“It was fun,” Simpkins said. “I mean, I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do to get the win. But if we’re gonna pass the ball, we’ve got guys out on the outside that can make plays, so I’ll get the ball to them.”

Chiawana’s senior running back Andrew Vargas — who entered the game leading the league in rushing yards (982) and touchdowns (13) — didn’t come near the 417-yard, four-touchdown performance from last week but still had a fine game, dashing for 167 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, which allowed Chiawana to hold on to the ball for more than 31 minutes.

Senior linebacker Caleb Weber came unblocked off the right edge on Hanford’s first play of the game from scrimmage to hit Falcons quarterback Garrett Horner and force an interception to Hayden Carrasco. The Riverhawks took advantage of the good field position by going 37 yards in four plays and cashing in on a short touchdown run by Vargas.

But the Falcons wouldn’t go away quietly in the early going, as they capitalized on some good field position of their own — queued up by a bad snap on a Chiawana punt — to answer back with a 24-yard touchdown strike from Horner to wide out Joe Gauthier midway through the first quarter.

Gauthier was by far Hanford’s top offensive weapon, as he also scored on a 76-yard catch-and-run late in the fourth quarter. He finished the night with three catches for 99 yards.

The Falcons did a nice job of keeping Vargas in check in the first half, as a 43-yard scamper — which would have been a 69-yard touchdown if not for a block-in-the-back penalty — was the only time the Chiawana workhorse was able to get loose.

Hanford

7

0

0

7

14

Chiawana

13

15

21

0

49

SCORING PLAYS

C — Andrew Vargas 3 run (Ryan Lowry kick)

H — Joe Gauthier 24 pass from Garrett Horner (Woody Page kick)

C — Troy Simpkins 1 run (kick failed)

C — Hayden Carrasco 10 pass from Simpkins (Josiah Richardson run)

C — Trent Simpkins 66 punt return (Lowry kick)

C — Vargas 9 run (Lowry kick)

C — AJ Vongphachanh 35 fumble return (Lowry kick)

C — Josiah Richardson 30 pass from Troy Simpkins (Lowry kick)

H — Gauthier 76 pass from Horner (Page kick)

STATISTICS

RUSHING — H, Tayvonne Miller 12-27; Drezdyn O’Daol 1-12; Horner 7-(minus 42). C, Vargas 26-167; Ethan Garcia 7-25; Enoch Vargas 2-17; Troy Simpkins 2-6.

PASSING — H, Horner 10-15-130-2. C, Troy Simpkins 11-15-137.

RECEIVING — H, Gauthier 3-99; Thomas Kitchens 1-20; Tayvonne Miller 2-7; Brady White 3-5. C, Josiah Richardson 3-45; Michael Sanchez 1-27; Trent Simpkins 4-24; Hayden Carrasco 2-24; Brayde Hiria 1-17.