The Bullpups, who have qualified for the postseason in 13 of the past 15 seasons, improved to 1-0 overall. They will remain on the road Sept. 13 when they travel to Chanute for a neutral-site game against Eureka (1-0) — a 46-6 winner over Leon-Bluestem on Friday. The week two game was moved as the Eureka’s home stadium is still be working on following last year’s tornado that destroyed the venue.
Coming off a 3-6 campaign a year ago, the Chargers dropped to 0-1 overall with Friday’s loss. They will next travel to Leon to take on the Bluestem Lions on Sept. 13.
Friday’s matchup between the two rivals was a bit sloppy with four turnovers and 22 combined penalties. A Cherryvale miscue about a minute into the contest proved costly as the Bullpups took advantage of a Charger fumble on a 48-yard touchdown run by Ben Nunneley to grab a quick 7-0 advantage.
Although the Chargers had another fumble in the opening quarter, they turned the ‘Pups away and made things interesting early in the second period. Down at the CVHS one-yard line, CHS fumbled the ball at the goal line, but lineman Seth Mahurin pounced on the ball in the end zone. The conversion pass failed, though, as the visitors continued to maintain a 7-6 edge.
Caney Valley wasted no time extending its lead. In fact, it took all of 48 seconds for the Bullpups to find the end zone again on a 56-yard sprint to the end zone by Eryk Kyser. Less than two minutes later, the ‘Pups were at it again — this time on a one-yard dive into the end zone by quarterback Trey Richey to push the margin up to 15 at 21-6 not quite midway through the period.
The big play came late in the half. On fourth down and less than a minute to go, Cherryvale decided to fake a punt at its own 32-yard line. The trick play was unsuccessful, giving the Bullpups the ball at the Charger 37 with just 34.5 seconds left. It took all of three players for Caney Valley to find the end zone as Richey weaved his way through and around the Charger defense for 26 yards, diving for the goal line with 5.3 seconds left to give the visitors a 28-6 advantage at the break.
That play basically sealed the outcome for the Bullpups, who scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter on runs of 13 yards by Kyser and 41 yards by Nunneley to push the difference up to 36 with 8:14 remaining in the period. Per Tri-Valley League rules, the remainder of the contest was played with a running clock.
Caney Valley had close to a two-to-one advantage in total yards, finishing with 409 compared to 217 for Cherryvale.
The Bullpups did most of their damage on the ground, rushing for nearly 10 yards a carry at 39 attempts for 386 yards. The ‘Pups had two players go over the 100-yard mark in the game — Nunneley with 160 yards on 13 attempts and Kyser with 134 yards on 10 carries.
Cherryvale quarterback Gavin Hooper completed 10-of-22 passes for 160 yards.
(Photo courtesy of Sheri Thompson)