RONAN — Throughout the entire off season, the Ronan Chiefs football program committed itself to one quarterback: Brendon Blood.
The general consensus among the Chiefs’ coaching staff was his mobility and athleticism combined with his experience at the position made him their top choice. Last year, he was the 2016 contingency plan to former Ronan QB Kasey Mock, made him the Chiefs’ clear-cut choice as a signal caller to allow them to have a successful transition from Class B to Class A this season. Mock is beginning his freshman year playing football for NAIA school Montana Western.
Ronan, who committed to Blood throughout the off season, will now have to look for a second option at the quarterback situation after Blood sustained a potentially season-ending injury on the Chiefs first offensive sequence in their 38-7 season-opening loss to Butte Central Friday night at Ronan High School.
Chiefs head coach Matt Detwiler said he suspects Blood suffered a potentially season-ending knee injury.
“(Blood) came out and did a great job, but he may be out possibly the remainder of the season,” Detwiler said. “It was a big injury. It was one of those ‘oh no’ situations. I talked to him Friday after the game and (while he recovers from his injury), he will still be a part of our team. His role on our team will probably change to a coach’s role rather than a player’s role (while he recovers).”
The Chiefs continue to mull through other options as they prepare for their week two game Friday night against Stevensville at Stevensville High School.
Prospective sophomore quarterback Eric Dolence,, who is Blood’s brother, finished the game and Detwiler said he was “impressed” with how the young player handled being thrown into his varsity action.
“Eric finished the game and did an amazing job,” Detwiler said. “This was a way to be baptized by fire coming up against a very good (Class A) team and being thrown in there. He just did his job, didn’t complain and held himself up well even after he watched his older brother be carried off on a gurney. He played the majority of the rest of the snaps (of the game) and he was our guy from there on out.”
Detwiler said the team hasn’t officially decided on a quarterback headed into the week two non-conference matchup.
“It’s going to be a competition because nothing is set in stone,” Detwiler said. “We have some really good athletes and nothing is set in stone. We have Zeke Misa, who is a really good athlete and we might do some Wildcat stuff with him. Losing your quarterback is never ideal by any means but it doesn’t mean we will roll up and say ‘there goes the season.’”
The Chiefs have started their season transitioning from Class B to Class A with a brutal schedule. Ronan played Butte Central, they will play Stevensville and Dillon, and then renew their rivalry with valley foe Polson during homecoming week.
“Our biggest emphasis is to get the coaching staff and our kids to be prepared because Friday night was total chaos,” Detwiler said. “That is football. We will be searching for the guys on special teams. I have told everyone (on my team) to be prepared and know all of the plays because you might have to suit up and get your name called. When that happens, you have to know your stuff.”
Throughout every game Detwiler has maintained a philosophical approach towards winning and losing football games.
“Obviously, things didn’t go our way in a 38-7 game,” Detwiler said. “That is something that I learned playing football my freshman year in college. Things are never as bad as you think and they are never as good as you think. The game of football is always going to be that way, and you always have to keep that in mind.”
Ronan, who is still in the portion of their non-conference schedule, will use the next couple of games to modify their mistakes.
“There is a reason that you play non-conference games,” Detwiler said. “We now have a better idea of where we are at. Our team is a good football team. We are super physical and by no means (at this point of the season) are we scrapping the playbook.”