Timing is everything. And James Sheridan could not have picked a better time to come up big.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior defensive end shot through the “A” gap and blocked a 26-yard field-goal attempt with 49.3 seconds remaining to help Lewis and Clark hold off Cheney 12-10 in a Greater Spokane League game at Union Stadium on Thursday.
The Tigers moved to 3-2 on the season and in league play, while the Blackhawks fell to 1-4.
“The Blackhawks gave us a game tonight,” Lewis and Clark coach Joe Ireland said. “We helped them out by putting the ball on the ground, but we’re very fortunate to get a ‘W.’
“It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll take a win any way we can get it.”
Gentz Hilburn finished with 91 yards on 19 carries, including a 50-yard touchdown run, for the Tigers.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Cheney forced an LC punt and took the ball at its 36-yard line.
Behind dual-threat quarterback Jakeb Vallance, the Blackhawks worked methodically up the field. The drive stalled after 14 plays at the LC 9, and senior Joshua Bingham lined up for potential winner.
Instead, Sheridan broke through for the block, the Tigers fell on it and took the victory formation.
“He can do a lot of things,” Ireland said of Sheridan. “He’s a good athlete, and I’m just glad it worked out for us.”
Cheney started out strongly.
Late in the first quarter, the Blackhawks recovered a Hilburn fumble at their 47. Vallance ran for 11 yards, then hit Bingham for another 11 yards to get into the red zone.
On second-and-9 , Vallance found Micah Ragaza-Bourassa in the flat for a 10-yard touchdown pass and 7-0 lead.
After trading punts, LC took over at the Cheney 34. LC quarterback Cooper Jeffries took a bootleg down to the 10. Two plays later, he ran the same play to get into the end zone from 6 yards out. The snap on the extra-point try got away, and the Tigers trailed 7-6.
On the next series, Vallance found Kordell Laher along the sideline for 39 yards to the LC 41, then again for 18 yards down to the 16. The drive stalled, though, and Bingham drilled a 27-yard field goal to put Cheney up 10-6 at halftime.
Lewis and Clark turned to Hilburn under center on its second possession of the second half. On his second carry, Hilburn burst up the middle, broke a tackle and went 50 yards for a touchdown. There was another bad snap on the PAT, and the Tigers led 12-10 with just over 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
“I wouldn’t even call it a Wildcat (formation),” Ireland said. “There’s just certain plays we know are better that he runs really well. We were struggling, (Cheney was) doing great things. We said, ‘Welp, we gotta try something different.’ “
The Blackhawks moved into Tigers territory, but Vallance tried an underhanded pass while being wrapped up and Tyrese Hokoana made a jumping interception along the sideline and returned it to midfield. But the Tigers went backward and kicked it back to the Blackhawks, setting up their long drive before Sheridan’s heroics.
Vallance went 14 of 20 for 119 yards through the air and carried 22 times for 100 yards.
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