By Travis Mounts
Big plays in the first and third quarters boosted the Cheney Cardinals football team to a 54-7 win at Belle Plaine last Friday.
The win moved the Cardinals to 2-0, and they have outscored their opponents 92-21 this season. The victory moves the Cardinals into the Catch It Kansas 3A ranking at No. 8, and they are in the “others” category of the Kpreps.com ranking, one of 17 teams at 2-0 in Class 3A.
The Cardinals dropped 21 points on Belle Plaine in the first quarter, and then they scored 33 in the third quarter. The Dragons’ only touchdown came in the second quarter.
“Offensively, it’s coming along. I was proud of the way the boys attacked practice and then carried out the game plan,” said Cheney head coach Shelby Wehrman.
It was a big game for Cheney’s Quincy Thomas, who scored six touchdowns – five on the ground. He had running scores of 8, 6 and 10 yards in the first quarter. He ran for touchdowns of 2 and 31 yards in the third, before catching a 42-yard TD reception from Harrison Voth. Thomas had 99 total yards just on scoring plays.
Voth threw a trio of touchdowns in the third quarter. Before his connection with Thomas, Voth hit Luke Grace for a 57-yard score and then found Logan Bartlett for a 32-yard touchdown. Voth finished the night 8-for-13 for 175 yards.
Cheney had a bigger night on the ground with 226 yards. Voth was the top runner with 120 yards including a long of 64, and Thomas added 78 yards – 57 of them on touchdowns.
Cheney had 401 total yards compared to 165 for the Dragons, who netted just 18 yards rushing.
Grace also nabbed a third-quarter interception that gave Cheney the ball inside Belle Plaine territory. The Cardinals scored their last touchdown on the next play.
Wehrman saw a lot of good things from the defense. He said Blaine Meireis showed a lot of improvement from Week 1.
“He was probably the most improved on defense. He had a really good game,” Wehrman said.
Wehrman also liked the play of his defensive line. He has eight players in two groups that he can rotate in and out, keeping them all fresh. It’s a level of depth many other 3A teams don’t have.
“It’s been a big part of our defensive success,” he said.
Cheney goes to Garden Plain this week for a highly-anticipated Central Plains League tilt. The Owls also are 2-0 and have allowed just 14 points this season. They shut out host Sterling last week for a 14-0 road win.
“I think we’ll see a really good defense this week,” Wehrman said of the Owls.
The Cardinals’ see their key to victory as ball security. Five first-quarter turnovers gave Garden Plain a big lead after one quarter, and while Cheney outscored Garden Plain over the final three quarters it wasn’t enough to get the win.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Gard Field in Garden Plain.