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Chiefland overcomes miscues in preseason win

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Indians prevail 14-7 in dress rehearsal at Bell

By Sean Arnold

It took just two plays in the preseason classic at Bell for Chiefland to showcase its new offense in a big way.

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Sophomore quarterback Ty Corbin rolled right to find junior Hunter Barrand for a 47-yard completion, setting up a 35-yard touchdown run by USF commit Brian Norris Jr. on the Indians’ second offensive play of the game.

The offense went on to churn up 201 yards in the first half.

But CMHS got in the way of its own progress for much of the night, compiling 124 yards on 12 penalties, while coughing it over to Bell on three turnovers, including once inside the BHS 15-yard-line.

Those miscues – and a sturdy rushing effort by Bell – helped keep the game close until the end, eventually leading to a 14-7 win over the Bulldogs at Boneyard Stadium in Bell after a final stop by the Indian defense.

The mistakes were of the variety you might expect from a team introducing a large mix of first-time players, and playing on a wet turf no less. Bell fumbled the ball three times but lost just one, while CMHS lost three of its four fumbles.

“We just couldn’t get out of our own way tonight, from the fumbles to the penalties,” first-year CMHS coach Adam Gore said. “That’s part of the game. We didn’t play with a lot of self-discipline.”

Bell took advantage of a short field on the back of Chiefland’s second turnover as it drove 36 yards on nine plays to knot the game at 7-7 on a John Weston Powers 2-yard score with 34 seconds remaining in the opening half.

A high snap on a Bell punt attempt set up a 36-yard TD drive by CMHS in the second half, capped by a 1-yard scoring run by sophomore Jarrett Jerrels. Jerrels, an incoming transfer from Williston, ran it six times for 20 yards on the drive.

Bell figured to start a drive with good field position midway into the fourth after tipping a Chiefland punt, but was set back on an illegal block penalty on the return. CMHS gave it back on a roughing-the-passer penalty, setting up a 45-yard Bulldog drive that stalled at the Indians’ 25.

BHS then tipped another Chiefland punt before final drive to take over around midfield with 2:08 remaining. Moments after a sack by Indians sophomore Brandon Bowers, Bell reached the Indian 20-yard-line on a defensive pass interference call.

The Chiefland pass defense rose to the challenge, deflecting a pair of balls in the end zone, before the Indians halted junior quarterback Johnathan Wells on a scramble as time ran out.

Wells was making his first varsity start behind a senior-led offensive line. Corbin made his first varsity start for the Indians while sharing time at quarterback with Wyatt Hammond.

“We didn’t want to put too much on his plate until there toward the end when the clock was working against us,” Bell coach Joey Whittington said of Wells. “I thought he handled the game well for us, managed the offense, and made the right reads when he threw it.

“Hats off to Chiefland and (Coach) Adam (Gore) over there, they played a hard game, defensively and offensively, running the ball hard and playing good defense. We knew it was going to be a good old-fashioned slobber-knocker, and the scoreboard didn’t go our way in the end.”

Norris paced the Indians with 110 yards on 12 touches, while fellow senior Tramaine Brown chipped in four carries for 18 yards.

Corbin was 3-of-5 passing for 95 yards, while Hammond hooked up with newcomer Kirk Williams for a 22-yard diving catch. Junior Aidan Horne hauled in a 20-yard completion over the middle from Corbin.

Bell ran 21 more plays than Chiefland and was called for just five penalties. The Bulldogs ran the ball 45 times for 147 yards. CMHS’ average was better, at 153 yards on 30 rushes, and the Indians were more efficient in the air, attempting eight passes for 129 yards.

Powers ran for nine or more yards on four of his first five carries in the first half.

Gore said the Indians need to make some adjustments in scheme to shore up their run defense.

“We really put (Bell) into a situation it’s really good at, and that’s just kind of grinding it out,” Gore said. “Hats off to Bell, they played a heckuva game.

“We’ve got more we can do, but (being limited) really forces us to get in a fistfight, and that’s kind of what we want right now, because we’re such and young team and we’ve got to be able to handle that.

“We’ve got to grow up fast, because this season is not going to wait for us to grow up. You try to speed it up, but it’s a process. I always say, ‘Trust the process.’”