Chinook's comeback produces a new star
CHINOOK — Coming into Saturday's historic semifinal win over the Power-Dutton-Brady Titans, Chinook freshman Zach Molyneaux was really waiting in the wings for his chance to have an impact on the Beeters' vaunted rushing attack.
And that's only because his older brother, Tyler Molyneaux came into Saturday's 28-26 come-from-behind win as the leading rusher in Class C football, and he, along with junior Ben Stroh are the best two-back tandem in eight-man football.
But after Saturday, that tandem turned into a trio as the younger Molyneaux helped run Chinook into the history books by scoring two touchdowns, including the game-winner. In his biggest game of his young career, Zach Molyneaux picked up 122 yards on 18 carries as Tyler was sidelined for much of the game with a reoccurring leg injury.
"I just did what I could to help the team," Zach Molyneaux said following Saturday's remarkable performance. "They needed me to step up."
While the younger Molyneaux might not yet realize just how crucial his contributions were on Saturday, Tyler, as well as his father, Chinook head coach Matt Molyneaux certainly did.
"That's a freshman football player in his first year of his high school football and he's pulling that off in the state semifinals," Tyler Molyneaux said. "It was an incredible performance by him and we needed it. We needed him to step up.
"We've been working with Zach all year because there's always a possibility we would run into a scenario like this," coach Molyneaux added. "And when Tyler's leg was still sore this week, and we weren't sure, we knew there was a chance Zach would have to step up, and he did today. He's got real good quickness and he gets to the edge really quick and we knew that would be something to our advantage with him in there.
"He's not quite as fast as Tyler, but he's got really good quickness and he showed that today."
When the elder Molyneaux came up sore early in the first stanza, it almost seemed to inject life into the Titans, who went on to a 26-6 halftime lead. But they weren't prepared for a freshman to come in and steal the show, and behind Chinook's massive and veteran offensive line, the freshman helped blaze a trail for the Beeters, right into the state championship game.
"All of the credit goes to the line," Zach Molyneaux said. "What a great job they did all day. They always do."
But Molyneaux's contributions to Chinook's win certainly weren't a big surprise to some. After all, he's been one of Chinook's starting cornerbacks all season, and he's been an all-conference type defender throughout. And he was again on Saturday, shutting down P-D-B's Tiegan Johnson in the second half, after Johnson torched the Beeters several times in the first 24 minutes of the game. And while his game-winning TD was something special, his late interception with just under four minutes to play was truly one of the biggest plays of the day.
"Zach has been somebody we've relied quite a bit on all season," coach Molyneaux said. "He's been starting on defense all year for us and he's been doing a really good job. So we already knew that he's a good football player and he was capable of helping this team win."
A good football player indeed. But his performance after being unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight in the biggest stage of his young career cannot be understated.
"It's huge," Tyler Molyneaux said. "How about that performance by a freshman, when we really needed it the most. It was really incredible."
Chinook will now play for its first-ever state championship in football when the Beeters take on Wibaux this Saturday in Chinook.