Undefeated Orofino to open CIL play at Grangeville

Maniacs overcome weather and hoop-la, shutout Badgers 14-0

By Ron Hanes

   The Maniacs found the going a little tougher than usual against Bonners Ferry last Friday. With a wet, muddy playing field and the Badgers being maybe a little better team than expected, Orofino’s usually hot offense still only needed to simmer as their ironclad defense overcame the distractions of Homecoming and allowed them to comfortably ride out a two score lead and move to 5-0 on the season.

   Tanner Schwartz, senior running back for the Maniacs, notched both of the scores in the first half: the first coming at 6:22 remaining in the first quarter on a leaping catch in the end zone, and the second on an eight-yard “ground and pound” run midway in the third period. Weather conditions had little effect on Schwartz’s game as he went 103 yards on 20 carries, chewing up the clock—and any hope the Badgers had of getting back in it. “We were able to run the ball well against them,” Schwartz said after the game. “They were pretty easy to shut down on defense so we just kept pounding it at them…chewing up the clock.”

   The Maniac defense was led by junior lineman, Luke Corder, who had an outstanding performance with 14 tackles, as Orofino’s defense took the ball away from their opponent five times on downs. The Maniacs’ usually potent passing game was almost nonexistent though, as Scotty Lee had to settle for just one catch for a two-point conversion following Schwartz’s second score. Except for the bone-jarring tackles from his cornerback position, fans saw little action from the reliable senior wide-receiver, who typically has 100 yards or more in receptions.

   “Field conditions had a lot to do with it—wet, muddy…running the ball worked so we stayed with it,” Lee reasoned in the post-game interview, which he was happy to share with Schwartz. “Bonners (Ferry) is a lot better team than in the past. They have made some coaching changes and they came ready to play…they’re a decent team, not great,” he added.

   “They were real athletic at the corners,” added Schwartz. “Their defense was probably the best we’ve faced this season.”

Maniacs at Bulldogs

   A lot of teams will be seeing action in their respective leagues this week but none of those matchups will be watched closer or have more significance to players, fans and league standings than the Central Idaho League (CIL) battle between longtime rivals, Grangeville and Orofino. The Maniacs have been unable to better the Bulldogs since Schwartz and Lee were freshmen. So both players agree: a Maniac victory is overdue!

   “This is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been in high school,” said Lee. “This game puts it all on the line for us. We either go all the way to the top or all the way to the bottom. It should be a great matchup.”

    “As long as we’re playing our top game we’ll be fine,” added Schwartz in a confident tone. “I don’t think anyone can beat us…Grangeville, or anybody. We just need to come ready to play and we’ll find a way to grind out a win.” Kickoff is 7 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) at the Bulldogs’ field.

   I wouldn’t want to miss this game for anything, but it’s also a great opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work these players and coaches have put into this 5-0 season by being in those stands to cheer them on when they need it—playing at Grangeville, they might just need it. “There is something fans might need as well,” Lee quipped: “Be sure and tell them to bring a coat!”

   If you can’t make it to the game, you can follow the action on KLER Radio 1300 AM starting at 6:40 p.m. Go Maniacs!

Injured player home

   There is good news on Maniac JV player James Bolling, who was injured in the Kellogg game Sept. 13. Doctors examined him the next day, but it wasn’t until Monday, when his mother took him to Gritman Medical in Moscow, that a nine-inch blood clot was discovered in his knee.

   Bolling spent the next five days at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane receiving treatment, and returned home Saturday. James’s family reports he is doing fine, already missing football and looking ahead to next year.