Stags pull away in the second half to hand Cougars third loss
By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff
The fog cleared at the top of the Northeast A League leaderboard last Friday night, revealing Deer Park as the sole proprietor of first place in the current conference standings.
After playing an even first half with the home-standing Stags, Chewelah allowed two unanswered third quarter touchdowns that led to a 20-6 defeat for the Cougars.
With the win, Deer Park remains as the only undefeated team in league play, boasting a 3-0 record. The loss dropped Chewelah to 1-3.
Meanwhile, Freeman is no longer undefeated or unscored upon. Lakeside shocked the Scotties 20-14 in overtime, creating a four-way tie for second place on the league ladder.
Chewelah will travel to Lakeside this Friday night. Deer Park will host Freeman in the NEA main event of the weekend.
The Cougars held their own through the first half at Deer Park, moving both the ball and the chains, but scoring only once. In the opening quarter, Chewelah invaded the Stag end of the field twice, but turned the ball over on downs at the Deer Park 33-yard line and then punting from the Stag 46-yard stripe.
During both of those possessions, the Cougars steadily advanced the ball with Dom Coleman, Jensen Holloway, Nolan Hansen, Elan Krausz, and Kaden Mackowiak all contributing to the running attack.
Deer Park scored first. A 78-yard drive climaxed in a one-yard run across the goal line for a Stag touchdown, followed by the extra-point kick.
Chewelah responded with a long scoring drive of its own, going 80 yards in three plays. On second down, Mackowiak ran a quick-toss to the right and then cut back toward the middle of the field. He picked up blocks from Dakota Kroiss, Conner Krouse, Kolten Cairns, Ty Clayton, and Hansen that opened the door for a 44-yard run to the Deer Park 35-yard line.
Then, Coach Levi Hogan debuted the one trick play in the back of his play book. Quarterback Krausz took the snap from center and pitched the ball back to Coleman. The former Cougar QB rolled to his right and threw a perfect pass to Sam Smith, who caught the ball on the Stag one-yard line and fell into the end zone for the touchdown.
Unfortunately, the two-point try after the touchdown ended short of the goal line, but Chewelah had narrowed the Deer Park lead to 7-6.
Chewelah had one more possession before halftime. Hansen hit the Deer Park quarterback just as he was throwing the ball. The pass was intercepted by Krausz, who returned the ball 20 yards with the aid of a block on the intended receiver administered by Mackowiak. However, time ran out in the second quarter before the Cougars could put together an assault on the Stag end zone.
So, up until the intermission, Chewelah went toe-to- toe with Deer Park.
But, the third quarter changed that. The Stags pulled off two long-distance plays that put the Cougars into a 20-6 hole. The first was a 70-yard pass. The second was a 35-yard run. Chewelah did not reciprocate. The Cougars failed to score after halftime and suffered their third consecutive league loss. This Friday, the Cougars will travel to Lakeside. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Cougars had 187 yards of offense, of which 152 came on the ground. Mackowiak led the backfield with 14 carries for 83 yards. Holloway led the Chewelah defense with 14 tackles. Mackowiak had six. Krouse had five.
At Deer Park
DEER PARK 20, CHEWELAH 6
Chewelah 0 6 0 0-6
Deer Pk. 0 7 13 0-20
D – Tyson Lim 1-yard run (Carter Countryman kick)
C – Sam Smith 25-yard pass from Dominick Coleman (run failed)
D – Chase Wisinger 70-yard pass from Conner O’Dea (kick failed)
D – Dean Lockwood 34-yard run (Countryman kick)
NEA League Scores
Colville 35, Newport 14
Deer Park 20, Chewelah 6
Lakeside 20, Freeman 14
Riverside 32, Medical Lake 0