Chiefs, Bulldogs open gridiron season at home
RONAN – The Ronan Chiefs and the Mission Bulldogs opened the football season on Friday night under the lights, and after implementing COVID-19 guidelines, a limited number of fans were able to attend.
The Chiefs crushed their Northwestern A conference rivals the Browning Indians 42-0. It’s been quite a while since the Ronan Chiefs football team has had a win like the one that came on Friday night. The win was Ronan’s first shutout victory since Oct. 21, 2016, when the then Class B Chiefs beat the visiting Mission Bulldogs, 61-0.
“I am really proud of the team tonight, especially some of the younger guys that we had step up big time,” said Ronan Chief head coach Matt Detwiler.
The Chiefs got out to an early lead with two first-quarter rushing touchdowns, a five-yarder by senior quarterback Daniel Kelsch and a 10-yard run by running back Daniel Bishop.
In the second quarter, two more scores were made with touchdown passes from Kelsch to freshman wide receiver Colter Cornwell and then to senior Trapper McAllister. Ronan headed into the locker room at halftime with a 30-0 advantage.
In the third quarter, Ronan’s defense poured more gas on the fire by holding Browning’s offense scoreless. Points were put on the board after a Cornwell interception returned for a touchdown.
Sophomore James Kenelty snagged a 20-yard pass from Kelsch in the fourth, sealing the 42-0 victory for the Chiefs.
“I thought we performed well but still have plenty of room for improvement,” said Detwiler. “We need to get in rhythm faster to start the game on the offensive side, and our defense needs to keep working on playing downhill.”
The Chiefs recovered five Browning fumbles and intercepted five passes on the night. Defensive lineman Payton Cates finished with one sack and three fumble recoveries.
Kelsch set the offensive tempo for the Chiefs, rushing for 38 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Kelsch also completed nine of 19 passes for 160 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
During the second game of the night in St. Ignatius, the Bulldogs nearly pulled off a 38-32 fourth-quarter win over the visiting Thompson Falls Blue Hawks.
“It took us a while to settle in,” said Mission Bulldog head coach Tyler Murray.
The Blue Hawks led at halftime 30-6. In the third quarter, Charley Adams scored a touchdown on a three-yard run. The Bulldogs scored 18 fourth-quarter points behind two passing touchdowns from quarterback Kellen McClure to Canyon Sargent and John Komotios, along with a 17-yard rushing touchdown by Bryce Umphrey.
“We put ourselves into a 30-6 hole at the half,” said Murray. “When you play a team like T-falls that runs the ball almost every play, it’s hard to come back from that, but I have to hand it to our kids they never quit.”
McClure completed 21 of 32 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns, while Komotios hauled in nine receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.
Due to the uncertainty about the possibility of playing a full season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bulldogs held a recognition ceremony for their seniors. “We wanted to make sure they got recognized and didn’t miss out on senior night,” said Murray.