Frontier League teams be warned: defending champion Cheney will be difficult to corral this season.
The beefy and athletic Blackhawks had no problems with the Lake City Timberwolves as they made a 28-0 lead at halftime easily stand up in a 42-14 victory Friday in the Washington team’s football season opener.
As for the T-Wolves, it was another painful lesson along a winless road. Lake City fell for an 11th straight time since fielding its first team last year.
And it was a painful defeat in more ways than one. Lake City may have lost its top running back, senior Travis Whiteside, for the season with what was tentatively diagnosed as a broken collarbone.
His backfield mate, junior Brian Ross, sat out most of the second half with an ice bag taped around his right ankle.
The T-Wolves played much of the final two quarters with two sophomore running backs.
Cheney asserted dominance from the opening kickoff. The Blackhawks bulldozed their way through LC’s matador defense, marching 67 yards in 13 plays before Earon Davis scored on a 6-yard run.
Chad Randall, also a talented running back, took a lot of enthusiasm out of the T-Wolves when he intercepted a Dave Nelson pass three plays later and zipped untouched 45 yards for a touchdown.
LC was as much its own enemy as the Blackhawks in the first half. The T-Wolves had several mental breakdowns that resulted in them running plays out of the wrong formations and collecting penalties.
Cheney added a third TD on the first play of the second quarter when reserve quarterback Rich DeMulling, who started in place of Tucker Urdahl, found Abdul Odood on a quick out for a 30-yard scoring connection.
Urdahl just returned from the Babe Ruth baseball World Series, but the Blackhawks didn’t seem to miss the left-handed QB.
Cheney put together its longest drive of the first half for a fourth TD just before halftime. The Blackhawks drove from their 20-yard line, and Joey Medeiros dived 3 yards off right tackle for the TD.
LC came out a different team in the second half. The Timberwolves scored their first TD when Nelson found the short but athletic 5-foot-6 Ben Scharenberg on a 20-yard pass completion.
Nelson hit Scharenberg moments later on a 60-yard connection, and Scharenberg was tackled 4 inches shy of the end zone. Scott Bushnell scored on the next play. Cheney added another TD in the fourth quarter for the final margin.
“I’ll tell you, they (T-Wolves) are much improved over last year,” said Cheney coach Tom Oswald, whose team defeated LC 31-6 last year. “(LC coach) Van Troxel is going to get it done here. Just give him a little time.”
Cheney mulched up and down the field for 376 yards in total offense, 308 coming on the ground.
LC’s Whiteside gained 92 yards on 16 carries before being taken to an emergency clinic for evaluation.
Cheney 42, Lake City 14
Cheney 14 14 7 7 - 42
Lake City 0 0 14 0 - 14
C-Davis 6 run (Collins kick)
C-Randall 45 interception return (Collins kick)
C-Odood 30 pass from DeMulling (kick failed)
C-Medeiros 3 run (Randall pass from DeMulling)
C-Odood 50 run (Collins kick)
LC-Scharenberg 20 pass from Nelson (Keefer kick)
LC-Bushnell 1 run (Keefer kick)
C-Collins 12 run (Collins kick)
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