September 19, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 22

Cheney conquers road woes to down Omak

Despite flat tires, hot weather, Blackhawks score 35 straight points to down Pioneers 42-6

The hardest aspects of last Saturday’s game at Omak for the Cheney High football team wasn’t on the field – it was on the road.

The road as in asphalt, lane striping and in the Blackhawks’ case, a pair of flat tires, one delaying their arrival at Omak’s Pioneer Field and the other that led to a very late arrival back home Saturday morning. In between were 48 minutes of a football game pretty much dominated by Cheney, scoring 35 straight points en route to a 42-6 win over the Pioneers of the 1A Caribou Trail League.

Cheney quarterback Andrew Graham threw touchdown passes to his brother Ty and RC Reed while rushing for a third. Reed also rushed for a touchdown, as did tailback Austin Kline and Cruz Galm capped things with a 90-yard kickoff return for TD after the Pioneers scored in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Jason Williams said his players did well to adjust to the adverse circumstances involved in getting to Omak. The team bus blew a tire about a mile from the field, and players weren’t allowed to leave the bus – which heated up well in the 90-degree afternoon – until a bus provided by Omak School District arrived, getting them to the field an hour before kickoff.

After the game as the team was leaving a second tire blew out at roughly the same spot along the road, this time damaging the rim. Williams said they swapped rims with Omak, and finally headed home, chalking up the adversity to the day being Friday, Sept. 13.

“Thank God there wasn’t any Friday the 13th on the field,” he added.

On the field the Blackhawks benefited from five Pioneers turnovers, three of which were fumbles. One came on the kickoff after Cheney’s first score, giving them the short field and quick 14-0 lead. Williams said none of the Omak muffs came cheaply.

“They were fumbles because they got hit hard, either on the exchange or on the kickoff,” he added.

Cheney moves to 2-0 on the season, and finally gets to take in some home cooking on a game night with its third straight non-league match up this Friday against 4A Idaho Lakeland at Tom Oswald Field. The Hawks come in at 1-1, getting their first win last week by beating Great Northern League title favorite East Valley 27-16.

Lakeland is becoming a familiar opponent for Cheney in more ways than one. Friday’s match-up marks the fourth time in five years the two schools have met, with the Blackhawks giving up 21 fourth-quarter points in last year’s 38-17 loss.

Add to that the fact Cheney players met up with Lakeland players over the summer at Eastern Washington’s football camp – where Williams said things got a bit heated on the field between the two – and Friday’s game could be a lively contest. The Hawks feature a Wing-T offense and like to use a lot of misdirection while defensively Williams said they will likely return to their more traditional approach, straight-up, down linemen and stunts from backs, against Cheney’s double tight end formations than they used against the Knights.

“I just know we’ll be ready to play,” Williams said.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

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