By Jeremy McDonald
HALSEY, Ore.– With most teams finish up their third week of the season, Chemawa found themselves just starting their season Saturday on the road versus Central Linn Saturday afternoon on the road.
It took a while for the Braves offense to gear up behind the running game of Fabian Morales, Francisco Black and Jayden Tillman, but their defense performed well on a short-field as they slowed the running game of the Cobras entering the second half that Chemawa continued to build from entering the second half when their offense finally came around.
Their defense showed some improvement said Zayne Weston, but there’s still work still need to be done as they enter league-play this upcoming Friday versus Colton.
“We’re doing, good we’re improving from last year. We’re getting the tackles and not missing tackles so we’re improving,” said Zayne Weston on the defense as they competed in their first Varsity game in two years. “Just more tackles, don’t miss our tackles.. We’re good though, we’re getting better every week, every day at practice.”
The Braves defense in total forced three fumble recoveries, including one for a scoop-and-score as Valentin Pereda recovered a strip sack from Weston to score Chemawa’s second touchdown of the game in the second half of the game that made it a 39-14 game in the fourth quarter.
“We played pretty good, we played as a team,” said Pereda who added a nice sack in the third quarter for the Braves defense. “We can improve by a lot, we can learn from our mistakes. What we did right, what we did wrong. We can learn from that.”
But, in a way it’s nice to say that the Braves scored some points as it was nearly three-years since even the program has scored a Varsity point even though they scored at the JV-level in 2017.
It was October 15, 2015 when they last scored at the Varsity-level when they scored 12 points against Jefferson the week after their last Varsity win against Gervais before their scoring drought started at the Varsitylevel.
Chemawa started the second half marching down the field with two nicely caught balls from Elijah Ambrosio-Kakarak and Morales, but a fumble turnover five-yards from scoring halted the streak-breaking drive.
But Black’s 32-yard touchdown scamper after Morales’ 36-yard run to finally end the 35-month, 12-game Varsity scoring drought broke the then 31-0 score was the lone Braves offensive strike although they left two other offensive chances out on the table that could have made the 39-14 game into more of a 39-28 game if costly turnovers didn’t slow them down in the second half.
“It was great with the line coming together and blocking better for us. Through out the game it got better and better each time,” said Black on his offense however as they entering a familiar former 3A foe in Colton Friday.
And that’s the thing, as most teams grew up together, Chemawa hasn’t. You have kids from different States most likely coming together to play as one as the majority of teams that they play have that they are playing against. Also too, with kids slowly becoming eligible to play with their required practices being met in the coming days will help strengthen the Braves team further.
“We just need a lot more practice because nine days isn’t that much to put a whole team together. We’re all from different places and we have different styles of football from we come from, so we hope to get it together soon,” said Black of improving moving forward.
And as they load up their bus for the trip back to campus, the coaches mentioned how this was the first time in a while, since that October 16 night in 2015 that they did not have a running clock to go up against at the Varsity level as the Chemawa now looks to end their 11-game Varsity losing streak now.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald