Blackhawks football defeat East Valley in GNL opener

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The Cheney Blackhawks football team continued their undefeated season with an impressive 35-7 Great Northern League win over the East Valley Knights, Oct. 2.

“This was a big win for us,” head coach Bobby Byrd said. “We came out firing on all cylinders. This was one of the first times during the season where we came together for four full quarters, with everyone on the same page and doing good things.”

Byrd complimented the effort from both his defense and offense. Chris Fuentes, in his first game as running back, got Cheney on the board early with a 9-yard touchdown late in the first quarter. In the second quarter, quarterback Jake Martin returned to throwing form after a 24-yard scoring pass to Trey Martin to bring the score to 14-0. Martin was 6 of 11 for 87 yards.

Fuentes continued his impressive performance with a 20-yard TD to give Cheney a 21-0 lead at halftime. He had 10 carries for 86 yards.

Byrd said Fuentes was doing well at middle linebacker this season and was brought into play running back after Brayden Butikofer was hurt.

“We knew how talented Fuentes was during practice,” Byrd said. “It’s nice to not have to put the game on just one guy’s shoulders, as we did with Ty Graham in the Sunnyside game. For not having an offensive play prior to that game, it was awesome to see Fuentes get those reps.”

Fuentes also had some receiving yards after catching a 12-yard touchdown pass from Martin in the third quarter.

After Cade VanWormer made an interception, Cheney began their final scoring drive which ended after Ty Graham’s 7-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 35-0. Graham had 20 carries for 122 yards.

East Valley avoided the shutout after Dante Clayton threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Michael Jensen.

Besides Fuentes, Byrd commended both the offensive and defensive lines.

“We usually put the spotlight on skill positions, but those lines did a great job. The offensive line protected Martin and opened holes for Fuentes and Graham to run through.”

Cheney, now 1-0 GNL and 5-0 overall, will take a short break from league play to travel to Idaho to take on the Moscow Bears, Oct. 9. Moscow (1-5) has had a rough season that includes losses to the GNL’s Pullman and West Valley. The Bears come into the game against Cheney with a 69-14 loss to Lewiston, Oct .2.

Byrd said it will be a strange experience for some of the players to enter hostile territory. Despite the Bears’ recent slump, Byrd is not overlooking them.

“Moscow is going to give us their best shot, just take it one day at a time,” Byrd said.

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