Recurring nightmare in Chelan

Vince Lovato/Lake Chelan Mirror
Tonasket’s Roberto Juarez breaks away for a 37-yard gain on a pass play in the second quarter of Friday’s contest on the Tigers’ only scoring drive of the night.

CHELAN – Tonasket’s Caribou Trail League football game at Chelan last year was pretty much a nightmare.

Unfortunately, the Tigers relived that unpleasantness in duplicate Friday, Oct. 26, falling behind 48-0 in the first quarter on the way to a 61-7 loss.

The Goats’ Michael Amsel, Jr., returned the opening kickoff 57 yards to set up Chelan’s first touchdown, and it only got worse from there as the Goats took advantage of five Tonasket turnovers to build an insurmountable lead. The Goats scored their first 28 points in the opening five minutes without the Tonasket offense ever taking the field.

“We were disappointed that we did not play better,” said Tonasket coach Jay Hawkins. “We just could not stop the momentum that Chelan generated from the first kickoff.”

If it seemed all too familiar to the Tigers, it was almost a replay of last year’s game on the same field, when Chelan scored three times in the first six minutes — including twice on fumble returns — on the way to a 42-0 first quarter lead.

The Tigers scored on a 12-yard Austin Booker run in the second quarter that was set up by a 37-yard pass from Jeff Stedtfeld to Roberto Juarez.

“When the final horn sounded,” Hawkins said, “we flushed it and started concentrating on this Friday’s game.”

Amsel, Jr., the former CTL MVP who was playing just his third game of the year after winning an eligibility appeal that took most of the season, accounted for six touchdowns for the Goats (4-5, 3-4 CTL). He was 7-of-9 passing for 178 yards and four touchdowns, returned a fumble 58 yards for a score and had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown. He also rushed for 30 yards on three carries.

Chelan won’t make the playoffs after going 1-5 before Amsel’s return. With him in the lineup, Chelan has outscored three opponents 193-13. The Goats will play at Newport this weekend in a non-playoff crossover game.

Booker led the Tigers with 77 yards rushing on 10 carries, with Collin Aitcheson adding 38 yards on eight carries.

Tonasket (4-5, 2-5) also has a non-playoff crossover Friday at Riverside (Chattaroy), with an early 6:00 p.m. start time. A victory would give the Tigers their first .500 season since finishing 5-5 in 2007.