past Kettle Falls
The keys for the Chewelah Cougars (4-1, 2-0) coming into last Friday afternoon’s game against Kettle Falls (0-5, 0-3) were to take control early, keep mistakes to a minimum and get through the game healthy.
The Cougars accomplished all three goals, dominating the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball on their way to a 36-6 victory.
“We played up,” said head coach Jim Fisk. “You have to play at a high level all the time in our league.
“Overall, we did a good job; we didn’t make any glaring errors.”
Chewelah was able to run the ball whenever they wanted, gaining 273 yards on 38 carries. But there were some issues in the passing game.
Derek Smith, last week’s WIAA State Athlete of the Week, only completed eight passes for 88 yards and was sacked six times by a hard rushing Kettle Falls defense.
“Kettle came hard off the ends to get to Derek,” said Coach Fisk. “They were blitzing lots of guys and took the screen away from us early, but that left the perimeter open and we used our team speed to our advantage.”
After building a big lead in the first half, the Cougars started replacing starters early in the third quarter, looking to stay healthy for the upcoming game against Medical Lake.
“Their kids play hard and they’re young,” said Fisk. “I know what it’s like to be in these situations. I was happy with a victory over Kettle Falls and getting out of there healthy for next week.”
The Cougars were led in both rushing and passing by Smith, who had 15 carries for 140 yards and two TD’s, while also completing 8 of 21 passes for 88 yards (one interception). Cordell Bean ran five times for 38 yards and two touchdowns. He also had three receptions for 58 yards.
This week Chewelah travels to Medical Lake (5-0, 3-0) and coach Fisk hopes he will have the Cougars prepared for the upcoming battle against the Cardinals, who have obviously enjoyed their move down to Class 1A from the Great Northern 2A circuit.
A share of first place in the Northeast A League will be at stake in Medical Lake.
“We have to forget what we did last week and focus on this week,” Fisk said. “We will have to step up for a quick and physical opponent.”
Kickoff is 7 p.m. in Medical Lake.
The game started out with a bang for the Cougars when McKenzie Miller took the opening kickoff up the right sideline 90 yards for a touchdown. With the extra point, Chewelah led 7-0 with only 14 seconds off the game clock.
The Cougars fumbled on their next possession, giving the Bulldogs the ball on the Chewelah 34. But the Chewelah defense pushed Kettle Falls backwards, eventually sacking quarterback Connor McKern for a 15-yard loss on a fourth and 16 passing attempt. Chewelah took over at the Kettle Falls 45-yard-line.
Chewelah wasted no time moving the ball downfield, scoring on a one-yard Smith run with 2:06 left in the first quarter, Smith also scored the two-point conversion and the Cougars led 15-0.
A great kick return to the Chewelah 30-yard line placed the Bulldogs in good scoring position again, but the defense stepped up and stopped Kettle Falls in four plays, taking the ball over at the same 30-yard line.
On first and ten, Smith ran 63 yards, taking the ball to the Kettle Falls seven-yard-line line to end the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Bean scored on a seven-yard run and with the extra point the Cougars led 22-0.
After another Kettle Falls punt, the Cougars set up shop on their own 34-yard-line. On third and six at midfield, Smith ran around the right side for 49 yards and another touchdown. The Ty Curtis kick was good and the Cougars were in total control 29-0 with 7:53 left in the half.
In the fourth quarter, Smith intercepted a halfback pass at the Kettle Falls 41 and four plays later, Bean ran 31 yards for his second touchdown of the game. The Curtis kick was good and the Cougars led 36-0.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard with 5:34 left in the game when tailback Brandon Thomas capped an 11-play, 70-yard drive with a three-yard run for a touchdown. The two-point play was no good.
The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Chewelah and the Cougars were able to run out the clock on their fourth straight win.