Havre Daily News Sports Writer
CHINOOK - A year ago, nobody would have thought that in late October the Chinook High School football team would be undefeated and hosting a first-round playoff game.
Yet, there they were Saturday, hosting Power-Dutton-Brady in a Class C eight-man playoff game.
Chinook has had to overcome a lot of adversity over the past year, and Saturday was no different. Trailing 49-38 in the fourth quarter, it was gut check time. Lesser teams would have folded, but not the Beeters, not after what they've been through.
The Beeters believed in themselves and what they were doing, and in the end their belief paid off. They scored twice in the final minutes to notch a dramatic 51-49 victory and advance in the 2005 Class C playoffs.
“You have to give our kids a lot of credit,” Chinook head coach Matt Molyneaux said. “They have a lot of confidence in themselves and their abilities. Our kids feel we always have a chance, no matter what the situation.”
Chinook got off to a hot start, jumping out to an early 7-0 lead when quarterback Adam Hayes hooked up with wide receiver Tad Darah on a 14-yard touchdown pass. Chinook then got a big boost in momentum when Hayes returned a fumble 37 yards for a touchdown to put the Beeters up 13-0.
“Adam usually doesn't play defense” Molyneaux said. “But we needed him to play some defense, and he stepped up and made some big plays for us.”
PDB quickly stole the momentum on the ensuing kickoff with a Chad Sievers 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Not long after, Tad Allen hit Logan Schmidt for a 9-yard TD pass, giving the Titans a 14-13 lead.
The shootout was on, as the two teams would go on to combine for 100 points and more than 600 total yards.
The Titans rode the momentum to a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter. After a Chinook touchdown cut the lead to five, PDB answered with a Tad Allen 10-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 49-38 with only minutes remaining.
Facing elimination, Hayes led the Beeters to two scores in the final three minutes. He hit Matt Finley for a 69-yard touchdown to get within five points. Then Hayes scored on a 4-yard run that put the Beeters up for good.
“Even when we were down, we didn't change anything.” Molyneaux said. “We kept doing what we do, and things just started going right for us.”
Hayes led the Beeters with seven total touchdowns, including five passing, one rushing and one fumble return for a touchdown. Hayes hooked up with Darah on four of his five touchdown passes. Chad Beck also contributed with a 60-yard touchdown run.
PDB got big contributions from Jared Allen with four total touchdowns and 153 rushing yards on 15 carries. Logan Manzaneres pitched in with 125 yards on 22 carries.
“Adam Hayes played well, but he has done that all year,” Molyneaux said. “We had a lot of guys, especially seniors, that stepped up big for us.”
Looking back on where Chinook's football program was just last year, to say it was a big win for the Beeters is an understatement. Last season the former Class B powerhouse did not field a varsity football team.
“This win is a big boost for our program,” Molyneaux said. “It's definitely a step in the right direction.”
Chinook will now travel to Drummond to face the two-time defending Class C state champion Trojans. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
Beeters 51, Titans 49
PDB 14 13 16 6 - 49
Chinook13 6 12 20 - 51
CHI - Darah 14 yard pass from Hayes (Whitney Kick)
CHI - Hayes 37 yard fumble return ( Pat failed)
PDB - Sievers 70 Kick Return ( Engellhardt run)
PDB - Allen 7 yard run ( Pat failed)
CHI - Darah 27 pass from Hayes ( Pat failed
PDB - Logan Schmidt 9 pass from Allen (Logan Manzanares run)
PDB - Allen 13 run (PAT failed)
CHI - Chad Beck 60 run (pass failed)
PDB - Allen 32 run (Manzaneres run)
PDB - Jeff Blanchett 19 pass from Allen (Allen run)
CHI - Darah 2 pass from Hayes (run failed)
CHI - Darah 45 pass from Hayes (Whitney kick)
PDB - Allen 10 run (PAT failed)
CHI - Matt Finley 69 pass from Hayes (PAT failed)