The Springdale Chargers couldn’t wait for their second football game this season.
The Chargers, who were routed by Tekoa-Oaksdale in their season opener two weeks ago, scored the first time they touched the ball, a 58-yard punt return by Shane O’Malley in a 48-0 win over Liberty (0-3) on Friday.
Unfortunately, O’Malley’s punt return was called back by a clipping penalty. It did not matter, since Mitch Peone legally scored a 45-yard run two plays later and the Chargers were in control the rest of the way.
Head coach Mark Edwards said the extra week off really helped since it allowed him to get a half-dozen players back in action. He also used the two weeks as a teaching tool for a team that relies on four freshmen at various times during the game.
“We’re young and those young guys are going to make mistakes,” he said.
Already up 8-0, the Chargers needed five plays to find the endzone the second time they got the ball. The 42-yard drive, set up by a Daniel Peone interception, was capped off on a 16-yard run by senior Taylor DeGraaf.
The Chargers rolled up 228 yards on the ground in the first half as they took a 29-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Liberty, hampered by three turnovers, was limited to 73 total yards in the game.
“I thought we swarmed really well,” Edwards said on the Chargers’ defensive effort.
“Tonight we were together as a team and played a little football,” added senior quarterback/linebacker Hunter Hedequist.
Any chance of a Liberty comeback was snuffed on the first play of the third quarter when Springdale junior Emmanuel Welch took the second half kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown.
Welch scored on a 25-yard run two plays after Hedequist recovered a fumble to increase the lead to 41-0 with 9:50 left in the third quarter.
Hedequist, making his second varsity start at quarterback last week, finished 5 of 9 passing for 52 yards.
“I was a little nervous,” said Hedequist on the first game, “but I was ready to have a good year.”
The Chargers will travel to Ritzville 7 p.m. Friday. The Broncos (3-0) defeated Kittitas 36-13 in non-league game last week.