The Cheney-Clarkston football surreal experience

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Friday night football games have turned into one of my favorite weekly traditions.

When my editor Jmac bestowed upon me the honor of covering football, I was excited, almost giddy. In prep sports, football is king and in a town where the university’s football team – the Eastern Washington Eagles – the football beat is pretty important. It’s taken me a little bit to get into writing actual game recaps but I’m coming into my own.

Last Friday Cheney took on Clarkston on their last regular season home game. Fans expected it to be a barnburner – both teams had two Great Northern League wins, as well as impressive nonleague victories. The Blackhawks came in with a lot of momentum with seven wins – three of those being shutouts. What fans got was a beat down and for the first time this season, Cheney was on the down side of it, losing 52-25.

Cheney’s defense is their bread and butter. They most points they’ve allowed was 20, prior to the Clarkston game.

When I talked to head coach Bobby Byrd, he mentioned Clarkston’s high power offense and once again he was right. The Bantams came out like a house of fire, with four touchdown passes and three running. Their defense also kept Cheney at bay, holding the Blackhawks to three touchdowns – two running and one passing – and a field goal. Cheney also made some mistakes, having several fumbles – three of which were on the kickoff return.

It was surreal watching a team that spent the season dominating their opponents, fall apart. Even in games where they were down in points, Cheney managed to rally back. But that’s what makes sports fun, frustrating and interesting to watch Your team can come in with higher stat, a better winning percentage and a great offense and still lose. It’s kind of like listening to MMA fans put their favorite fighters on a pedestal and then watching their jaws hit the floor when they’re guy or girl lose.

But it was one game. Cheney is in a three-way tie with Clarkston and West Valley, who they beat Oct. 16, for first place in the GNL standings. They also have a better overall record.

Cheney plays Pullman in their final regular game of the season. If they win, they’ll tie for first with the winner of the Clarkston-West Valley game on the same night. From there they may a tiebreaker or automatically gain a playoff berth.

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About Al Stover

I graduated from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. I currently work as a Staff Reporter for the Cheney Free Press. I have interviewed characters like cage fighters, drag queens and dungeon masters. I like Batman, coffee, MMA and beer.
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