With lots of players contributing, the Chadron High football team improved its record to 3-0 by toppling the host Valentine Badgers 37-0 on Friday night.
Nearly everything went well for the Cardinals, who have outscored their first three opponents 107-7, but were told by Head Coach Mike Lecher that tougher challenges are coming their way.
Lecher warned that the home game Friday night against Gering will be a challenge even though the Bulldogs have struggled the past few years.
No doubt about it, the coach was pleased with the Cardinals’ relatively mistake-free and explosive offense and stout defense that limited Valentine to just four first downs.
The Cardinals had 379 total net yards, averaged nine yards on 31 rushing plays. Five of the touchdowns came on runs of between 21 and 27 yards. Twenty players were credited with participating in at least one tackle.
It took Chadron just five plays to score the first touchdown. The big ones were a 21-yard pass from Justus Alcorn to Xander Provance, a 19-yard winding run by Dawson Dunbar and a 27-yard jaunt to the end zone by Malachi Swallow.
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It was Swallow’s first career touchdown and the first of three he scored versus the Badgers during a breakout performance.
Following the TD, sophomore Blake Rhembrandt booted the extra point, but that was the Cards’ only successful conversion. Rhembrandt made the PAT despite being rammed into almost instantaneously by a pair of Badgers, who were called for unnecessary roughness. He suffered a sprained foot in the collision and may be out of action a while, Lecher said.
After that, the Cardinals scored five more TDs, but failed to make any of their two-point conversion attempts. Lecher said it’s something they’ll work on this week.
The Cards scored again on the final play of the first quarter, when Dunbar caught an overhand toss from quarterback Justus Alcorn behind the line of scrimmage, got a nifty block from Seth Gaswick, and cruised into the end zone.
The touchdown counted as a rushing play and, and Dunbar finished with 13 carries for 173 yards, including a 32-yard ramble to ignite the drive that led to his TD.
The senior tailback also reeled off a 54-yard run to set up the Cardinals’ next touchdown early in the second quarter. Swallow went 22 yards to paydirt on the next play.
The Cards posted two more TDs before halftime. They came on a 21-yard sprint by Alcorn on the first play after lineman Jarek Anderson recovered a Valentine fumble and a 23-yard gallop down the right sideline by freshman Quinn Bailey, making the halftime score 31-0.
Dunbar also had rushed for 23 yards two plays prior to Bailey’s sprint to the goal line.
In addition, Dunbar had a 21-yard run following a short punt by the Badgers to set up Swallow’s third TD of the game, a one-yard dive with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter to make it 37-0.
Swallow had carried the ball just twice for four yards prior to Friday night. Lecher said he knew the junior had talent, and is happy to see him put it together.
The coach noted his team didn’t have as much zip in the second half as it had demonstrated in the opening half, but added that’s not unusual when the halftime score is lopsided.
Valentine’s big play of the game was a 41-yard pass from quarterback Ashton Lurz to Connor Kreutner to open the fourth quarter. It put the hosts in Chadron territory for the first time, but soon fizzled.
The Badgers’ Gavin Sandoz also picked off Alcorn’s extra long pass late in first half and got a 15-yard run by Bryan Keller on the next play. However, time ran out following an incomplete pass.
Gering opened the season with a 14-9 win over Torrington, but has lost 48-10 to Grand Island Northwest and 33-0 to Hastings since them. Kickoff at Cardinal field will be at 7 p.m. Friday.
; CHS; VHS
First Downs; 18; 4
Total Net Yards; 379; 154
Rushes, Yards; 31-281; 27-79
Passing Yards; 98; 74
Passing; 10-14-1; 5-14-0
Return Yards; 59; 67
Punts, Average; 3-30; 8-30
Fumbles, Lost; 1-0; 2-1
Penalties, Yards; 4-20; 6-50
Chadron 14 21 7 0 ---37
Valentine 0 0 0 0 ----0
Chad--Malichi Swallow 27 run (Blake Rhembrandt kick)
Chad—Dawson Dunbar 10 run (pass failed)
Chad—Swallow 22 run (run failed)
Chad—Alcorn 21 run (run failed)
Chad—Quinn Bailey 23 run (pass failed)
Chad—Dunbar 21 run (run failed)
Rushing: Chad—Dawson Dunbar 13-173, Malachi Swallow 6-48, Quinn Bailey 5-34, Justus Alcorn 7-26, Caden Buskirk 2-7, Tyler Spotted Elk 1-minus 2.
Passing: Chad—Justus Alcorn 9-13-1, 91 yards; Broc Berry 1-1-0, 7 yards.
Receiving: Chad—Xander Provance 4-55, Malachi Swallow 4-19, Michael Sorenson 2-13, Owen Wess 1-7, Chayton Bynes 1-4.
Tackles: Chad—Gage Wild 5-5, 10; Rhett Cullers 2-3, 5; Jarek Anderson 3-1, 4; Quinn Bailey 3-1, 4; Ryan Vahrenkamp 2-2, 4; Dawson Dunbar 3-0, 3; Shawn Schremmer 2-1, 3.