History did not repeat itself for the Cheney High football team as they opened their 2015 season with an impressive 28-0 non-league win over the Colville Indians, last Friday.
While Colville defeated Cheney 12-10 in both teams’ first game last season, the Blackhawks’ defense prevented the Indians’ offense from reaching the end zone this time.
“I think it was a good showing,” Cheney head coach Bobby Byrd said. “It’s always a little nerve wracking to see how the team will come out in the first game. Our boys executed the plan to a T and our secondary cleaned up nicely.”
Byrd praised his team’s defense, saying Colville’s offense is not easy to prepare for, nor is it easy for Cheney’s offense to replicate in practice.
“Zero points is zero points,” Byrd said. “The nice thing is we have the ability to lean on our defense a little.”
Junior Chris Fuentes had a standout night, recording 10.5 tackles and a sack while senior Ty Graham, had 5.5 tackles and an interception.
Graham also had some highlights on the offensive side of the ball, scoring a touchdown on the Blackhawks’ first play of the game early in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, senior Brayden Butikofer capped an offensive drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a successful 2-point conversion to make the score 14-0. Butikofer ran for 55 yards on 11 carries.
Graham scored his second touchdown on a punt recovery in the end zone in the third quarter.
He finished the game with 136 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Senior quarterback Josh Martin capped Cheney’s lead with a 2-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Martin was 4 for 8 and 69 yards passing.
“The offense had a good showing, they did what they needed to do,” Byrd said. “Josh Martin did good at quarterback. He made plays and had a good night, though stat-wise it doesn’t show it. We’ll work on reshaping routes and pass returns.”
Byrd said both offense and defense will focus on “the little things” this week in practice.
“There are little things we can work on across the board,” Byrd said. “I’m just proud of how the guys came out and played in that first game.”
Cheney plays Northeast A League’s Deer Park in their second game of a five-game home stand, Sept. 11. The Stags lost their season opener to GNL’s East Valley, 48-18. Last year, the Blackhawks shut out Deer Park, 14-0.
“Deer Park is another good challenge for us,” Byrd said. “They’re a team you can’t overlook and they did some good things in their game against East Valley. Our goal is to just get better.”