By Rob Everingham
Both the Chester Coyotes and the Blue Sky Eagles started their march back to the top in Class C, as the pair of defending state champions got wins this weekend in the first round of the playoffs.
The two, however, did not pick up the wins with the ease they picked them up with last season.
The Big Sandy Pioneers also squeezed back into the playoffs, but were not as fortunate, as they had to take on No. 1 Centerville.
The Centerville Miners blanked Big Sandy 48-0 Saturday.
Centerville scored three times in the first quarter to go up 20-0 after one. The Miners scored once in the second to take a 28-0 lead at the break. Centerville scored twice in the third, and once in the fourth to take its first steps toward the top.
The loss finished Big Sandys season with a 5-4 record.
Big Sandy head coach Scott Chauvet said, coming into the game, they just wanted to make it into the postseason. Any success that came after that was icing on the cake.
Blue Sky played on the road Saturday, and faced Reed Point in the first round of the six-man playoffs. The Eagles continued their winning in the postseason with a 45-30 win over the Pirates.
Blue Sky opened with a special teams score as Dain Peterson returned a punt 51 yards for the score.
The Eagles next touchdown came off an Eric Marshall six-yard run, giving Blue Sky a 14-0 lead. Reed Point scored once in the first quarter to cut the Blue Sky lead to 14-6.
It was the same story in the second quarter, as the Eagles found the end zone twice. The first was a 40-yard passing play from Justin Simonson to Joey Stuart. The second was another Marshall score, as he ran in from 30 yards out.
The Pirates again answered with one score, leaving Blue Sky ahead 26-14 at the half.
The Eagles scored in the third off a one-yard passing play from Stuart to Tyler Hutchinson.
In the fourth, Reed Point scored twice, but so did Blue Sky, as Peterson had a 25-yard run for a touchdown, and Marshall picked up a defensive score as he picked off a pass and ran it back 30 yards to regain the lead and the win.
Blue Sky head coach Gregg Wasson said his athletes played well, but had some mental breakdowns on which Reed Point capitalized.
It will be a rematch of last years state title game as Blue Sky squares off against Geraldine in the next round of the playoffs. The game will be played in Geraldine. In the regular season, the Tigers picked up the win.
In Chester, it was a rematch of last years state title game as Power came to town. Again, it was the Coyotes with a 42-38 win.
Power got on the board first, but Chester answered as Jeff Graham ran the ball 22 yards for the score. The Coyotes took the lead as Graham found Brian Schlepp on an 18-yard passing play. Power, though, took the lead back in the second with a score and led 14-12 at halftime.
Both teams scored twice in the fourth, as Sean Weinert picked up a pair of touchdowns. Weinerts first was a 55-yard run, and the second was a 47-yard run. Power converted on a two-point conversion, while Chester came up short, leaving the Pirates on top 30-26 after three.
In the fourth, Chester took the lead on another Graham run, this time for 21 yards, but the Pirates took it back on a Kyle Burgmaier run. The Coyotes answered late, as Graham and Schlepp hooked up a again, this time on a 69-yard passing play that sealed the win.
The Coyotes square off against Medicine Lake this Saturday.
Chester head coach Bill Schlepp said it was a shootout from the start, with both teams playing well on both sides of the ball.
Schlepp said they have four starters back from last year, and other athletes have stepped up to get them where they are.
Schlepp said Medicine Lake is a fairly quick team that likes to gamble a lot. Schlepp said with four good receivers, he hopes to capitalize when Medicine Lake gambles.