Give a team the ball enough and it’s bound to find any way it can to score.
That was the case at East Valley, where the visiting Cheney Blackhawks took advantage of a high number of possessions and some EV turnovers to run away with a 29-14 victory. The win is the third in a row for the Blackhawks (3-1).
East Valley falls to 1-4.
It was the Knights, though, who got on the scoreboard first when senior quarterback Connor Ramm connected with junior Tyler Sager for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown was set up by a Cheney facemask penalty.
Cheney answered on its ensuing possession. Junior quarterback Josh Martin hooked up with senior tight end Keenan Williams on a 36-yard pass to set up an eventual four-yard touchdown run by senior running back Austin Kline.
Cheney’s Shane Hammel took advantage of an East Valley fumble just minutes later and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown to take the lead.
“This league is so wacky and you never know coming into a hostile environment like this and a well-coached team like East Valley, you never know what you’re going to get,” Cheney coach Bobby Byrd said. “I’m just glad the kids battled.”
Cheney did the bulk of its damage in the second quarter, getting 22 points to create some early breathing room.
The teams traded possessions for much of the first half – a half that saw a total of 13 possessions between the two teams. It was the Blackhawks, though, who took advantage of their drives, and they weren’t rattled by the alternating possessions.
“Kids have to be ready for that, and that’s the fun part about football,” Byrd said.
After an Alex Bowdish 24-yard touchdown reception for the Knights, the Blackhawks answered with a 71-yard touchdown pass to Logan Clayden, who tip-toed down the EV sideline on his way to the end zone.
In the second half, Cheney’s speedy defense was too much for the Knights.
“Defensively, we’ve been disciplined and we’ve been getting the job done all year long,” Byrd said. “That’s kind of the rock on the team as far as it goes. We know we can always rely on our defense, and they’re strong.”
Hammel added a five-yard touchdown for the Blackhawks in the fourth quarter.
The Blackhawks forced the Knights to punt or turn the ball over throughout the second half ensuring the win.
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