Cheney’s running game stifled in second straight league loss
For the Cheney football team, last Friday’s game at East Valley is one worthy of having amnesia over.
The Knights used touchdown passes from quarterback Connor Ramm to wide receivers J.T. Phelan and Gage Burland and a stifling defense that shutdown the Blackhawks running game to post a 22-0 halftime lead en route to a 30-0 win in Great Northern League play. Ramm also hit Phelan on a TD pass in the fourth quarter for the final points.
“It was one of those nights where things just went wrong,” Blackhawks head coach Jason Williams said. “We were in the right places, at the right times and their guys just made plays.”
East Valley’s first score was set up by a 43-yard pass from Phelan to Burland, with the second a Ramm to Burland toss capping off a long drive that made it 14-0 in the second quarter. For Williams, the backbreaker came on the Knights next series
Cheney had East Valley pinned inside their own 15 facing a third down and 20 yards to go, only to have senior running back Isaac Jordan ramble off a 51-yard gain, setting up his 1-yard TD plunge several plays later making it 22-0.
Cheney finally managed to get some offense going in the second half, driving to the East Valley 5 midway through the third quarter, only to turn it over on downs. East Valley’s defense limited Cheney’s rushing game to just 116 yards, their lowest total of the season.
Cheney’s defense did the best they could to provide some breaks, with Shane Hammel picking off two Ramm passes and Ty Graham one as well as recovering a Knights fumble, but the offense couldn’t do much with the opportunities. Every time the Blackhawks seemed to get things moving, something would come up to thwart their momentum.
“We played hard, we just didn’t get many breaks,” Williams said.
The loss drops Cheney to 0-2 in the GNL, 4-2 overall and leaves them no margin for error if they hope to make the playoffs for a third straight year. The Blackhawks have a chance to get back on the winning track this Friday as they host Deer Park (0-2, 1-5) in their Homecoming game. The Stags scored a TD on a fake field goal with 10 seconds left to knock off Cheney 13-9 last year.
Williams said Cheney’s position isn’t much different than last year at this time when the Deer Park loss dropped them to 1-2 in the GNL, forcing a situation where they needed to win out to make the post season. Cheney managed to do that with wins over West Valley, Clarkston and Colville, all of who still remain on the Blackhawks 2013 schedule.
“We’ll be alright,” Williams said. “We’ve just got to take care of our business, and get a little help.”
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.