Saturday, June 19, 2021

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Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves fall to Omaha Nation Chiefs

The All Nations matchup between the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves (Ohitika) against the Omaha (Umonhon) Nation Chiefs took place on April 20 on a breezy 77 degree day. The match on the CEB High School gridiron at the Milsord Yells Eagle Stadium wound up going to the visitors from Macy, Nebraska. The Chiefs rolled over the Braves 38 to 0.

The Chiefs came in with a 1 and 1 record – beating McLaughlin 68 to 28 and losing to Tiospa Zina 0 to 44. The Braves had a 1 and 2 record – beating Marty Indian 20 to 14 and losing to Winnebago 0 to 52, as well as to Tiospa Zina 0 to 46. Both coaches hoped this game would be the turning point for their squads as they headed into the playoffs.

Chiefs’ coach Matt Hundnall and Braves’ coach Larry Elwess both set the goal to use this game to improve their teams’ play and season up their athletes. Each believed their team had a balanced attack – passing and running – and they looked forward to executing their game plans. Unfortunately, the Braves sputtered right out of the blocks and never gain momentum until the very end of the contest.

The Chiefs got the ball first and when their offense ran onto the field to commence their first possession of the game, they made the best of it because within nine plays they went from their own 36-yard line all the way into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. This drive chewed up five and half minutes. They accomplished the drive on the back of their sophomore running back, Number 10, Todd Stabler, who carried the ball five out of the nine possessions. His last carry from the Braves’ 10-yard line punched the ball over the goal line. Then he followed that up by running in the extra-point to make the score 8 to 0.

Following the Chiefs kick-off, the Braves got the ball on their own 20-yard line. On their very first play from scrimmage they fumbled the ball and the Chiefs recovered it on the Braves’ 14-yard line. In seven plays (one that included a tough Pass Interference Call against the home team) the Chiefs were able to get the ball to the Braves’ 1-yard line, where sophomore running back, Number 10, Todd Stabler, ran it in for his second touchdown of the afternoon to make the score 14 to 0. The Chiefs fed the ball to Stabler again on the extra point try, but the Braves stiffened up defensively and stopped this visitor from Macy, Nebraska abruptly before he could add on the extra two points.

With clock now showing 4:55 minutes left in the first quarter, the Chiefs kicked-off once again. With the Braves starting their second possession from a pretty good spot on their own 49-yard line, it looked like they might have been set up to finally respond to the Chiefs attack. But this eight-play possession was plagued with penalties which cause the red, white and blue team to go the wrong way and eventually led them to turn the ball back over to Omaha.

On a pass play from their own 36-yard line, the combo of Chiefs quarterback, David Romo, to running-back, Chastin Cayou, got the ball to the Braves 35-yard line just as the first quarter expired. When play resumed two big penalties hurt Omaha. When their junior wide-receiver, Number 3, Dallas Mitchell, tried to force his way to the line-to-gain, the Braves stiffened up again defensively and stopped the junior. The ball came to C-EB. The Braves started again with great field position but immediately shot themselves in the foot. They started their third possession of the game with an errant snap. The miscue and another penalty shortened this possession to four plays before the ball went right back to Omaha.

What the football gods give they also take away. On the second snap of the Chiefs’ fourth possession, they fumbled the ball and the Braves pounced on it like a hungry wolf with prey. The shift in momentum did not last long. In the next eleven plays by C-EB there were four penalties, two incomplete passes, and more yards lost than gained. The Braves once again turned the ball back on downs.

Starting from their own 39-yard line, the Chiefs got the ball and managed to get it to the Braves 43-yard line in six plays.  On the seventh play, junior wide receiver, Number 3, Dallas Mitchell, scampered 43 yards on a great run around the right side to get the Chiefs third touchdown of the game. The score was 20 to 0. On the extra point try, Chiefs quarterback David Romo successfully ran the ball in to widen their lead 22 to 0.

With 1:40 left in the second quarter, Omaha kicked off to C-EB and the Braves started their fourth possession of the game from their own 35-yard line. The first half came to an end in three plays after losing three yards.

The Braves started the second half on their own 20-yard line. But they were still sputtering. They lost yards on their first two plays from scrimmage and followed that up with two incomplete passes to turn the ball back over to their guests. With the ball on the Braves own 15-yard line, the Chiefs scored their fourth touchdown in six more plays to make the score 28 to 0. It was Number 3, Dallas Mitchell, who ran the ball in to get his second touchdown of the game.  Quarterback David Romo threw successfully to senior wideout, Number 23 Lyndon Harlan, to get the extra try to make the score 30 to 0.

With 7:01 left to play in the third quarter, the Braves got the ball back on the 20-yard line following a touchback by the Chiefs kicking the ball into the End Zone. The Braves started their sixth possession. It was a quick four plays and out, and Omaha wound up with excellent field position on the Braves own 25-yard line. Five plays later, Number 3, Dallas Mitchell, got his third touchdown from the Braves 17-yard line to further stretch out the lead.  Chiefs junior running back, Number 22, Chastin Cayou, banged in the extra point try to make the overall score 38 to 0. This point total also initiated the Mercy Rule, which meant a Running Clock.

Starting from their own 45-yard line and after the Braves big running back, Number 21 Mahki Hollow Horn rambled and carried defenders a good 20 yards for a first down, the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter of play.  The last quarter did not start any better because the Braves mishandled the ball twice in a row and lost 17 yards.  Three more plays and the Chiefs had the ball back.  After six plays, the Chiefs fumbled the ball themselves and C-EB got it on their 36-yard line.  And then it finally – finally – happened, the Brave put together some plays, showed consistency, and chewed up yardage.

Even though this rally came way too late, it had to give Coach Elwess solace. What he had been looking for in his team all afternoon was indeed there.  In their eighth and last possession of the game the Braves passed five times on the arm of sophomore quarterback, Number 22, Ayden Sampson. Even though two were dropped the three that were caught looked awesome and showed that the hometown boys could shine. Unfortunately, the spark was just too late. But this game is something for Coach Elwess and his squad to build from.

This pandemic has been hard on everyone and not making any excuses, the playing of games in the Springtime after months of remoting learning, under CDC restrictions, scheduling basketball concurrently with football, and having teams travel eight hours one way to play is a grind that should make these young men role models for future Ohitikas to emulate and revere.  

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