Clarkston made the long drive to Cheney, convinced that Friday night’s penultimate Great Northern League game was, in fact, a playoff game.
“It was,” junior quarterback A.J. Davis said. “(Cheney was) undefeated. If they won they’d win the league title. We had to treat it like a playoff game.”
It worked. Clarkston not only handed the Blackhawks their first loss of the season, 52-25, the Bantams wrested control of the race for the league championship heading into next week’s regular season finale at West Valley.
Clarkston fell behind early giving up a touchdown on the second play of the game. On the first, Josh Martin rolled right and found Chance Gleave with short pass that was went for 25 yards to the Clarkston 3, where Ty Graham bulled over to make it 7-0 while most of the Senior Night crowd was finding their seats.
After stopping three straight Clarkston drives for little-to-no gain, Cheney got to the Bantams 14 and kicked a 30-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with under a minute left in the first quarter.
And then Cheney saw its momentum slip through its fingers. The ball soon followed and the dream of an undefeated season went soon after.
The Bantams stopped Cheney on fourth down in Clarkston territory, then marched 60 yards for a touchdown to make t 10-7 after Davis found Hunter Hansen with a 13-yard touchdown pass.
On its next possession, Cheney fumbled to give Clarkston the ball on the Blackhawks 32. Davis faked the dive on the next play, then darted around right end and scampered in for the touchdown and a 13-10 lead.
Davis found Hansen again to cap Carkston’s first possession of the second half, getting him the ball in the Cheney secondary, and after the Blackhawks over-pursued, Hansen cut back and scored from 69 yards out.
Cheney scored to cut the Clarkston lead to three points, but that did nothing to check the Bantams momentum.
Davis finished with four touchdown passes and a fifth on the ground.
“That’s my first rushing touchdown,” he said. “That was just a great call.”
“I am so proud of you guys,” Clarkston coach Brycen Bye told his team at midfield after the final whistle. “You were down 10-0, and then outscored the N0. 6-ranked team in the state 52-15 the rest of the way.
“That sets up a huge game for us next week. A huge game!”
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