The Clarkston Bantams accomplished a feat seven other teams could not — give the Cheney High football team its first loss of the season.
The Bantams defeated the Blackhawks 52-25 in a Great Northern League contest, Oct. 23 that was also Cheney’s final regular season home game.
The Blackhawks came out like a house on fire with Ty Graham scoring a 3-yard rushing touchdown. Kyle Doyle’s 31-yard field goal gave Cheney a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Clarkston came back in the second quarter on quarterback A.J. Davis’ scoring pass to Hunter Hanson. Davis’s 32-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a failed PAT attempt, gave Clarkston a 13-10 lead with 4:33 left in the first half.
“I thought our performance in the first half wasn’t bad,” Cheney head coach Bobby Byrd said. “We held them to two scores.”
Kyle Jones continued Clarkston’s onslaught with a 6-yard rushing touchdown early in the third quarter. The Blackhawks started to build momentum on quarterback Jake Martin’s 51-yard scoring pass to Logan Kendall. Martin was 11 for 29 for 139 yards.
Davis insured the win for Clarkston with touchdown passes to Justin Beeler (17 yards) and Jourdan Allen (9 yards). Hanson capped the Bantam’s scoring with a 43-yard punt return.
Graham scored the final points for Cheney with a 4-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a successful 2-point conversion. He had 16 carries for 173 yards.
“Clarkston is aggressive and they can score quickly,” Byrd said. “After being down so many touchdowns, you can’t answer and you have to force the pass. My hat’s off to them for being able to come here and get the job done.”
Cheney (2-1 GNL, 7-1 overall) wraps up its regular season at Pullman (0-3, 5-3), Oct. 30. The Blackhawks are tied for first place in the league standings with West Valley and Clarkston. For Cheney to finish the season in first place, they would have to defeat the Greyhounds, and need Clarkston to lose to West Valley. If the Bantams defeat the Eagles, they would win the league title by virtue of head-to-head meetings. If Cheney loses to Pullman, they’ll tie for third place with East Valley (2-2, 4-4).
Byrd knows the Pullman game will be a challenge. This week the Blackhawks are working on all facets of their game, specifically on special teams.
“Pullman has a powerful offense, which will be a good test for our defense,” Byrd said. “We’ll have to pressure (quarterback Mason ) Petrino. If you don’t, he’ll get 10-15 points on you. Offensively, we just need to execute. I told the kids they can still make their own destiny. We just have to go down there to get the win.”