A year ago Cheney needed optimum conditions to achieve desired results in the State AA football playoffs.
This year, said coach Tom Oswald, the worse the weather the better.
The Blackhawks host Prosser at 7:30 Friday night at Eastern Washington University.
It will match the physical Frontier League champions, who would prefer to slug it out, against a team that relies on finesse and quickness.
Both are unbeaten, Cheney ranked third in state and Prosser rated second. Inclement weather and the home field, Oswald reasons, will be to his team’s advantage.
“This weather doesn’t bother me,” he said of the snow and rain earlier in the week. “Having them home is nice, especially if the weather is crappy. It won’t bother us. Last year we needed it dry.”
Prosser brings a team that has won its ninth straight Mid-Valley championship and has the league’s best record despite being seeded second to the tournament because the league is split into two divisions.
“Why we’re not number one is a good question,” said coach Tom Moore. “Why not compare the opponent and record? But the league decided on a coin flip.”
The Mustangs have only one player over 200 pounds, compared to a host of bigger Blackhawks.
“Sort of take our whole lineup, go 5-foot-10, 175 pounds and that’s just about it,” said Moore.
Despite being outsized, Prosser has been prolific offensively. Quarterback Joey Williams has thrown for 1,700 yards and 27 touchdowns to receivers who include Dan Krebs and Matt Hoefer.
Backs Shane Vasile, Adrian Gonzalez and fullback Taryn Hartley have combined to gain as many ground yards.
“This playoff will be like all our games,” said Moore, “our speed and quickness against somebody else’s size and strength.”
Cheney is similar in that Oswald uses as many as 45 players in a game even if his team is larger and physical.
“We try to play a lot of kids,” said Oswald. “I think anymore if you don’t they won’t be around.”
Seven players have divided up most of nearly 2,000 ground yards, including Chad Randall, Joey Medeiros, Earon Davis and John Patterson.
Two quarterbacks, Rick DeMulling and Tucker Urdahl have passed for some 800 yards more, mostly to Abdul Odood.