Derek Smith threw three touchdown passes, and he and Cordell Bean each added two Chewelah scores on the ground, as the Cougars shocked the Colville Indians 45-21 last Friday night for their first football win of the season.
Smith completed 14 of 23 passes for 234 yards. The senior quarterback threw two touchdown passes to Ben Johnstone and one to Bean. He also galloped 65 yards on a keeper play for another Chewelah touchdown.
The Cougar offense, which had fumbled away a win against Deer Park the previous week, ran like a finely tuned machine at Colville. Chewelah added 175 rushing yards to finish the game with 406 total yards against the Indians.
This time, the Cougars never gave up a fumble or an interception on their way to seven touchdowns. Instead, they were on the receiving end of two fumbles and an interception. Sam Cobb and Blake Owens each had a fumble recovery, and Smith picked off a pass. All three Colville turnovers triggered Chewelah touchdowns.
The victory was the first for Chewelah over Colville since ….well….it has been a few years …clear back to 2004, when the Cougars beat the Indians 21-7 on a wet and muddy field in Colville.
Last Friday’s game was similar to the game against Deer Park the previous week. Chewelah led Deer park 18-7 before halftime. Likewise, the Cougars held a 20-7 lead at Colville at halftime.
It was the way Chewelah played the second half that made the difference. The Cougars never scored in the second half against Deer Park and lost by a 28-18 score, mostly due to five fatal turnovers. At Colville, they scored four more times in the second half and never had a fumble or an intercepted pass to earn a 45-21 win.
“Do you think our kids got the message?” grinned Coach Jim Fisk rhetorically.
It was Fisk who made a quick revision in Friday night’s game plan after seeing that his Cougars were outsized by Colville’s bigger players.
“Let’s run a lot of sweeps early in the game and see what kind of shape their big kids are in,” he told Chewelah’s offensive coordinator and play caller, Coach Patrick Mitchell. “Let’s run them from sideline to sideline for awhile to wear them down a little and then we’ll start throwing the ball deep.”
Fisk’s plan began to show results in the second quarter when Smith threw back to back completions to Johnstone, one going for 16 yards and the other going for a 15-yard touchdown. Later in that same quarter, Smith connected with Bean for a 55-yard touchdown pass.
Chewelah went into the second half determined to hold onto the ball. No fumbles. No passes intercepted. The Cougars succeeded in both categories. Check. Check.
Instead, Chewelah scored four more touchdowns to rout the Indians, 45-21, in their own back yard.
Cobb’s fumble recovery on the second half kickoff set up the first Cougar touchdown of the third quarter. Chewelah took possession of the ball on the Colville 12-yard line. Two plays later, Bean scored on a five-yard run to give the Cougars a 26-7 lead with only 46 seconds gone off the scoreclock.
Midway through the third quarter, Smith ran a quarterback sweep toward the Chewelah sideline. After picking up some blocks at the corner, he cut back across the field and scored. His 65-yard touchdown run gave the Cougars a 32-7 lead with 7:12 remaining in the period.
Chewelah scored two more times in the fourth quarter. Faced with a fourth down at the Cougar 37-yard line, Smith threw a 21-yard completion to Dustin Crowell to move the ball into Colville territory. A reverse to Caleb Wiebe gained another 23 yards to the Indian 14-yard line. Then, Johnstone caught a touchdown pass from Smith to give the Cougars a 38-21 lead with 6:06 left to play in the game.
Smith’s pass interception led to Chewelah’s final touchdown of the night. On its first play following the ensuing Cougar kickoff, Colville threw a pass that was tipped into the air. Smith grabbed it. He immediately threw a 42-yard completion to Wiebe that put the ball on the Indian two-yard line. Smith scored on the next play to paint the final coat of Cougar blue on a 45-21 victory.
The first 10 minutes of the game were crucial to the Cougar win. During that time, the Chewelah front four decided they were not going to be bulldozed by the bigger Colville offensive line. Likewise, the smaller Cougar offensive linemen learned they could use their blocking schemes to create openings in the Indian defensive front.
Those two realizations gave the Cougar linemen the confidence they needed to contribute mightily to the win. Chewelah’s defense limited the Colville running attack to only 192 yards.
In addition, two key defensive plays that ended Colville’s first possession of the game were of paramount importance. First, Olson stuffed an Indian ballcarrier for a four-yard loss. Then, on the very next play, Trey Barnett made a tackle that separated the ball from the ballcarrier, and Owens made the recovery at the Colville 41-yard line. Barnett also had two sacks against the Indians.
Five plays later, Wiebe caught a 16-yard pass from Smith that gave Chewelah a first down on the Indian seven-yard line. Bean scored on the next play for a 6-0 Cougar lead.
Smith topped Chewelah ballcarriers with nine carries for 81 yards. Combined with his 234 yards passing, he finished the game with 315 all-purpose yards. He is steadily closing in on the Cougar career passing yardage records.
Bean carried the ball 11 times, gaining 38 hard-earned yards and two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 53 yards and another touchdown.
Ty Curtis, Mackinzie Miller, Johnstone, Wiebe, and Owens also had carries for the Cougars.
Johnstone led Chewelah receivers with five catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Wiebe caught four passes for 67 yards. Crowell had three catches for 38 yards.
For the second week in a row, Johnstone led the Chewelah defense with 12 tackles. He had 13 against Deer Park
Barnett had seven tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage. Smith and Owens each had six. Wiebe and Crowell had five apiece.
This Friday night, the Cougars travel to Lakeside for their first Northeast A League ballgame. The Eagles come into the game with a 1-1 season record. They lost to Pullman and then defeated Davenport.
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent
In This Photo: The jubilant victorious Cougar Football team rejoices after belting out their fight song on the Colville Indians home field Friday night after crushing the Indians 45 to 21! Kim Johnstone photo