With thunder and lightning playing the prelude music, Chewelah rained all over Bridgeport’s re-entry into football competition last Friday night. The host Cougars scored five times in the first eleven minutes of the opening quarter, taking a quick 42-0 lead, and then deploying the JV squad to finish the game for a 48-0 victory over the Mustangs.
It was a game that should never have been scheduled. However, both teams had an unfilled vacancy at the front of their 2016 itinerary and were paired to start the season. On paper, it originaly appeared to be a good match-up, with Chewelah coming off a 1-9 season last fall and Bridgeport resurrecting a football program that had not fielded a team for a couple of years.
Instead, it turned out to be a disaster on either side of the ball. Chewelah’s starters only got to play about 10 minutes before Coach Levi Hogan sent them to the sideline before the end of the first quarter.
Showing up with few players in uniform, unexperienced and undermanned Bridgeport went home scoreless after yielding two touchdowns to the Cougar junior varsity.
“It was a good win tonight!” Coach Levi Hogan told the team. “I’m very proud of our effort as a team!”
Then he continued, “Be ready to work hard enough this week to take a win from Riverside. Make no mistake, this coming Friday will be a four quarter battle.”
The game was won by Chewelah in the first 13 seconds. That is how long it took Jensen Holloway to return the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown. The Cougar speedster caught the ball on the right hash mark, made a cut to the sideline, and outran the Mustangs to the goal line. Elan Krausz added the two-point run for the extra points for an 8-0 lead with 11:47 remaining in the opening quarter.
Two minutes later, Chewelah was in house again. After a short Bridgeport punt left the ball on the Mustang 37-yard line, the Cougars scored in just two plays. Dom Coleman ran an option dive play for a six-yard gain, and then Kaden Mackowiak sprinted into the corner of the endzone from the 31-yard line with 9:18 remaining in the quarter.
Krausz’s pass to Brenden Flanagan tacked on another two points for a 16-0 lead.
The Chewelah defense put the next two points on the scoreboard when Conner Krouse tackled the Mustang ball carrier in his own endzone for a safety, expanding the Cougar lead to 18-0 with 7:38 left to play in the first quarter.
Krausz set up the next Chewelah touchdown with a 35 yard run on an option keeper. Coleman bulled the ball across the goal line on a seven-yard run and Krausz added the two extra points on a quarterback sneak.
With 6:50 still remaining in the period, the Cougar lead grew to 26-0. Griffin Stroyan sprinted into the end zone to score another Chewelah touchdown with 3:23 showing on the scoreclock. His six-yard run, along with Coleman’s two extra points lifted the Cougar lead to 34-0.
Coleman set up the Stroyan touchdown with a 22-yard run through the middle of the Bridgeport defense.
Three plays later, the Chewelah defense forced a Mustang fumble that was recovered by Dakota Kroiss. His recovery gave the ball back to the Cougars on the Bridgeport seven-yard line.
With just over a minute remaining in the first quarter, Coach Hogan pulled his starters off the field, never to return to the game.
Nonetheless, the younger Cougars still managed to score another touchdown before the scoreclock blinked its way down to all zeros.
Freshman fullback Jake George blasted his way into the endzone from three yards out. The addition of the two extra points by Brad Larson gave Chewelah a 42-0 spread with 0:24 to play in the quarter.
The remaining three quarters of the game were played by Chewelah’s non-starters, some from the varsity team, but mostly by the JV squad.
Limited to a very narrow selection of plays out of the double-wing formation, freshman quarterback Brad Larson took turns handing the ball to Nolan Hansen and fellow freshmen Jake Jeanneret and George.
This younger unit scored a second time. Late in the third period, Hansen ran a sweep 16 yards into the endzone for the final points of the game for a 48-0 Cougar win.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chewelah younger unit held Bridgeport scoreless through more than three periods of play. A pass interception by John Larson and a fumble recovery by Dylan Walser, along with sacks by Sam Smith and Nils Berger, restricted Mustang scoring opportunities in the second half.
Altogether, Chewelah generated 210 yards of offense—all on the ground—with the starting unit recording 108 of those yards on seven plays. Coleman had five carries for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Krausz had one carry for 35 yards. Mackowiak had one carry for 31 yards and a touchdown. Stroyan had one carry for six yards and a touchdown.
George carried the ball 14 times, gaining 37 yards. Hansen had four carries for 31 yards. Larson had six carries for 16 yards. Jeanneret gained 11 yards from seven carries. Krausz threw only one pass, which fell incomplete.
Defensively, Chewelah limited Bridgeport to negative yardage. The Mustangs had 24 carries for minus-18 yards and had no pass completions. The Cougars notched 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and five stops for no gain, smothering ballcarriers in a mountain of new blue jerseys—with fan- friendly easy-to- read numbers.
This Friday night, the Cougars enter Northeast A League play when they host Riverside at Snyder Field.
The Rams lost their season opener to St. Maries, Idaho, by a 39-0 score.
They and Medical Lake were the only league teams to lose their season opener last weekend.
Like Chewelah, Riverside revealed a new offense and defense last Friday night. The Rams ran what is called a “pistol bone” offense against St. Maries. It is a five-man front, with two wide receivers and the quarterback in shotgun. The QB is flanked on each side by a halfback.
Behind the QB is a tailback. Riverside attempted to do some razzle-dazzle from this formation with little success, mostly because the timing in the backfield was not very synchronized.
Later in the game, the Rams changed to a one-back shotgun set with wide receivers and slotbacks on both sides.
On defense, Riverside employed a three-four alignment very similar to that used by Chewelah.
Kickoff time against the Rams is 7 p.m. Go Cougs!
-By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Deer Park came away with perhaps the most impressive win of the week, downing 3A Rogers 23-0. Now Rogers is a GSL cellar-dweller, but they did win four games last year and Deer Park is 1A. Freeman was Freeman, taking out Timberlake 32-0. Riverside and Medical Lake were the only NEA League teams that suffered defeat. Riverside, Chewelah’s opponent this week, was implementing a new offense and had a case of the fumbles.
NEA LEAGUE SCORES
Deer Park 23, Rogers 0
Colville 7, Lakeland 6
Freeman 32, Timberlake 0
St. Maries 39, Riverside 0
Newport 13, Priest River 6
Kellogg 29, Medical Lake 24
OTHER LOCAL SCORES
Inchelium 54, Yakima Tribal 6
ACH 52, Republic 8
Liberty 43, Kettle Falls 8
Entiat 46, Northport 14
Davenport 38, Springdale 6