2B FOOTBALL: Chewelah downs Reardan, goes into state playoffs as highest seeded Eastern Washington team, will play Tonasket
(GENO LUDWIG/Chewelah Independent)
Cougars down Reardan 36-23 in rematch…
It was three weeks before the traditional eating of the Thanksgiving turkey, but Chewelah got to break the wishbone early. The Reardan wishbone, that is.
On a chilly fall night at Snyder Field, the Cougars used a balanced running and passing attack to defeat the visiting Indians 36-23 in crossover play with the winner earning a ticket to the State 2B Football Championships. Chewelah will host the Tonasket Tigers at Snyder Field on Friday night, November 15, with kickoff time set at 6 p.m.
The Cougars went from being ignored by the football polls to being seeded fourth into the 16-team state bracket. They had never been ranked in the Seattle Times, the MaxPreps or the Associated Press top ten. However, the WIAA 2B bracket seeding committee gave Chewelah the best seed from the eastern side of the state behind westsiders Onalaska, Napavine, and Kalama. Tonasket entered the bracket as the 13th-ranked team.
“We’re all pretty excited,” said Coach Cameron Gump. “We got a good seed into the tournament. The seed means nothing. Now, we have to prove that we deserved it. Some teams on the west side may be upset with our seeding, but there is no doubt that we are the best team from this side of the state. How we do from here on out will depend on how much effort we put in. We have to stay disciplined and keep rolling.
“When they took our schedule into consideration, there was no other choice. We beat Reardan twice, Reardan beat Colfax and Colfax beat Asotin. And, we beat Lake Roosevelt.”
The fourth-place ranking came partly because of Chewelah’s strength of schedule that included games against three 1A teams in the first half of the season. Another was last Friday’s Cougar win over Reardan combined with Liberty’s loss to Davenport. The bracket has Lake Roosevelt seeded sixth, Colfax seeded seventh, Asotin seeded eighth and Davenport seeded 12th.
Jake Jeanneret ran the ball 16 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns, and he completed 11 passes for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the determined Cougar quarterback operated the Jim Fisk offense at full capacity. Kaden Krouse, Jake George and Bowen Middlesworth together added another 107 yards on the ground, while Nick Franks, Jaron Baldwin and Krouse amassed 202 yards through the air. Chewelah’s offensive line—Sam Triplett, Cole Davis, Gunnar Hofstetter, Nic Shierloh and Andrew Sweat—dominated the line of scrimmage, allowing Cougar ballcarriers to average 5.6 yards per carry, and gave Jeanneret the protection he needed to throw the ball. It was a total team transformation from the one that had lost four of its first five games this season to the squad that earned its second straight entry to the state tournament.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, Chewelah restricted Reardan to 161 yards on the ground and no rushing touchdowns. Of Reardan’s 30 carries, 16 were for five yards or less. The Indians completed only three of 12 passes, but two of those were touchdown tosses. In the end, forcing Reardan out of running attack proved to be somewhat costly to the Cougars.
“Again, our defense really played well,” said Coach Gump. “We had a bend but don’t break mentality in this game, but we kicked it into gear when we really needed to make some big stops. Reardan had some long drives that did not make it to the endzone. They made a strong comeback in the second half that we stopped, and then we scored again to secure the win”
Chewelah scored on its first possession, traveling 64 yards in eight plays. A 14-yard run on a quarterback counter by Jeanneret, a 25-yard screen pass to Krouse with lead blocks from Shierloh and Triplett and an 18-yard catch by Franks quickly moved the ball down the field to the two-yard line. Jeanneret finalized the drive with a one-yard slam across the goal line. The extra-point kick was blocked, but the Cougars had a 6-0 lead just three minutes into the first quarter.
Reardan responded with a long drive that ended only eight yards from the endzone. A 22-yard run by Tyler Sprecher gave the Indians a first down on the Chewelah 14-yard line. Here, the Cougar defense made a stand. Triplett and Shierloh stopped an inside run for a gain of a yard. Krouse and Shierloh halted another run for a five-yard gain. A third down run made it only back to the line of scrimmage as it was met by Kruz Katzer, Middlesworth, Hofstetter and Krouse. The Indians needed four yards to gain a first down and keep their drive alive, but George’s tackle left them inches short, and Chewelah took the ball on downs.
