By JOHN McCALLUM
Managing Editor 

Cheney shuts out visiting Rogers 35-0

 

Last updated 9/19/2019 at 1:32pm

Cheney High School scored on their first two drives of Friday’s home opener with Rogers and never looked back in a 35-0 drubbing of the visiting Pirates.

Dalton Harriett scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns on a 16-yard run for a 7-0 lead at the 8:17 mark in the first quarter. The Blackhawks made it 14-0 less than two minutes later on an 11-yard Alex Long to Ryan Rieckmann TD pass.

After failing to make a first down on its first three possessions, Rogers finally found its footing offensively and was able to move the ball, but couldn’t find the end zone a couple long drives into Cheney territory. The Blackhawks managed to drive to the Pirates 10 yard line with 7.4 seconds remaining in the half, but ran out of timeouts to punch the ball into the end zone.

Cheney wasted little time in picking up in the third quarter where it left off before the half, getting a good kickoff return from Harriett and a horse collar penalty on the Pirates that put the ball on the 50. The Blackhawks capitalized on the field position with a seven-yard TD run by Gabe Gerber with 7:33 to play in the third.


Cheney made it 28-0 with 31.8 seconds left in the quarter on a Harriett 31-yard run, and the junior put the finishing touches on the evening by bursting up the middle for a 46-yard TD run with 2:33 left in the game.

Cheney rushed for 301 yards on 37 carries, with Harriett contributing 10 carries for 115 yards and Gabe Gerber 130 yards on 12 carries. Long threw eight times for 114 yards. Cole Williams and Trevor Rains led the Blackhawks defensively, with Rains getting some key pass breakups and big hits while Williams had back to back interceptions in the fourth quarter to stymie Rogers’ drives.

“We knew they (Rogers) were good and aggressive up front on both side of the ball,” head coach Bobby Byrd said. “We were preaching discipline and execution and just doing what we do best.”

Byrd added that they knew Rogers would be able to shut down Cheney’s play-action game, and with the Pirates playing soft on the corner felt they could get outside with some one-on-one opportunities in both the passing and running game — but thing turned out differently.

“Shoot, we were definitely running the ball up the gut,” he added.

While not as tough an opponent as Colville in Cheney’s season opener on Sept. 6, Byrd said Rogers was not a “gimme game.” The Blackhawks will face a sterner opponent, however, this Friday in Greater Spokane League 3A Shadle Park.

The Blackhawks and Highlanders combined for 82 points last year in a game that featured five TD passes by Long. But it was the knock down by Williams and 2018 senior Dawson West of Shadle’s attempted two-point conversion with 54 seconds remaining that preserved Cheney’s 42-40 win.


This year’s rematch is at 5:30 p.m. at Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium, and should be much like last year where Cheney will try pit its run-oriented game against a Highlanders team that likes to stretch the field with big chunks of yardage through the passing game. That formula led Shadle to a 19-7 halftime lead against West Valley-Spokane last Friday before the Eagles rallied in the second half for a 28-19 win.

Shadle is led by quarterback Ryan Schmidt, who has thrown for four TDs and run for two more. Byrd said they are big on both the offensive and defensive lines, but believes Cheney’s success will come through its experience.

“It will be a test where the team that makes the least amount of mistakes will come out on top,” he added.

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

 

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