On the first play of Friday’s annual Green-White scrimmage, Dyson Cheney broke free from a scrum in the middle of the field and sprinted 60 yards toward the east goal line.
Noel Reynolds made a touchdown saving tackle at the 10, but the Cheney’s run set up a field goal for the Green on a night when Belgrade gave fans a glimpse of its new run oriented offense.
It was the first action for Cheney, who later scored the Green’s lone touchdown on a 70-yard run, since being knocked unconscious in a playoff loss to Custer County last November.
The senior quarterback carried the ball nine times for 143 yards, but the White won the scrimmage 22-10.
“After that scary injury he had last year we were kind of curious how he was going to handle the hits and he looked really good,” Belgrade coach Eric Kinnaman, who is beginning his 13th season at the helm, said. “His balance and acceleration, and his running and his vision looks great.”
Quarterbacks were the highlight of the 52-play scrimmage. Sophomore Kash Fike guided the Green to victory after rushing for 114 yards on 12 carries. He scored on touchdown runs of 50, 1 and 3 yards, and completed 4 of 7 passes for 31 yards.
“Kash came into camp a little bit rough, but I tell you what tonight he really picked things up and looked really good,” said Kinnaman. “So we have two really good running quarterbacks and that’s what we need out of this offense.”
As for who will be starting under center in the team’s season opener at Butte on Aug. 30, well that has yet to be determined. Although it’s possible both players could see action.
“I don’t foresee it as of yet. Just the way the season will progress will determine whether they both see some playing time or not,” said Kinnaman. “We’re going to be running the ball a lot and the quarterback’s going to be seeing a lot of touches, so we may have to see a dual threat quarterback or two quarterbacks back there.”
Defensively, the Green team forced a pair of turnovers. Junior Leif Heckmann sacked Cheney and forced a fumble, while Reynolds capped the scrimmage with an interception of Cheney.
While the offense stole the show with several big running plays, Kinnaman was pleased with the defensive performance on both sides as well.
“Our defense is there. Obviously we mixed up the teams a little bit tonight. We never scrimmage our ones versus our twos, but our defense is there,” he said. “We ran a couple of different packages. We ran a three front and a four front packages. We got some things to work on as far as gap control and where our alignment is. Our defense starts everywhere with alignment, so we got some alignment issues that we got to take care as well.”
John Mears booted a 23-yard field goal and was 3 for 3 on extra point attempts. The senior also rushed for 21 yards for the Green.
“We have some really good running backs — Johnny Mears, Alex Casas and even some sophomores, Evan Major,” said Kinnaman. “We’re missing a running back, Riley Burman. He didn’t scrimmage tonight, he’s a little banged up, but we have some good running backs. Just with the style of offense that we’re running we have got to have people that can hang on to the ball and be able to run tough and physical.”