Adjustments at half help Cheney to first league win
Just about any coach will tell you the secret to winning on the field is execution – plain and simple doing what you're supposed to do.
In the first half of last Friday's Homecoming game with visiting Deer Park the Cheney football team was their own worst enemy at times, with mistakes preventing the Blackhawks from getting any real momentum and helping the Stags to a 7-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, execution took over. The Blackhawks scored three straight touchdowns, one defensively, en route to a 28-14 Great Northern League win.
"Sometimes you over think the sport," head coach Jason Williams said. "It just comes down to adjustments."
Cheney drove efficiently deep into Deer Park territory on the opening drive of the second half, but came up short of points on a missed field goal. On the next play the Stags tried a screen pass that was dropped.
The Deer Park players, thinking it was an incomplete pass, stopped playing, but because the ball was thrown behind the line of scrimmage, the play was still live. Safety Ty Graham scooped up the ball at the seven and ran it in for the game-tying score.
Cheney took the lead on a drive that started at their 28 and ended with an Andrew Graham to Logan Clayden 28-yard touchdown pass, putting Cheney up 13-7. The Blackhawks took a two-score lead when Graham found Shane Hammel on a deep route down the middle for a 44-yard score.
Stags quarterback Nic Clough connected with tight end Travis Pierce on a seven-yard TD cutting Cheney's lead to 21-14. Blackhawks' junior tailback Austin Kline then capped his solid rushing game with a 41-yard TD run that sealed Cheney's first GNL win of the season.
The Blackhawks, 5-2 overall, 1-2 GNL, now turn their attention to a big game this Friday at West Valley. The Eagles made things interesting in the league playoff race by upsetting GNL co-leader East Valley 39-26 last Friday, moving into a tie for second with the Knights, both at 3-1, 4-3, one-half game back of Pullman, 3-0, 5-1.
Williams said he expects the Eagles to be pretty high after the East Valley game. He also said they are a good, athletic team, who matched up well with the Knights' tall receivers.
West Valley has a good quarterback in Austin Lee, who has a capable target in wide receivers Marcus Jackson. Junior Jace Malek, 2A wrestling state runner up at 220 pounds last year, is a lineman converted to running back that Williams said also lines up defensively in the up position or down on the line.
Williams thinks the Blackhawks match up well too, and is looking forward to another rivalry game in the GNL.
"It'll be a good battle," he said. "We've just got to kind of keep doing what we're doing and just take care of our own business."
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.