The Cheney High School varsity football players were ripping up the field doing drills the day before their big homecoming game.
People had pompoms thrown in the back seats of their cars. The marching band was loudly pounding out their game music. The beat echoed across the school fields and into the school classrooms.
Friday marked the homecoming game between Cheney and Medical Lake, a decades-old rivalry. This year the Blackhawks won 56-7. A day before the game, most of Cheney High was, in some form or another, getting ready.
“We’re moving right along and making good progress,” coach Jason Williams said of Cheney’s season so far. In an interview Tuesday, he had a handful of papers detailing the plays Cheney was working on against Medical Lake. Williams said his team is fast and they’re hoping to make the state playoffs. A concern is their team is a bit young, he said.
Junior quarterback DeAngelo Jones is one of Cheney’s stars. He scored three touchdowns against Rogers Sept. 18. Williams said Jones really drives the offense.
“Our linemen are doing really good,” Jones said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do anything.”
Senior wide receiver Sam Shellabarger has also played well, even after cutting his elbow in a fall right before a game. Medical Lake coach Wes Hobbs is also a teacher at Cheney High. All week long he watched Cheney prop up their festivities for the homecoming game, then drove to Medical Lake after school to coach.
Did he ever get intimidated by any of the trash-talking at Cheney?
“Never,” Hobbs said.
Medical Lake is 0-3, but lost two close games early.
“The kids are playing extremely hard – very competitively, with a ‘never-say-die’ attitude,” Hobbs said.
While Medical Lake is down so far, so are their team numbers. Cheney’s varsity team has 53 players; Medical Lake has about 26.
Yet the team plays strong and finishes out their games hard, Hobbs said.
Senior Greg Vaughan scored his first touchdown at one of their first games.
“When I finally got it in, it was so cool to help be a part of it and be a part of the (team) and watch the crowd go crazy,” Vaughan said. He also plays baseball and basketball for Medical Lake.
Back on the field, the Cheney Blackhawks joked around in their lines before they plunged into drill after drill.
Williams said he isn’t just out to teach them the sport. The winning and losing is relative in the broader scheme of life, he said.
“I hope they can get this out of the program – life is not all about winning and losing. It’s about staying steady and staying to the path.”
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