It was Homecoming for the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves on Friday, September 24th, and capping off the festivities was their football game against the Pine Ridge Thorpes. The Braves were putting up their 2-2 record against the 1-1 Thorpes, and with C-EB coming off two wins in a row, they were looking to continue on their road to success.
On their first two possessions of the game, Ashten Ganje hit Zander Bowman for touchdowns to not only put 20 points on the board, but make a statement that the Braves were going to roll. Their celebration almost proved to be premature because on the following kickoff, Number 22 Daniel Davis, for the Thorpes ran the ball all the way from his 20-yard line to the house. But to the joy of the hometown fans and anyone else supporting the red and French blue, there was a yellow flag laying on the ground, which nullified Davis’ great runback.
After Pine Ridge turned the ball back over to the Braves and worked the ball down to the Thorpes’ 9-yard line, Ayden Sampson punched it in for C-EB’s third touchdown with 1:15 minutes left to play in the first quarter with a score of 20 to 0.
Pine Ridge struggled to move against the Braves’ defense all first quarter, and the second quarter did not begin any better for them. After losing their possession of the ball at the beginning of the second period, the Braves counted on Zander Bowman to carry the load. The junior running back proved to have more moves than Bobby Fischer playing chess. When this young man gets to zigging and zagging, he looks like a human pinball. Once the Braves got the ball to their 1-yard line they called upon Brock Ducheneaux to finish the job. This stout young man smashed across the goal line to score the Braves fourth touchdown of the evening. When Ashten Ganje hit Zander on the 2-point Conversion Try, C-EB pushed the score out to 28 to 0.
The Thorpes made no headway against the Braves defense, and C-EB got the ball back. On a 9-yard pass from Ashten Ganje to Kanon Keckler the Braves scored their fifth consecutive touchdown of the game. Letting Zande Bowman put the icing on the cake, the score ballooned to 36 to 0. Kickoffs for the Braves are always an adventure. This time when the Thorpe player tried to advance the ball, Number 45 Inyan Rondeau leveled the runner for one of the best hits of the night, if not the best.
Finally, on the Braves’ sixth possession of the game, they fumbled the ball away. It broke up their consecutive streak, but they got out of the rest of the first half without letting Pine Ridge score a single point. Thus, when the third quarter started, the Mercy Rule – Running Clock – was in effect.
The Braves got the ball to start the second half and they worked it all the way to the Thorpes’ 3-yard line. Unfortunately, they could not capitalize on their position and turned the ball over to Pine Ridge. But then the Braves momentum started to roll again. With the Thorpes working basically from their own end zone, Brock Ducheneaux and Isaac Halfred sacked the opponent’s quarterback in the end zone to make the score 38 to 0.
The clock ran constantly – stopping only for time outs and after scoring plays. As the third quarter ended Ayden Sampson scored on a “reserve play” for a 15-yard touchdown run to make it 44 to 0. The 2-point Conversion Try was unsuccessful.
In the fourth quarter with 9:46 left to play, Kanon Keckler intercepted a pass and ran from his own 40-yard line to the Thorpes’ 35-yard line. He was “horse collar” tackled and that penalty moved the ball to the 25-yard line. From there Ayden Samposn, who took over at the helm, passed to Kannon Keckler who worked himself open in the end zone for their seventh touchdown of the game. That score kicked in the other part of the Mercy Rule, which is when a team scores 50 or more points in the second half the game is over, and with the score now exactly at 50 to 0, the game and homecoming festivities were indeed done.
A big shoutout needs to go to the boys in the trenches for Cheyenne-Eagle Butte. Lathan Lawrence, Jaxon Garreau, and Braylee Yellow Owl made sure they controlled the line and gave the backs all they needed to score points. The defensive line was even more impressive because Hudson Neigel, Liam Veaux, El’Wyn Bearstops, and Brock Ducheneaux formed a human wall that stopped the Thorpes’ attack time-and-time again. While the offense line fights up to the point when the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, the defensive line still has to turn and pursue, which is arguably more physically demanding.
Finally, the Ganje/Bowman combination is always great to see, but tonight the hitting stood out big time. Hudson Neigel made his presence felt with some great solo tackles; but the tip of the hat goes to Inyan Rondeau for totally flatting Thorpe’s kickoff receiver.
The Braves take the field again on October 1 when they take on the Little Wound Mustangs for Parents’ Night.