Cheney rolls Nickerson, readies for No. 1 Andale


By Travis Mounts

This Friday, the Cheney Cardinals and Andale Indians football teams will play a huge game in Class 3A District 7, a contest that will likely determine the district championship.
Last week, the Cardinals had to put that game out of their minds and focus on the Nickerson Panthers. The Cardinals stayed focused and won 48-2.
Cheney jumped all over Nickerson early, scoring on their first six possessions and building up a 41-0 lead at halftime. Special teams delivered early, blocking Nickerson’s first two punts. Carson Middleton blocked the first punt. Colter McDaniel blocked the second one and covered up the ball virtually simultaneously.
Both blocks gave the Cardinals possession deep in Panthers’ territory, and they converted for a 14-0 lead on short touchdown runs by Nash Young and Hudson Ditgen.
Nickerson again went three-and-out on its next possession, and the Panthers’ punt failed to clear midfield. And for the second straight possession, the Cardinals needed just two plays to score, this time on a 14-yard pass from Josh Burdick to Kason Messenger.
The Cardinals needed four plays to score their next touchdown, a 4-yard run by Young on the first play of the second quarter that put Cheney up 28-0.
Burdick threw a 31-yard touchdown strike to Jackson Voth and a 15-yard scoring pass to Colter McDaniel before halftime. Brayden Dribble added a 29-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter for a 47-0 lead.
Nickerson got a safety against Cheney at the end of the quarter to deny the Cardinals the shutout, but the Cardinals were not too worried about that.
“We played a good, focused game,” said Cheney head coach Shelby Wehrman. “I liked the way we ran our plays and blocked. We didn’t make many mistakes.”
That will be a big key this Friday. The Cardinals’ biggest test of the season comes as they head to Andale to face the top-ranked Indians. Last week, Andale shut out the No. 2 team in Class 3A, the Collegiate Spartans, 49-0 in a non-district game.
“You have to be more physical than they are. You have to be faster and stronger, and not make mistakes. We’re going to give it a shot,” Wehrman said.
He added that Andale does not seem to have any weaknesses. The Cardinals believe they can be the team to break the Indians’ multi-year win streak.
“I admire our kids. We’re not going to back down from any challenge. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” Wehrman said. “It’s good preparation for the playoffs. There’s really no pressure on us. It’s another step to see how good we can be.”
Friday’s winner will be the odds-on favorite to win the district. For the Cardinals, this will be their final district game. With only five teams per district in 3A, teams have an extra non-district game; Cheney will play at Halstead. The Indians will travel to Pratt.
A win by any team against Andale will be huge news. The Indians are working toward their fifth consecutive undefeated regular season. They have won three 3A State titles, and their last loss of any kind was to Pratt in the 2018 semifinals.