Lind-Ritzville falls 9-0 in home opener against Chewelah

·3 min read

Mar. 1—Lind-Ritzville football fell 9-0 in its home opener against Chewelah on Friday night at Lind-Ritzville High School. The Broncos honored their senior class before the game with a short ceremony on Senior Night.

The Broncos and Cougars traded three and outs early in the first quarter. Lind-Ritzville, backed up by penalties near its end zone, put Chewelah just outside the red zone after a short punt. The Cougars capitalized on the short field position to take a 3-0 lead with a little over five minutes to play in the first quarter.

Both sides went back and forth for much of the rest of the first half before the Broncos drove down near the red zone. Chewelah intercepted a pass from Broncos' quarterback Chase Galbreath with less than 30 seconds to play, grinding Ritzville's scoring drive to halt.

A Bronco fumble early in the second half gave the Cougars possession deep in Lind-Ritzville territory. The Broncos defense held strong near the goal line, and a missed field goal left the score at 3-0 heading into the fourth.

Chewelah got some breathing room late in the fourth as quarterback Zach Bowman completed the 27-yard touchdown pass to give the Cougars a 9-0 lead. The Broncos were unable to respond late as they moved to 0-1 on the season.

Penalties were costly for the young Broncos team all game on Friday night.

Quarterback Chase Galbreath finished with 79 yards for the Broncos on 14-33 passing, with one interception. Galbreath added 23 yards on the ground. Hayden Melcher finished with 20 yards rushing on 10 attempts while leading Lind-Ritzville in receiving with six catches for 43 yards.

Lind-Ritzville head coach Greg Whitmore said it still feels strange kicking off in February, but added that the full moon and cool temperatures made the game feel like a typical fall night.

Whitmore said he's got a young team this season and played a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the season opener. He said making so many mistakes with penalties isn't something a young team can get away with as easily as a senior-led group.

"When we're young, we don't have that kind of margin of error," Whitmore said. "When we get behind the sticks after a mistake, we can't recover."

With a shortened preseason, including a few practices in the gym due to weather, Whitmore said he was pleased with the effort from his guys, given the circumstances. He said the underclassmen will assuredly improve as the season goes on.

Even late into the fourth quarter, the Broncos still had a good shot at coming back to win. But Whitmore said the team just needed a few more big plays and fewer mistakes.

With such a young group, Whitmore said he's focused on just keeping his players hanging in there and motivated through the growing pains and building toward next season.

"We can get this turned around, we've just gotta get their heads up," Whitmore said.

Playing their first game since November 2019, Whitmore said he's still working on getting back into the routine of everything. Moving forward, he said, they will build on Friday's matchup as they move toward next week's game with Northwest Christian.

"It's a short season and we've got a tough team," Whitmore said. "Just keep their heads up and try and get a few wins this season."