Cheney Free Press -

By JOHN McCALLUM
Managing Editor 

Trickery hands Blackhawks first gridiron defeat

 

October 18, 2018



A trick play was what it took to send the Cheney High football team to its first loss of the 2018 campaign.

With 30 seconds to play, Clarkston quarterback Kaden Frazier hit wide receiver Austin Armstrong with a bubble-screen, and Armstrong then turned and found a streaking Tru Allen on a 60-yard touchdown play to send the Bantams to a 28-21 Great Northern League win over the visiting Blackhawks. The setback stopped Cheney’s season-opening win streak at six games.

The Blackhawks were also hamstrung a bit by Clarkston’s defense, particularly defensive end Taylor Garrett, who was in the Cheney backfield on numerous occasions and helped cause a couple turnovers. Even with the miscues, Cheney head coach Bobby Byrd said his team was in a position to earn its seventh win.

“Despite four turnovers, we were in the game with less than two minutes left,” he said via email.

After a scoreless first quarter, Blackhawks’ running back Mekhai Goodloe got the scoring going with a four-yard TD run in the back and forth contest. Clarkston tied it with a Will Slieger three-yard score, and took a 10-7 halftime lead on Steve Baiye’s 21-yard field goal.

Blackhawks’ quarterback Alex Long’s three-yard touchdown run put Cheney back on top 14-10 in the third quarter, but a 50-yard TD strike from Frazier to Baiye gave the Bantams the lead back at 17-14. Long’s second TD, again three yards, gave Cheney a 21-17 advantage in the fourth quarter. Baiye’s 23-yard field goal helped set up the last second heroics from Clarkston.

Cheney falls to 1-1 in the GNL, 6-1 overall while Clarkston improves to 2-1, 3-4.

Cheney currently sits third in the league standings, one-half game back of Pullman (2-1, 5-2) and one game behind league leader West Valley (2-0, 6-1), with contests against both schools coming up — beginning with the Eagles.

West Valley comes to Tom Oswald Field Friday night, senior night for Cheney. The Eagles high-powered offense is averaging 34 points per game, while the defense is limiting opponents to just over 14.

West Valley scored a season-high 54 in their win last Friday at Pullman, but were limited to just two touchdowns in a 16-14 early-season loss to Greater Spokane League 3A Shadle Park. Defensively, the 2A sixth-ranked Eagles are allowing 14.5 points per game.

Cheney’s defense has been giving up just over 17 points a game while the offense averages 31 — including a 42-point outburst in their 42-40 win over Shadle Park on Sept. 14. While the stats have both schools close, Byrd believes the Blackhawks still have a lot of room for improvement.

“We have really yet to put four full quarters together, and (are) looking to do that against a very disciplined West Valley team this week,” he said.

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

 

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