Havre Daily News Sports Writer
David versus Goliath - that pretty much sums up Saturday's Class C quarterfinal playoff game between Chinook and Drummond. Chinook is David, with nothing more than a slingshot, a rock and a prayer against the mighty Goliath, in this case, the Drummond Trojans, who are the giants of Class C football.
Both teams come into this game unbeaten, but the comparisons stop there. Not that Chinook should feel bad about this. They are in the same boat as just about every other football team in Class C. Drummond has won the last two Class C state championships, and is in the midst of a remarkable 32-game winning streak.
Yet, every team has an Achilles' heel. All the Beeters have to do is find Drummond's. Besides, when David and Goliath did battle, wasn't it David who came out on top?
Chinook comes into the game fresh off a dramatic, 51-49 come-from-behind victory over Power-Dutton-Brady. Although pleased with the win, Chinook head coach Matt Molyneaux knows his team will have to play better to beat Drummond.
“We have had a real good week of practice,” Molyneaux said. “We are going to go with a few different looks on defense. But mostly, we are just going to stick with what got us here.”
What got Chinook to this point has been its explosive passing attack, led by quarterback Adam Hayes. Under the leadership of Hayes, the Beeters have developed into one of most potent offenses in Class C football, averaging more than 40 points a game. So when Molyneaux talks about staying with what got them there, he means Adam Hayes will be throwing the football, a lot.
“Adam Hayes' play is definitely going to be a big key for us,” Molyneaux said. “He needs to make his reads, recognize the defense and make good throws.”
Another player who must have a big game for Chinook to be successful is running back/wide receiver/return specialist Chad Beck. The senior is not only Chinook's main threat running the football, he also is a big playmaker in the passing game, and is an electrifying kick returner. The Beeters will also have the benefit of finally having a truly healthy Beck, which has not been the case the last couple of weeks.
“We need Chad Beck to have a big game both rushing and receiving,” Molyneaux said. “We need to establish the run and not be one-dimensional. It is also important that we get Chad going in the return game. If we can get him involved and get some good field position out of it, that will definitely be a big help.”
The Beeters will also need other players to step up, as Tad Darah and Matt Finley did last weekend against PDB. Darah caught four touchdown passes, and Finley caught a huge 69-yard touchdown pass late in the game.
“We have had different guys stepping up for us all year,” Molyneaux said. “And Saturday is going to have to be no different.”
Even though his team may seem overmatched, Molyneaux thinks his spread offense may give Drummond some problems.
“In their league, they don't see a lot of what we do,” he said. “We feel we can score, and score quickly.”
The Beeters will also have to deal with something they are not used to seeing, a power running game. Drummond has one of the top rushing attacks in the state, led by running backs Tyrell Cochrell and Chase Reynolds. Both players had big games in Drummond's 50-0 shellacking of Sheridan last Saturday. Cochrell rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown, while Reynolds got in on the act with 139 yards and three rushing touchdowns, as well as a receiving touchdown.
“They have two great running backs,” Molyneaux said. “You are not going to be able to stop them; we just hope to contain them. Hopefully we can force some turnovers and turn the game into a shootout.”
With the trials and tribulations Chinook's program has gone through in the last year - moving down to Class C and canceling its varsity season last year - one might think these kids would just be happy to be here.
They would be completely wrong.
“Our kids are not happy just to be here. Their goal is to win and get to the state title game. They are excited about the challenge of going up against the best. We know that no one probably expects us to win, but we expect to win. These kids expect to win.”
On Saturday, everyone will find out if the story of David versus Goliath holds true.