Kaden Krouse and the Chewelah Cougars celebrate their 34-32 victory over Colfax on Saturday. (KS Brooks photo)
(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
INTERVIEW WITH CHEWELAH’S KADEN KROUSE AFTER THE GAME
A Chewelah victory at home is marked with the football players running over to the home crowd sideline and singing the school’s fight song. After the Cougars’ 34-32 victory over Colfax in NE 2B action on Friday night, the players reacted a bit differently after finishing the song, with several dropping to the ground, completely exhausted and cramping up after one of the most difficult and intense games Chewelah has played in the 2B ranks.
This game occurred in front of a real crowd for the first time, with Chewelah fans really getting loud at key moments of the game. It was a triumphant return to some normal Cougar football after Phase 3’s guidelines allow more people to attend outdoor sporting events.
Colfax came into the matchup as a longtime historic rival to Chewelah from years past. This matchup lived up to the hype as the 2-1 Bulldogs brought their backfield assortment of main battle tanks to run the football and the Cougars gutted a win out with spectacular and historic plays. Colfax would outgain Chewelah in total yards, 384-227 and lead in the fourth quarter but witching hour hit Snyder Field in the fourth quarter and the winds of fate changed.
VIDEO OF CHEWELAH CELEBRATING THEIR 34-32 VICTORY OVER COLFAX
The game started completely in Chewelah’s favor, as Kruz Katzer put the Cougars in the endzone with 6:55 left in the first quarter and Nick Skok hit the extra point for a 7-0 lead. Chewelah then blocked a Colfax punt and three plays later, Bowen Middlesworth ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run. Another Skok kick made the score 14-0 with 4:10 left in the first stanza.
Colfax came alive as time ticked down in the second quarter, as Colfax quarterback Layne Gingerich hit Jacob Brown for a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Bulldogs then forced a safety as the ball went out the back of the Cougars’ endzone. Colfax took the lead with 1:53 left in the second quarter with a three-yard touchdown pass by Gingerich to Kolby Slate for the 16-14 lead.
“We had some big blown plays, but we had it figured out at halftime,” Krouse said in a postgame interview. “Our coaches got us hyped up. We realized we can’t get on each other and we played like brothers.”
The third quarter began with a Chewelah fumble and a 50-yard touchdown pass by Gingerich to Damian Demler. A two-point conversion put the Bulldogs up 24-14 and stress began to build both in the stands and on the sideline for Chewelah. A perfect season was at risk and Colfax looked like it could move the football with ease.
And then a gigantic spark hit. With Colfax driving right down to the goal line, they elected to throw a pass that found its way into the hands of Krouse, 100 yards from the the Bulldog endzone.
“I was inside the endzone and read a pass,” Krouse said. “The ball came straight to me and I barely caught it with my fingertips. Then instinct took over and I started running.”And, probably into the history books, as Krouse’s 100-yard interception return for a score not only pulled Chewelah to within 24-20 with 3:20 left in the third quarter but probably will go down as the longest Cougar scoring play from scrimmage.
Chewelah would then take the lead past the midway point in the fourth quarter as Zach Bowman found Nick Franks for a 16-yard pass for the 27-24 advantage with 5:46 left.
Colfax would answer back with a 13-yard touchdown run by Layne Gingerich to go up 32-27 and Chewelah had 2:30 to answer back and remain undefeated. Bowen Middlesworth took the kickoff at least 60 yards down to the 15-yard line.
“They are a good team, they were punching it in, back and fourth,” Krouse said. “We realized we had about 14 yards to go and we kept pushing the ball, we started playing like brothers instead of individuals.”
Bowman passed to Franks for a seven yard pass, Krouse rushed for five yards and then with Snyder Field buzzing like the Sportsman’s on St Patrick’s Day, Krouse pushed the ball over with a three yard run and a Nick Skok kick put Chewelah up 34-32 with 1:20 to go.
VIDEO OF ZACH BOWMAN THROWING A TOUCHDOWN PASS TO NICK FRANKS
Colfax’s response was a flurry of passes, but the Cougar defensive back kept the Bulldog receivers in check and an illegal pass call as time expired ended the game. A celebration, like winning a playoff game, erupted on the sideline, in the stands and on the field. For the first time, having a real crowd at the stadium created a completely different environment.
“That helped our team whole town behind us,” Krouse said. “You could hear them, they were loud.”
Chewelah’s offense was spread out, with Krouse notching 45 yards rushing and 12 yards receiving but if you factor in his interception return, his yards from scrimmage are the highest on the team. Bowen Middlesworth finished with 42 rushing yards and Clayton Jeanneret had 28 rushing yards.
Claybo – Clayton Jeanneret and Zach Bowman combined for 84 passing yards and Nick Franks had three catches for 36 reception yards.
Colfax running back Jacob Brown finished with 93 rushing yards while Mason Gilchrist had another 71 yards. Gingerich passed for 124 yards. Damian Demler caught four passes for 91 yards and a score.
Chewelah’s 4-0 start is the best football season beginning a Cougars team has had in least a decade and possibly more. They will face Liberty next week in the defacto NE 2B Championship Game for the COVID-19 season and then possible crossover action afterwards. No state playoffs will be played.
CHEWELAH 34, COLFAX 32
Colfax 0 16 8 8 – 32
Chewelah 14 0 6 14 – 34
CHE – Kruz Katzer 16-yard run, Nic Skok kick
CHE – Bowen Middlesworth 45-yard run, Nic Skok kick
COLF – Layne Gingerich 10-yard pass to Jacob Brown, run failed
COLF – Safety
COLF – Layne Gingerich 3-yard pass to Kolby Slate, run good
COLF – Layne Gingerich 50-yard pass to Damian Demler, Gingerich run
CHE – Kaden Krouse 100-yard interception return, kick failed
CHE – Zach Bowman 16-yard pass to Nick Franks, Nick Skok kick
COLF – Layne Gingerich 7-yard run, Gingerich run
CHE – Kaden Krouse 3-yard run, Nick Skok kick
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS (UNOFFICIAL AND WRITTEN ON A SMALL NOTEPAD DURING THE GAME)
Chewelah: Kaden Krouse 4/45, Bowen Middlesworth 3/42, Clayton Jeanneret 9/28; Colfax: Jacon Brown 17/93, Mason Gilchrist 7/71, Layne Gingerich – 5/45, Kyle Dail – 8/40
Chewelah: Zach Bowman 4-8/34, Clayton Jeanneret 5-14/50; Colfax: Layne Gingerich 8-22/124
Chewelah: Colfax: Damian Demler 4/91, Jacob Brown 1/30, Kolby Slate 2/8