Game of the Week: Cheylin bounces back
Published on -9/30/2012, 5:35 AM
By CONOR NICHOLL
REXFORD -- Bird City-Cheylin High School senior quarterback Kenan Reeh thought back to last week's 44-point loss to Wallace County, ranked No. 2 in Eight-Man Division II in the statewide media poll. Cheylin had defeated Wallace County the previous two seasons, but came out flat. It was the Cougars' worst regular season loss since Week 9 of 2008.
"Just didn't get off the bus," Reeh said.
On Friday, Reeh and senior end Joshua Keltz, the team's two captains, worked on keeping the team excited and energetic. During pregame and all throughout the contest, the Cougars were noisy and played physical. Cheylin collected a 36-6 road win against Rexford-Golden Plains in a key Eight-Man Division II, District 6 matchup.
"Just really got to get the boys going," Reeh said. "Just really tried to yell at them and get them pumped for the game."
"We try to be enthusiastic in what we do," coach Max Keltz said. "We think that carries you quite a ways."
Cheylin improved to 3-2, 2-1 district play, while Golden Plains dropped to 2-3, 1-2. Cheylin will play host to Weskan (5-0, 2-0) next week in a game with major playoff implications.
"It just showed us that we are not down, that we are here to play, and we are not backing down from anything," senior fullback Ruben Razo said. "We are going to be here."
The Cougars forced three turnovers and had 11 tackles for loss, including 4.5 and two sacks from Keltz.
"Read the guards on the wing side, and after that, it was pretty easy," Keltz said of the Golden Plains' double-wing offense.
Junior Luis Solis collected three tackles for loss and a sack, while junior Ty Carmichael tacked on two tackles for loss and a sack. Reeh picked off a pass as the Cheylin defense permitted just 217 yards.
"We get to the ball pretty well, and our defensive front is pretty strong," coach Keltz said. "We emphasize defense a lot, because our offense has been sputtering, and we just kind of have to stop them if we want to win."
Senior Andrew Luna, the area's leading rusher, paced the Bulldogs with 20 carries for 144 yards and a 51-yard score.
"Physicality, they hit us in the mouth and we were done," Golden Plains coach Travis Smith said.
Cheylin's physicality helped the Cougars overcome a slow-moving game marked by 27 penalties, eight fumbles (two lost) and two interceptions. Cheylin had 17 penalties for 145 yards. Both teams had one touchdown called back because of flags.
"It is just one of those games where you can't get into a rhythm," Smith said. "So many things on going on. Flags, penalties, fumbles, turnovers. There was no rhythm to the game tonight. There was a lot of dead time."
Cheylin took a 6-0 lead with 4:40 left in the first quarter on an 11-yard pass from Reeh to junior Walker Janicke.
After Luna's run, Cheylin pushed its lead to 14-6 on a 1-yard run from Reeh. Cheylin moved the ball effectively with the option and play-action passes, especially to the right side.
"They were running to one side all right," Smith said. "They were whopping our butts to our defensive left. Just man-on-man. Weight room, that's exactly what it is."
"Especially with option, I am more comfortable going right, I am a right-handed quarterback, so it's a little bit easier," Reeh said.
Golden Plains had a chance to close the gap, but Luna fumbled on the Cheylin 20-yard line.
"That's the turning point in the game, that was huge," Smith said.
Cheylin tacked on a TD with 7:59 left in the first half on a 13-yard run from freshman Devon Janicke. After intermission, Reeh threw a 26-yard TD pass to senior Austin Cobb.
Reeh finished 7-of-10 passing for 118 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. In 15 career starts, Reeh has exceeded 100 passing yards three times, twice against Golden Plains. He rushed nine times for 43 yards, part of a balanced effort that produced 328 yards, including 210 on the ground.
"Smart kid, good leader," Coach Keltz said. "He has improved every week. I growl at him a little bit, he takes it well, and he learns from it."
Keltz wasn't pleased with how the Cougars had run the ball and made some personnel changes for Friday.
He switched Razo from guard to fullback and moved 107-pound junior Eddie Frisbie from fullback to tailback. Frisbie, despite suffering a thigh bruise midway through the game, led the team with 78 rushing yards on 15 carries. He scored the final points on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter.
He also had a 69-yard kickoff return for a score that was called back to the Golden Plains' 36-yard line because of penalty, and two punt returns for 31 yards.
"Did a good job," Coach Keltz said. "Think that will be a position that he'll be pretty strong at."
In the second half, Golden Plains had trouble moving the ball against Cheylin's physical rush and never scored.
"Last game, we came out flat and didn't do quite as well, so this game we came out fired up and won," Joshua Keltz said. "We worked harder in practices and got after it more."