Eagar Elks put up spirited fight against Wildcats

EAGAR, Ariz.

The Chinle Wildcats football team last Friday traveled to Eagar to play at the Round Valley Dome for the Elks’ homecoming match. The Elks put up a spirited fight and won the game 62-8.

From the get-go it was a hard-fought battle. The Elks made the first touchdown of the game, then the Wildcats fumbled and the Elks retrieved it and scored again. By the 7-minute mark of the first quarter, Round Valley was ahead 28-0.

Round Valley’s quarterback, Rowdy Rivera, threw to Ryker Marble who ran and made a touchdown. Chinle would fumble during the next play and the Elks recovered it. Rivera made a 15-yard pass to Jovan Ortiz who ran and made a touchdown.

At this point the Wildcats found some resolve and bolstered their defenses, they were able to force a turnover right as the first quarter ended with 42 to 0 Round Valley.

Chinle couldn’t make a breakthrough and made a punt on their fourth down. Once back in possession, Rivera made an astounding 40-yard pass to Ortiz who in turn ran nearly 50 yards and made his second touchdown of the game.

Round Valley’s Kyle Clark also made a touchdown before halftime.

During halftime, Round Valley announced their homecoming king and queen, the king being Jadon Cisco who was playing center that night.

During the third quarter, Round Valley’s Riley Harlan made a touchdown and Chinle’s quarterback Shaydin Tsosie was sacked. However, Chinle started to fight back. After the next kickoff, Tsosie recovered the ball and was about to be mobbed but he threw the ball to Timothy Clark on the other side of the field who was able to run 20 yards before being stopped.

In the final quarter, Luke Jones started leading the Wildcats, running the ball through the defenders, Chinle falling back onto its strength to overcome Round Valley’s speed. At one point, the ball was passed to Garrett Yazzie who ran five yards and was brought down by four Round Valley players.

Twice though, Tsosie lost the ball during two separate plays, both times he recovers but was sacked in the process. Despite this, Tsosie made one successful pass, a 30-yard throw to Clark who got them 10 yards in range of the goal.

It was Jones who broke through the line and made Chinle’s first touchdown. He ran for an extra point and won the team its eight points.

During the final play, Chinle forced a turnover and was in possession of the ball. It was almost lost when Tsosie was sacked and dropped the ball, but Charles Smith was able to recover it before Round Valley could grab it. In the final play Tsosie was sacked one last time before the match ended with Round Valley winning 62 to 8.

It was a hard-fought game inside the dome where the temperature rose and the players felt it, but the Elks celebrated their homecoming victory to an excited crowd. For Chinle, only a handful of fans came out to support them, but they cheered them on nonetheless.

Chinle coach Alan Barwick said he was proud of his players as they continued their push to the very end.

“We played a very tough, extremely competent Round Valley team that I believe will challenge for the 3A state championship,” Barwick said. “Our guys played hard and I’m very proud of our effort. We look forward to a tough game this week against Payson at home.”

About The Author

David Smith

David Smith was born and raised in Chinle, Arizona. He graduated from Chinle High School in 2015 and went on to study journalism at Northern Arizona University. He graduated in the spring of 2020 with his bachelors in journalism and a minor in English. He later moved back home where he is now working as sports writer for the Navajo Times. Contact him at david.smith@navajotimes.com


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