Blackhawks football tops Pullman to earn postseason berth

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The Cheney Blackhawks football team kept its season alive after a 30-22 win over the Pullman Greyhounds, Oct. 30.

The Blackhawks finished with a 3-1 Great Northern League record, 8-1 overall, to earn the second seed in a regional glue-in game against the winner of tonight’s (Nov. 5) Selah vs. East Valley-Yakima game.

Although Cheney tied with Clarkston (3-1, 7-2) in the GNL standings, the Bantams, who defeated West Valley 39-0, Oct. 30, won the regular season district title by virtue of their 52-25 win over the Blackhawks, Oct. 23.

Cheney’s offense came charging out of the gate in the first quarter with Chris Fuentes’ 20-yard rushing touchdown. Fuentes had 15 carries for 131 yards and a fumble recovery on defense.

Quarterback Josh Martin threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Harrison King, who earned his first receiving TD of the season. Martin was 9 for 13 with 79 yards and an interception. Ty Graham’s 2-yard rushing touchdown gave the Blackhawks a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Graham finished the night with nine carries for 51 yards.

“We came out hot and controlled the game as much as we could,” Cheney head coach Bobby Byrd said. “Our defense also did a lot to keep Pullman’s offense from scoring.”

Cheney’s defense, which features several experienced seniors such as Graham, King, Devon Waterman, Adam Ingham and Orisis Goodloe, among others, has helped contribute much of the team’s success this season.

Pullman avoided the shutout in the second quarter with Jake Cillay’s 4-yard rushing touchdown. The Blackhawks answered back with C.J. Johnson’s 80-yard rushing touchdown, which gave Cheney a 28-7 lead heading into the second half.

“We rushed for about 385 yards that game,” Byrd said. “We were trying to hit Pullman with different combos and speeds. This also allowed Ty (Graham) to focus on defense. It worked out well. Our running backs did great.”

Byrd added that while Johnson, who had 20 carries for 193 yards against Pullman, did not get as many reps as some of the other running backs, he culminated his season with that 80-yard run and showed everyone “he’s a big player.” He also commended the offensive line for “picking it up” and allowing the running backs to find opportunities for success.

“It’s fun to watch those kids be successful,” Byrd said.

Cheney scored its final points after a safety from Waterman in the third quarter. Other defensive highlights include Ingham’s blocked punt.

The Greyhounds started to gain momentum in the fourth quarter with Cillay’s 39-yard rushing touchdown. Quarterback Mason Petrino capped Pullman’s evening with a 14-yard scoring pass to Sam Druffel, followed by a successful 2-point conversion.

Byrd said his team will continue to focus on sharpening all facets of the game leading up to the game against the Selah vs. East Valley-Yakima winner, as well as working on the “little things,” a mantra that’s he’s held to all season.

“I’ve said it all along,” Byrd said. “It’s about what we can do as much as what the other team does. As long as we take care of the little things, we’ll be successful.”

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