Kettle Falls unleashed a ferocious Bulldog blitz in an attempt to corral Cougar quarterback Derek Smith last Friday afternoon, but he still ran for 140 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 36-6 Chewelah league win.
The Bulldogs did enjoy some success, dropping Smith behind the line of scrimmage seven times and not allowing him to step up into the pocket to throw the ball. In the end, however, he prevailed with a 51-yard touchdown run and a 63-yard gallop that set up another Chewelah touchdown.
“We played an okay game, not a great one,” said Coach Jim Fisk. “Kettle Falls showed us that there are things we still need to work on. Other teams may try to outnumber our pass protection scheme like they did. The competition is definitely going to get tougher for us down the road, so we need to be ready.”
The victory was Chewelah’s fourth in a row. The Cougars are now 4-1 for the season and 2-0 in Northeast A League play. They will now face their strongest conference competition in back to back games at Medical Lake (5-0) this Friday and against Freeman (4-1) the following Friday.
Looking at the game from a scoreboard perspective only, Chewelah had the game won in the first 14 seconds. That is how long it took Mackinzie Miller to run back the opening kickoff 90 yards for a Cougar touchdown. With the addition of Ty Curtis’s extra-point kick, Chewelah had an early 7-0 lead.
Another potent performance by the Cougar defense kept Kettle Falls from scoring until midway through the fourth quarter. Chewelah limited the visiting Bulldogs to 71 yards of total offense.
“Our defense did a great job Friday afternoon,” said Fisk. “They have continually played better every week. But, it’s evident that our goal line defense needs some work.”
Chewelah scored twice in the first quarter and added two more touchdowns before halftime. Smith had runs of 14 yards, 16, yards, and 22 yards that highlighted the first scoring drive for the Cougars. He scored and added the two-point conversion run to give Chewelah a 15-0 lead with 2:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Smith’s 63-yard run on a quarterback draw play set up Chewelah’s third touchdown. On the next play, Cordell Bean scored from the seven-yard line. The extra-point kick by Curtis gave the Cougars a 22-0 lead.
An 11-yard run by Dustin Crowell and a nine-yard catch by Caleb Wiebe set the stage for Chewelah’s fourth touchdown of the game. From the midfield stripe, Smith ran a quarterback sweep all the way to the endzone, a 50-yard run. The Curtis kick widened the Cougar lead to 29-0 at halftime.
The third quarter was a defensive donnybrook with neither team allowing the other to score. Pass interceptions by Brady Flanagan and Smith took away a pair of Kettle Falls scoring opportunities Likewise, a Bulldog pass interception by Connor McKern also took away a Cougar scoring prospect.
With Ben Johnstone out of uniform for at least one more week, Flanagan has been moved into the Cougar defensive secondary. Miller has been filling Johnstone’s position on offense.
However, as the third quarter came to a close, Chewelah had attained better field position near midfield, from which the Cougars launched their final scoring drive. Consecutive screen passes caught by Crowell and Bean moved the ball to the Kettle Falls 32-yard line. On the next play, Bean broke loose on a 32-yard run across the goal line for the fifth Chewelah touchdown of the afternoon. The kick by Curtis expanded the Cougar lead to 36-0 with 11:23 remaining in the game.
That was enough time for Kettle Falls to complete a long 70-yard scoring drive for a touchdown. The drive was capped by a three-yard run into the endzone by Brandon Thomas as the Bulldogs avoided being shut out.
Smith led the Cougar offense with 15 carries for 140 yards. He also completed 8 of 21 passes for another 88 yards. Bean had five carries for 38 yards. Crowell carried the ball five times for 33 yards. Blake Owens gained 28 yards on three carries. Kyle Connall had four carries for 19 yards. Miller had six carries for 15 yards.
Altogether, Chewelah ran the ball 38 times and generated 273 rushing yards. That averages out to just over seven yards per carry.
Because of the fierce Kettle Falls pass rush, the Cougars completed only 9 of 22 passes for a total of only 89 yards. Bean had three catches for 58 yards, and Wiebe had three grabs for 23 yards. Smith and Crowell also had one catch apiece.
The Cougars limited Kettle Falls to 34 carries for 75 yards of offense on the ground. The Bulldogs had minus-four yards of passing offense.
Dustin Crowell led the Cougar defense for the second straight weekend with nine tackles. Dustin Olson and Blake Owens had six tackles each. Stephen Zerr and Tommy Norman had five tackles apiece. However, even though he has been on the sideline for the past two games,
Ben Johnstone still leads the team in total tackles with 35 for the season. The Cougars are hopeful that he will be back in uniform next week for the Freeman game.
Zerr, Olson, Crowell, and Owens also each had a sack.
This Friday, the Cougars travel to Medical Lake. The Cardinals run a hybrid version of the old early 1960’s wing-T formation, to which they have added a lot of razzle-dazzle. It is a mixture of sweep, dive, and counter, with a hint of triple-option, all wrapped up in the same play.
“We’ve seen Medical Lake’s offense enough that we have it pretty well figured out,” said Coach Fisk.
“We just have to remember to read our keys and not get fooled by all the backfield motion,” added Coach Pat Gaffney. “We just have to remember that their guards will lead us to the ball.”
Kickoff time at Medical Lake is 7:00 on Friday night.
Northeast A League
Medical Lake 3 – 0
Chewelah 2 – 0
Freeman 2 – 0
Lakeside 1 – 2
Riverside 1 – 2
Newport 0 – 2
Kettle Falls 0 – 3
Last week’s games
Chewelah 36, Kettle Falls 6
Freeman 54, Riverside 7
Medical Lake 20, Lakeside 7
Newport 27, Lake City JV 20
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: #3 Dustin Crowell makes a spectacular catch in the third quarter for another Cougar first down. Denise Smith photo