By GRANT MEECH
KWCH 12 Eyewitness Sports
12:11 AM CDT, September 22, 2012
CONWAY SPRINGS, Kan.
When in doubt, Tanner Wood came through.
If they needed a first down, Wood got it. Big tackle; Wood. And when Conway Springs needed a spark against Cheney, he provided it by running back a second quarter kickoff for a touchdown to spark Conway Springs to a 27-14 win over upstart Cheney.
"We needed that," said Matt Biehler, Conway Springs head coach. "And once he caught the edge, it was tough for anybody to catch him out there."
It was the start of a four touchdown performance for the K-State commit, and a stifling second half Conway Springs (4-0) defense that propelled the defending 3A state champions to a home win.
Upstart Cheney (3-1) came in looking for a 4-0 start to their season, and as the second quarter got going, it looked lie they were ready for the challenge. Down 3-0, the offensive line opened up a big hole for junior Cooper Price who busted in for a 22-yard touchdown and grabbed a 7-3 lead.
Following Wood's return touchdown run, Cheney answered back in a big way. Tommy Hill took the pitch and pulled up for Jacob Giefer in the endzone for a 34-yard halfback pass touchdown to go up 14-9, and completely shocked the home crowd.
Cheney finished the night with 122 yards passing to Conway's four. They only threw the ball two times.
"We are starting to get better," saud Cory Brack, Cheney head coach. "This is there first year in the system and the more we get along, the better we are getting. But the offense fought for every yard tonight."
But that was the last time Cheney saw the endzone Friday night. Wood, and the rest of the Cardinal rushing attack were too much for Cheney. Conway answered their score with one of their own, sparked by a good 37-yard run from Dakota Finstad, setting up Wood's go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run. They took a 15-14 lead into the locker rooms, and held to their lead the rest of the game.
"(Wood) runs hard and I think as the game goes on, he runs harder," said Brack. "And hats off to Conway Springs tonight. I said (before) that we had to match them, and I thought we did, but we came up short."
Woods busted off a 30-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to boost their lead to 21-14. From there the Conway defense shut down Cheney's offense, holding them to less thsan 50 yards in the second half.
"We just focused on a few keys were missing early on with our defense," Biehler said. "The kids really focused on what we talked about at halftime about those keys at halftime."
As for Wood, he was the catylist for the night and likely remain for the rest of the season.
"He is invaluable to us," Biehler said. "He works hard but he gives thanks for his line up front. They worked extremely hard tonight. (Cheney) had a lot of big guys up front that we had to move and to be able to get that push and let Tanner keep his legs driving was a big boost for us."
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