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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Isn’t this great?’: Ferris finds offensive groove in 42-28 win against Cheney

By Steve Christilaw For The Spokesman-Review

If all goes according to plan, the Ferris Saxons will look back to the game in their own backyard as the one that marked the beginning of a new era.

On a warm Friday afternoon at Ferris High, the Saxons put on an offensive display and showed some growing grit on defense, beating Cheney 42-28 in a rare game on their home field.

“Isn’t this great?” Ferris coach Jerrall Haynes said at midfield after the sun had dipped behind the school. “We want to play a game here every year. Having a new stadium downtown is great and it’s going to be a beautiful facility. But there’s something special about playing here in front of our fans and our family. There was just a buzz around the whole school about this game.”

The buzz after the game was even better.

The Saxons’ John Olson threw six touchdown passes, two to Fareed Lawal in the first half, to lead a strong offensive showing that seemed to grow with every possession.

Cheney took an early lead despite running just two plays from scrimmage over the first 20 or so minutes of first-half play.

Ferris took the opening kick and marched 65 yards in eight plays. Olson threw a dart between two Cheney defenders and Lawal made a good move to allow his defender to slide past him at the goal line before reaching behind him to make a grab in front of the safety’s face mask for a touchdown.

On the Blackhawks’ second play from scrimmage, Samuel Coffin found Camden Collins behind his defender with a pass that the senior turned into a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown to tie the game at 7. Cheney stopped Ferris at the Saxons’ 32, then blocked the punt and recovered the ball in the end zone to take a 14-7 lead.

Ferris put together a second 65-yard drive to tie the game when Olson hit a wide-open Emerson Munk in the end zone.

The game remained tied for just 14 seconds, long enough for Collins to run the ensuing kickoff back for a go-ahead touchdown and a 21-14 lead.

“We are going to have to do some more work with our special teams,” Haynes said.

Olson tied the game again, hitting Sam Markham for a 50-yard touchdown, then took the lead with another great play from Lawal.

On second-and-goal from the Cheney 6, Olson stepped to his left and lofted a soft pass over the Blackhawks defensive back while the senior laid full out to pull in the catch for a 28-21 lead at halftime.

Cheney tied the game on its opening drive of the second half, but the Ferris defense stiffened and Olson threw touchdown passes to Junior Ramirez and Monk.

“This was the kind of game we needed to have,” Haynes said. “When you are a rebuilding program and you are trying to grow and grow together as a team, you need a game like this. That was a good team (Cheney) and they beat us pretty good last year.

“You could see our kids growing together as the game went on. You are going to make mistakes and it’s going to be embarrassing, but you have to come together and help each other out. That’s what I saw.”