Blackhawks rally falls short in 29-26 league loss to Pullman
Cheney starts slow, scores 26 unanswered points before Greyhounds complete comeback
Cheney running back Austin Kline breaks free from Pullman defenders en route to a 53-yard third quarter touchdown.
If anything, Cheney’s 29-26 Great Northern League loss Friday to Pullman provided a good learning experience.
The Blackhawks learned a number of things, one being they have the ability to rally from a big deficit. But they also learned something that might prove just as valuable.
“When you get up on somebody, you never let off the gas,” head coach Jason Williams said.
Cheney fell behind 14-0 to the visiting Greyhounds in the first quarter, rallied to score the next 26 points for a 26-14 lead only to have the Greyhounds score twice in the fourth and have a late-game rally fall short on an interception to preserve Pullman’s win.
Pullman’s first score came on the first play of Cheney’s second possession. Running back Austin Kline fumbled and the ball bounced so fortuitously into defensive back David Ungerer’s hands the senior practically didn’t break stride on his way to the end zone.
The Greyhounds made it 14-0 on another Ungerer run that capped a ball control drive where Cheney seemed confused on where the Greyhounds were running. It was the last time Pullman was to find the end zone for the next 33:42.
Cheney regained momentum on a Ty Graham interception in the end zone early in the second quarter. The Blackhawks began controlling the line of scrimmage and moving the ball, marching 80 yards capped by Shane Hammel’s 6-yard TD run.
On Pullman’s possession Graham picked off another Mason Petrino pass, returning it to the Greyhounds 30. On the next play, quarterback Andrew Graham connected with wide receiver Logan Clayden on a 30-yard TD strike tying the score with 4:39 in the half.
Cheney had a chance for another score right before the half, marching from their 43 with 2:35 to go to the Greyhounds 15 where defensive back Dante Ungerer picked off Graham’s pass at the goal line with 35 seconds remaining.
In the third quarter Cheney dished out a steady diet of Kline. The junior tailback rushed for a lot of his 182 total yards in the frame, busting outside for a 52-yard score making it 20-14 at the 6:16 mark, and then contributing several more runs on the Blackhawks next drive, capped by Clayden’s 35-yard run making it 26-14 with 7:49 to play.
But Pullman wasn’t dead yet, driving quickly to the Cheney 12 where on second and seven Petrino found Ungerer for a 9-yard TD, pulling to within 26-21 with 5:51 left.
Cheney took possession at its 37, and after going nowhere, punted. In fact they punted twice, the first negated by a holding penalty that set them back 30 yards, kicking from the 16.
Pullman took over on their 44, converting on third, and fourth and long situations before Petrino hit Justin Pintak for a 24-yard TD pass, with Petrino scoring the two-point conversion.
Cheney had one last chance. After a penalty put the Blackhawks on their own 10 with 2:13 left, Graham led them on 73-yard march, hitting tight end Keenan Williams on a desperation heave that was tipped several times before the junior hauled it in at Pullman’s 45.
On second down Graham’s pass to his brother Ty was tipped in the end zone at the last second by Dante Ungerer. But on second and 12 from Pullman’s 27, Graham didn’t see Greyhound linebacker Sovann Robinson, who snagged the pass at the 15 preserving the win.
“I knew from the way the game started that it wouldn’t be over until it was over,” Williams said, adding it was good to see his team scrap back.
“We do have that fight in us,” he added.
The loss is Cheney’s first, moving them to 3-1, 0-1 in the GNL, something Williams said is much better than last year’s 1-3 start. The Blackhawks will face another challenge this Friday as they host Idaho 4A Sandpoint.
The Bulldogs are 2-2 with a 37-21 loss to East Valley and 28-7 win over West Valley against common opponents. Williams said they are bigger than fellow Intermountain League rival Lakeland, but not as fast and will rely more on the run out of the I formation offensively while making things tight in the middle defensively with a 4-3 scheme.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pullman 14 0 0 14 – 29
Cheney 0 14 6 6 – 26
PHS – Ungerer 31 fumble return (Pintak kick)
PHS – Ungerer 3 run (Pintak kick)
CHS – Hammel 23 run (Galm kick)
CHS – Clayden 30 pass from Graham (Galm kick)
CHS – Kline 52 run (kicked failed)
CHS – Clayden 35 run (kick failed)
PHS – Ungerer 9 pass from Petrino (Pintak kick)
PHS – Pintak 24 pass from Petrino (Petrino run)
Rushing: Kline 22-182, Clayden 3-64, A. Graham 4-31, Reed 2-12
Passing: A. Graham 6-15-100-2
Receiving: Reed 2-37, Williams 1-34, Riddle-White 1-20, Clayden 1-5, Kline 1-4
Total rushing: 289
Total yards: 389
First downs: 10
Punts: 8-111, Longest 35
Tackles/Assists: Mikhalchuk 10/3, Seubert 9/4, Williams 9/4, 2 sacks; T. Graham 7/6, Riddle-White 7/9, Ziemann 5/8, forced fumble