ST. MARIES –– Monday Night Football isn’t just for the NFL and the Kellogg Wildcats proved that they could win in primetime as they knocked off the Orofino Maniacs 34-24 at St. Maries High School.
After hazardous air quality forced Kellogg to cancel their original home game on Friday, the administration at Kellogg High School scrambled to find a way to make sure the Wildcats didn’t lose out on a big non-conference game.
With limited options, the game was rescheduled for Monday night at SMHS, with Kellogg acting as the home team so that Orofino didn’t have to make the drive to Kellogg on a school night.
From the opening kickoff the game felt important as both teams made impacts early and made for an intense, physical, and sometimes ugly affair.
The Maniacs chewed up more than half of the clock in the first quarter on their way to a touchdown.
At one point Kellogg forced them to punt, but the punt was muffed and recovered by Orofino who proceeded to drive into the endzone and take 8-0 lead.
The Wildcats responded by scoring 20 points in the proceeding five minutes after Wolfgang Beier scored on a 20-yard run and then a 20-yard catch, with a 30-yard Ryan Morgan touchdown sandwiched in between.
Orofino responded with a second quarter touchdown and some stout defense to go into the half trailing 20-16.
In the second half the Wildcats busted out some unconventional, if not flat out trick play offense when they ran a double pass from quarterback Chase Jerome to Raiden Rickets, who then connected with Chris Jennings for a 40-yard touchdown.
Another Maniac score cut the Wildcats lead to 28-24 with just over a quarter of regulation left to play, but Ryan Morgan would break away for a 60-yard touchdown to give the Wildcats the 34-24 lead that they would hold onto until the final horn.
“I think we’re getting better,” Wildcat coach Dan Lucier said following the game. “We’re one heartbeat, but we got a ways to go before we get where we want to be. But when we do our job we are a good team.”
Kellogg (2-1) will have this weekend off, but will travel to Omak, Washington, next week for a matchup with the Pioneers.