Staff Reporter 

Lost football weekend is primed for turnaround

Crunch Time


That sure was an abrupt change in weather.

No, we’re not talking about the nearly clockwork shift from summer to fall a couple of weeks ago but rather the last weekend’s football results.

After having the winds in their proverbial sails for the first month of the season our West Plains football teams entered the doldrums this past weekend.

With Eastern returning from Texas following a 49-34 loss to Sam Houston in Huntsville, Cheney seeing their 12-point lead vanish in the final seven minutes, 49 seconds and Medical Lake getting seared for 35 straight points in an ugly loss at Riverside, it meant an 0-for-3 week for the first time in quite a while.

Thank goodness for that miracle comeback and finish the Seattle Seahawks had down in Houston on Sunday that resulted in a 23-20 overtime win.

We’ve gotten spoiled this season with Eastern’s stunning 49-46 win to open the season at Oregon State and their 2-0 start. The Cheney Blackhawks’ 3-0 start, coupled with their playoff appearance in 2012, has had people talking. Medical Lake’s resurgence and their first postseason appearance in a decade has elevated football to a regular topic of conversation lately.

While the “lost weekend” might have some people a bit down, there’s certainly likely not many counting these teams out.

Eastern gets a fresh start with the beginning of Big Sky Conference play with logical fans realizing this was exactly where they expected things to be through September.

Remember, the Eagles sat 2-2 in 2010 before reeling off 11 consecutive wins on the way to the national championship. Even after their 0-4 start in 2011, Eastern won six of seven and nearly qualified for the playoffs with that effort.

The Sam Houston loss might have been the equivalent to that yearly checkup you often get from the doctor.

“We have to find little things that we need to improve on, and there is plenty,” EWU head coach Beau Baldwin said after seeing his team fall to the Bearkats for the third time. “We can say we fought hard, but the bottom line is we have to get better.”

That recuperation period for Eastern starts Saturday when Weber State visits Roos Field for a 4:05 p.m. kickoff.

Blackhawks’ head coach Jason Williams said his game's pace was much more "helter skelter" than the Lakeland game where it seemed Cheney was in control.

"We've just got to continue to get better this week," Williams added. Getting better for the Blackhawks starts with 2-2 Sandpoint, 7 p.m. Friday night at Tom Oswald Field.

In Medical Lake’s game, they gave up the most points since 2009 in a 49-12 loss at Deer Park.

“I thought we had worked out our butterflies as far as hitting the road and apparently we didn’t,” Medical Lake head coach Wes Hobbs said as his team’s record fell to 2-2.

Medical Lake’s other loss came at Bonners Ferry Sept. 13 so bumpy bus rides appear to be a common ailment the Cards need to cure before crucial road games at Chewelah and Freeman in their remaining four regular season games.

That’s because the focus in Medical Lake has changed from just keeping the games respectful to playoff planning.

But the Cardinals’ road to recovery begins at home Friday against Northeast A League leading Lakeside, 7 p.m. at Holliday Field.

And because it’s never over until it’s over, that Seahawks game got Hobbs thinking about just how fine the line is in the game from top to bottom.

He might know that better than many having lived and breathed the sport his entire life. Hobbs' father, legendary Pullman and Colton coach Ray, was a mentor.

“You never know,” Hobbs said. “Nobody sure as hell expected that guy from Houston (quarterback Matt Schaub) with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left to put Seattle back in the game. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, sooner or later the kid (in you) gets you.”

Schaub had no intention of doing that, Hobbs said. “It’s like putting your hand on a hot burner, and then it’s too late; you think why did I did that, but you did.”

Just like the Houston Texans have plenty of time to rebound and wash the bitter taste of their meltdown out of their mouths, so do the Eagles, Blackhawks and Cardinals.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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