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Clayden’s OT goal gives Cheney victory

Steve Christilaw Correspondent

Bada-bing.

An hour into Cheney’s playoff game Tuesday with Yakima’s West Valley, the Blackhawks’ Adam Clayden found himself with an open shot at the Rams’ goalkeeper, but in trying to turn at full speed toward the goal, the senior forward mishit the ball, letting it sail wide left.

Bada-bang.

A minute later, Clayden got a second chance at the same situation. This time, his shot clanged off the goal post.

Bada-BOOM.

Three minutes into overtime, the Rams could not clear a ball at the top of the penalty area. Clayden pounced and rocketed a shot into an open corner of the goal to lift his team to a 2-1 overtime victory in the Class 3A regional playoff game at Cheney High.

“We knew that if we kept on firing at them, sooner or later we’d score one,” Clayden said. “We weren’t all that concerned with their defense. We knew we had the speed to get by them.”

The victory lifts Cheney, 15-4, to a state playoff seeding game at home Saturday against Sunnyside, 15-3, which also scored a 2-1 victory in overtime over Hanford, 14-4. The winner earns a No. 1 seed in the state tournament; the loser a No. 2.

West Valley took the lead early in the contest when Cheney had difficulty clearing a corner kick 16 minutes into the game. Sophomore Tim Bowman found open space at the top of the goal box and slapped home a carom.

“We just put that goal out of our mind,” Clayden said. “We knew there was a lot more game to play after that.”

Patrick Folsom knotted the score when he found open space along the end line and threaded a goal past Corey Wehr in the 21st minute.

“We figured we had better speed on the corners and we took advantage of that all game long,” Cheney coach Steve Davis said.

As it turned out, the only thing that consistently stopped the Blackhawks’ offense was the Blackhawks’ offense. For every breakaway the team managed, it was called offside twice.

Meanwhile, the Cheney defense did an outstanding job handling the Rams. The only way West Valley could attack the Blackhawks’ goal was to lob a long pass over the middle — a tactic Cheney consistently choked off.

“In the past this team has had the reputation for being talented, but underachieving,” Clayden said. “This year’s team is different. I think the difference is that we’ve worked hard and we continue to work hard.”

“This team has heart,” Davis agreed. “Every one of these kids comes to fight.”

Tanner Veillette scored on a breakaway in the final minute to give fifth-seeded Deer Park (6-10) a 4-3 road win over No. 4 Colville (11-6) in a loser-out opener of the District 7 2A tournament. Ross Holman’s pass set up the winning goal. Colville defeated DP twice during the regular season. DP will play at No. 1 Medical Lake (11-5) at 4 p.m. Thursday for a berth to state. The loser will have another chance to qualify for state… . In another district opener, Nick DeGraffenreid scored five times, giving him 26 goals for the season, to carry No. 3 Pullman (12-3-1) to a 7-1 win over No. 6 Lakeside (2-16) at Pullman. The Greyhounds will play at second-seeded Riverside (9-4) at 4 p.m. Thursday for a state berth. The loser will meet the Deer Park/Medical Lake loser for the third seed to state.

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