Reardan had another lengthy drive in the second quarter that again came up short of the goal line. The Indians had a first down at the Chewelah four-yard line, but Davis dropped the quarterback for a six-yard loss. When two passes fell incomplete in the endzone, Reardan’s Wyatt Raczykowski kicked a 26-yard field goal to get the Indians on the scoreboard at 6-3.
A 57-yard catch and run by Franks highlighted Chewelah’s following touchdown drive. When a Reardan defender stepped in front of the Cougar receiver, Franks reached over his shoulder, grabbed the ball out of his hands, and sprinted untouched to the endzone. A two-point pass from Jeanneret to Krouse gave Chewelah a 14-3 lead with 4:35 remaining in the first half.
That was enough time for both teams to add points to their sides of the scoreboard. Reardan scored on a 14-yard pass that caught the Chewelah secondary by surprise, but the extra-point run was stopped short of the goal line by Krouse and Triplett. The Indian touchdown cut the Cougar lead to 14-9 with 2:18 left in the half.
Four complete passes by Jeanneret had Chewelah in the endzone for the third time. He threw to Krouse for four yards, to Franks for 11 and 36 yards, and then to Baldwin in the back corner of the endzone for the 13-yard touchdown. The extra-point run failed, but the Cougars had a 20-9 halftime lead.
Reardan received the second half kickoff, but the drive ran out of gas before it got to midfield. Tackles by Hofstetter, Krouse, and Triplett allowed only short gains. Solo tackles by George and Franks each for a two-yard loss left the Indians with a third down and seven yards to go situation. Triplett and George then sacked the Indian quarterback on third down, forcing Reardan to punt.
Jeanneret again went to the air, throwing a 22-yard pass to George and an 11-yard toss to Baldwin that got the ball to the midfield stripe. A pass interference penalty moved the Cougars into Indian territory at the 34-yard line. Jeanneret scrambled right for a 14-yard pickup and then ran it up the middle 20 yards for the touchdown. His pass to Krouse for the two extra points gave Chewelah a 28-9 third quarter lead.
Tackles from Davis, Middlesworth and Triplett left Reardan eight yards short of a first down. Triplett and Katzer then sacked the Indian quarterback for a two-yard loss, forcing a punt. Chewelah also punted to end the third quarter with a 19-point lead.
George intercepted a Reardan pass to start the fourth quarter, but the ball was given back to the Indians on a penalty. Two more penalties had the ball moving in different directions. Chewelah got the worse of the exchange leading to a 16-yard touchdown pass by Reardan. The extra-point kick left the Cougars with a 28-16 lead. The score got even tighter less than a minute later when the Indians returned a Cougar fumble 50 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 28-23 with 10:08 remaining in the game.
It was now a one-touchdown game. Chewelah needed to get into the endzone at least one more time and then run time off the clock. They did both. Changing to a running attack, Jeanneret carried the ball four times for 34 yards behind lead blocking from Krouse and Hofstetter. George added two runs for another 17 yards with Middlesworth helping him turn the corner. Krouse then ran the ball across the goal line on a seven-yard carry behind blocks from Davis and George. Baldwin tacked-on the two-point run, giving the Cougars a 36-23 lead with 6:00 left to play.
Both teams turned the ball over on downs through the middle of the quarter with Reardan getting the ball back with 1:15 on the scoreclock. Three plays later, Baldwin intercepted an Indian pass that put a lid on the Cougar victory with a berth into the state tournament as the prize.
Jeanneret led Chewelah ballcarriers with 16 totes totaling 106 yards. Krouse had 14 carries for 63 yards, George had 30 yards from five carries, and Middlesworth ran 14 yards on three carries.
Jeanneret completed 11 of 17 passes for 202 yards. Franks caught six of them for 143 yards and a touchdown. Baldwin had three catches for 29 yards and a touchdown. Krouse had two catches for 30 yards.
Krouse anchored the Cougar defense with 17 tackles. Davis had 10 tackles, Hofstetter had 9, Franks had 8, and Triplett had 7.
Tonasket comes into this Friday’s game with an impressive 7-2 season record that includes wins over Oroville, Manson and Columbia (Burbank). Although the Tigers were seeded 13th into the state tournament bracket, they are a very formidable foe. Size wise, they match-up fairly evenly with Chewelah. Like the Cougars, they have a thick playbook that mixes the run and the pass in fairly equal proportions. The Tigers line up in an Okie five-two defense most of the time. Their down linemen have good size and both inside linebackers like to blitz.
Remember, kickoff time is 6:00, so do not come an hour late.