Cougars will host River View
The 2012 season continues for the Chewelah Cougars (9-1, 6-0) after a thrilling 26-20 win over the Okanogan Bulldogs last Friday night at Snyder Field.
The Cougars broke out to an early lead, but defensive adjustments by Okanogan kept Chewelah from breaking many big plays. The Bulldogs allowed only one touchdown after a big Chewelah first quarter. Chewelah’s defense played tough and the offense was able to hold the ball and run the clock for much of the game.
Chewelah head coach Jim Fisk feels his team may understand what it takes to win in the playoffs.
“November football is different,” Fisk said. “You’ve got to get in there, hunker down and fight it out if you’re going to win. It was a big step for us to win a big game like that.”
Once again, the Cougars’ offense ran through quarterback Derek Smith, and despite having an Okanogan defender assigned solely to shadow him, Smith finished with 137 yards rushing, 116 passing, two scoring passes and another one rushing.
Cordell Bean added 70 yards on the ground. Bean also had five receptions for 31 yards and two touchdowns.
The spy on Smith limited the Cougars big plays, but they were able to get the job done according to coach Fisk.
“Derek was a little out of synch, but offensively, we weren’t too bad. Losing (Trey) Barnett didn’t help, but we managed to pull through. We made a few mistakes, but we also created a few mistakes too.”
Cougars lose Barnett to leg injury
The Cougars lost senior tight end/linebacker Barnett for the rest of the season to a leg injury during the game.
Late in the game, with the Cougars holding onto a six-point lead, the defense came up with a big stop on fourth and four, allowing the Cougars to run out the clock.
“The defense did what they needed to do,” said coach Fisk “They gave us the ball back at the end and we got three first downs to end the game.”
The victory for the Cougars moves them on into the State 1A football playoffs as the no. 1 seed for Districts 6 and 7.
SATURDAY AT HOME
On Saturday Chewelah will face the River View Panthers (9-1, 5-1) of the South Central-East 1A.
The Panthers floated the idea of moving the game to Spokane to reduce their travel time, but coach Fisk was not moving the game under any circumstances.
“That’s the advantage of being the no. 1 seed,” Fisk said. “If you win, you get to play at home. You don’t want to give that advantage up.”
When Chewelah lines up against River View, there may be a sense of déjà vu, on both sides of the ball. The Panthers look very similar to the Cougars.
“River View is almost a carbon-copy of us,” said Fisk. “On offense, they look to spread you out. On defense, they run the same 4-3, cover 2 that we have.”
Saturday’s game against River View kicks off at 1 p.m. Game time weather conditions are expected to be sunny and cold, with a predicted high of 32 degrees.
The game against Okanagan started off fast for Chewelah.
Bean hauled in a five-yard Smith scoring strike for the first score of the game. The kick was good and the Cougars led 7-0 early in the first quarter.
Okanogan wasted little time answering. The Bulldogs tied the score on a 45 yard TD pass from Clay Ashworth to Jason Perez with 8:38 remaining in the first quarter.
On the Cougars’ next possession, the hosts drove 80 yards, using five-minutes of clock and capping the drive with a one-yard Smith run. The Ty Curtis kick was good and the Cougars led 14-7.
The Chewelah defense set up their third score of the quarter. On Okanogan’s next possession, Dustin Crowell intercepted a tipped Ashworth pass, giving Chewelah the ball at the OHS 29.
The Bulldogs’ defense stiffened and Chewelah faced a fourth and 11 at the 30. But McKenzie Miller hauled in the Smith pass and raced 30 yards to the end zone for the score on the big fourth down conversion. The Curtis kick was hooked to the right and the Cougars led 20-7 at the end of the first quarter.
An Okanogan interception on a tipped Smith pass set up the Caribou-Trail League team’s second touchdown.
On first and 10 from their own 30, the Bulldogs completed a 59-yard pass play to Justin Rivas, giving the Bulldogs first and goal at the nine. Okanogan finished off the drive with a three-yard run by Tyler Morris. The kick was no good and the Chewelah lead was cut to 20-13 at the half.
In the second half, Chewelah forced an Okanogan punt on their first possession of the third quarter and took over at their own 37-yard-line. The Cougars drove downfield and with 7:36 left in the quarter, Bean scored on a five-yard run. The two-point PAT was no good and the Cougars led 26-13.
Okanogan drove 70 yards for their next score, punching the ball into the end zone on a five- yard Rivas run. The extra point was good and the Chewelah lead was again cut to six at 26-20 with a minute remaining in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was scoreless until Okanogan, with time running out, attempted to convert a fourth and four at their own 39-yard-line with 2:30 left in the game. An Ashworth pass was broken up and the Chewelah offense took over and ran out the clock.