In a game that seemed to have more momentum swings than first downs, the Cheney Blackhawks beat Great Northern League foe West Valley 20-14 in overtime to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Down 14-7 late in the fourth quarter, Cheney quarterback Andrew Graham fought his way in from 5 yards out on fourth down to tie the game.
On the first play in overtime, Graham hit Josh Martin on a 24-yard pass to the 1. Graham then plunged in from 1 yard out as his helmet rolled 10 yards into the end zone.
“I had hands in my face, hands on the ball … we just got fortunate on that one,” he said of his touchdown plunge. “It’s awesome. It was imperative for us to win for us to make the playoffs.”
The bitter loss for West Valley (4-4, 3-2) comes a week after its huge 39-26 triumph over cross-town rival East Valley.
West Valley starting quarterback Austin Lee got knocked out of the game from a vicious hit he took during a sack. The Eagles tried Michael Chan for a while before turning to senior Cole Yeager.
Cheney (6-2, 2-2) took the opening kickoff and drove the ball with tough runs by Austin Kline. Then on first down, Shane Hammel jetted around the right side for a 25-yard touchdown.
Both teams stalled on several drives, keeping both punters busy. The half ended with Cheney up 7-0.
But the Eagles took the ball in the third quarter and drove the field behind the running of Martin Herford, who eventually ran it in from 13 yards out to tie the game.
With Yeager calling the plays, West Valley drove again before Yeager hit Tevin Duke on a 25-yard scoring strike to take a 14-7 lead.
Graham responded with a 59-yard pass to Kline, who got stopped on the West Valley 1-yard line. Three plays later, Graham ran it in from 5 yards out on fourth down to tie the game with just under four minutes to play.
The game went to overtime, where Graham won it with his arm and 1-yard run.
“It was a really hard-fought game,” Cheney coach Jason Williams said. “It was just a great job by our guys.”
Williams said he remembered two years ago in Millwood when West Valley beat Cheney in overtime.
“It was just a hard-fought game … where both teams played well,” he said.