall, 1-2 in the MCC) join Wa-Hi among the league’s best rated defenses, along with Chiawana and Kennewick, after four weeks.

Meanwhile, the Bombers feature an effective pass-happy offense.

Richland quarterback Harrison Westover tops the MCC in pass attempts, completing 86 of 144 (.597) for 970 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Ben Fewel leads the MCC in all-purpose yards with 622, all but two via his 45 receptions including six TDs.

The Blue Devils expect to have their hands full, like they did going into Hermiston last week.

But the Blue Devils overcame the odds, and wound up crashing the Hermiston homecoming.

Lupfer would like to see it happen again.

“They’re a good team,” Lupfer said. “They’re extremely athletic. We’ll be outsized up front at the line of scrimmage again. This’ll be a good challenge for us, to see if we can stand up and play a team like Richland.”

Hector writes stories about local sports, helps produce the daily section and updates the web site. A lifelong sports nut having grown up in Maryland, he joined the U-B with more than 15 years experience in journalism.