CHELAN — Entering the season, first-year Chelan football coach Travis Domser knew that he’d be inheriting a program full of mentally tough players.
The Goats’ mental toughness was tested last week. Chelan let a 16-point second-half lead dispappear against Cashmere last Friday, only to rally late but lose by one point after a failed two-point conversion with less than 30 seconds left.
Losing in that manner to an arch-rival could’ve crushed other squads, but the Goats didn’t let that setback deter them. Instead, they responded by playing even better Friday against a good Cascade squad at Sargent Field, and this time, they didn’t put themselves in a situation to allow a late comeback.
Chelan’s resounding 33-20 win indicates that the Goats (2-3 overall 1-2 CTL) are certainly capable of being one of the Caribou Trail League’s best teams, even though they entered the contest with an 0-2 league mark.
“The kids deserve this feeling,” Domser said. “I knew (our kids would) bounce back; they’re so resilient after all they’ve been through (during the last two years). We just needed to have short memories.”
The Goats won because their running game was absolutely unstoppable. They rushed for 388 yards, including 245 from Kai Clausen.
As Chelan’s players become more and more comfortable with Domser’s systems each week, the coaching staff responds by adding new wrinkles; on Friday, the Goats had massive success with the read-option and ‘wildcat’ plays that they ran for most of the contest.
And the Goats’ offensive line — led by senior Asa Schwartz — was completely dominant.
“Kai made a lot of big plays,” Domser said. “With execution comes the (ability) to play up-tempo and throw in some different looks. The credit goes to the offensive line; they all work together, they make their checks, and they’re very smart. We’re playing a physical brand of football.”
The Kodiaks (3-2, 2-1) certainly aren’t used to getting pushed around on the line of scrimmage like they did against the Goats.
Dennis Merritt rushed for 170 yards, but Cascade committed four turnovers, including three in the first half as Chelan took a 19-7 advantage.
“We came out flat,” said Cascade coach Elia Ala’ilima-Daley. “We didn’t have the attitude that we normally have, and they beat us up. Maybe we were believing the hype (that was surrounding us). I told the kids that how they respond to this is where their character will show. We’re still one game out of first place, as far as I know, and still ahead of Chelan in the standings, so we control our own density. We have the tools to win. We just need to prepare like champions.”
Cashmere 55, Tonasket 6
Cashmere (4-1, 3-0) put together a complete team effort and dominated every facet of the game for a lopsided win over Tonasket (2-3, 0-3).
Cashmere set the tone early with a 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Rex Pittsinger and scored twice more to make it a 21-0 contest at the end of the first quarter.
The Bulldogs continued to score at a torrid pace and went into halftime with a 49-0 lead.
“Our boys played their best game of the year so far,” coach Phil Zukowski said. “The first half, they were firing on all cylinders.”
Quincy 18, Omak 0
Quincy beat host Omak in a defensive battle to run its CTL record to 2-1 (2-3 overall).
“It was a defensive battle,” Omak (0-5, 0-2) coach Nick Sackman said. “It was 6-0 going into the fourth. There was hardly any big plays.”
Okanogan 41, Brewster 7
Okanogan (5-0, 3-0 CTL) delivered a beating at Memorial Field, taking a 34-0 lead after the first quarter.
“(Justin) Rivas tore us apart,” Brewster coach Jake Johanson said, “just by running. He ran the ball all night.”
Brewster’s touchdown came from Mitch Boesel’s 80-yard pass to Cade Smith in the third quarter.