Cheney Free Press -

By Roger Harnack

Cheney football season ends with loss to Pullman


Last updated 11/8/2019 at 2:15pm

SPOKANE VALLEY – The Pullman defense shut down Cheney and West Valley in the Greater Spokane League’s Kansas City tiebreaker Tuesday night to stay alive in the Class 2A high school football postseason.

A sack and a recovered Cheney quarterback Alex Long fumble gave the Greyhounds the momentum they needed to top the Blackhawks, 6-0, in the first of three rounds of the tiebreaker at East Valley High School.

In the tiebreaker, each team started with the ball on the 25-yard line. Each team gets an opportunity to score, with the tiebreaker being settled by the team with the most points.

In Round 2, Pullman sacked West Valley quarterback Matthew Allen twice in the first three plays to keep the momentum.

The Greyhounds won, 6-0, to take second in the GSL and a post-season birth.

Cheney faced West Valley for bragging rights – and the GSL’s third-place – in Round 3.

On the first play of that round, a penalty moved Cheney back to the 39-yard line for a first and 29. Cheney’s Long completed a pass to running back Dalton Harriett, who rambled to the 23-yard line.

On second and 8, the Blackhawks pulled out a misdirection trap, with Long handing the ball to running back Gabe Gerber for 13 yards.

On the next play, Long kept the ball for a 3-yard gain.

With the ball on the 10, Harriett got the call on a sweep right; he punched it in for a touchdown.

Kicker Alex Petropoulos made the extra point, giving Cheney a 7-0 lead.

West Valley had a chance to even the score, but the Blackhawks defense held.

The Eagles started with a sweep right for a gain of 5, but second down ended with an incomplete pass in the endzone.

On third down, West Valley’s Allen tossed a flare pass left for a 1-yard gain, setting up fourth and 4 at the 19. In the final play of the Round 3, Allen failed to find a receiver.

Cheney won. 7-0.

With all three rounds complete in the tiebreaker, Pullman finished second in the GSL, Cheney third and West Valley fourth.

Pullman heads to Othello on Friday for a crossover game against the Central Washington Athletic Conference’s Othello Huskies.

Meanwhile, the official season for Cheney and West Valley came to an end.

There is a possibility one or both of the teams will play a consolation game this Friday.

To get to Tuesday’s tiebreaker, Cheney needed to pull off a win over visiting Pullman (6-3, 2-2) in the regular-season finale Friday, Nov. 1. The Blackhawks got one of their best defensive efforts of the season, and an offense that head coach Bobby Byrd said “showed some grit” to upset the Greyhounds 17-9.

Dalton Harriet got the Blackhawks on the board first with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter, with Alex Petropoulos’s 24-yard second-quarter field goal giving Cheney a 10-0 halftime lead. Zachary Dahmen’s three-yard run pulled the Greyhounds within three at 10-7 in the third quarter.

But with the game close late in the fourth, Byrd said they called on the leadership of senior quarterback Alex Long. Long’s number was called several times in the Blackhawks final scoring drive, including at the end with a seven-yard TD run that gave Cheney some breathing room at 17-7.

“He put the team on his shoulders, and got the job done,” Byrd said.

The Greyhounds mounted a late threat, driving into Cheney’s red zone where Petropoulos picked off a Carson Coulter pass at the five-yard line, only to get hit and fumble the ball into the end zone. Cheney recovered the ball — preventing a Pullman TD — but in doing so were called for the safety.

From there, Cheney’s defense stiffened one more time to thwart Pullman’s last drive.

“The defense across the board stepped up and played a heck of a game,” Byrd said.

Long was 8 for 12 for 104 yards passing, while Harriett rushed 13 times for 70 yards and Gabe Gerber carried the ball 16 times for 58 yards. Van Vega led the defense with eight solo tackles, two assists and an interception, while Petropoulos had four solo tackles, one forced fumble and the interception. Koby Holt had three solo tackles, six assists, one batted ball and one sack.

Managing editor John McCallum contributed to this story.

Roger Harnack can be reached at


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