CHAMBERLAIN -- The Chamberlain Cubs would not be denied this time.
One year after dropping a 13-12 heartbreaker against Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central, Chamberlain pulled away from the Blackhawks for a 26-6 season-opening win on Friday.
“I feel like the seniors stepped up in the that third and fourth quarter, especially after they scored and we kept everybody motivated,” senior lineman Nash Hutmacher said. “We had a couple drives there to score and I can’t be more happy with how the team kept playing.”
A season ago, that might not have been the case for the Cubs. But not this year and not with Hutmacher and his fellow linemen opening holes. Behind the Nebraska commit, the Cubs rolled up 358 total yards and rushed for 251 yards.
“Those O and D lines are big time,” said the 6-foot-5, 305-pound Hutmacher, who had 10 tackles. “We are playing some great football in trenches and that’s where I feel like our games are going to be won is in the trenches.”
It won them the season opener. The Cubs opened up a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, but remained scoreless until the final period. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks crept back into the game and scored on a Cayden Slykhuis-to-Aiden Wormstadt 35-yard touchdown reception.
“We kept battling and we hung in there,” WWSSC coach Jason Kolousek said. “It got 14-0 fairly quick and we hung in there and in the fourth quarter we had the ball down one touchdown late. So I am proud of the guys to battle. We just talked about we need to execute every play and not give up the big plays.”
Those big plays doomed the Blackhawks late. After forcing a turnover on downs with 2:44 left, WWSSC failed to convert a fourth down and gave the ball right back to the Cubs. Chamberlain’s Jasiah Thompson scored a touchdown run to make it 20-6 with 1:15 left. Hayden Evans picked off Slykhuis on the first play of the next possession, returning it inside the 10-yard line. Chamberlain’s Remington Rossow scored the final touchdown to round out the scoring.
“That fourth quarter before the running back hit the line he was already three, four yards down the field and that always takes positive energy for us and the kids did well and they kept after it,” Chamberlain coach Jeff Rademacher said.
In the first half, Rossow sprung loose for an 88-yard touchdown run, which happened to be on Hutmacher’s side of the offensive line. On the opening play of the second half, Marty Ross hauled in a 30-yard touchdown reception from Evans and a 14-0 lead.
Rossow finished with 179 rushing yards, while Ross had 97 receiving yards. Slykhuis had 82 passing yards. The Blackhawks finished with 125 total yards.
Chamberlain (1-0) plays Stanley County on Saturday. WWSSC (0-1) hosts Garretson on Friday.