Chiefs prepare for Maroons in season opener

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THE RONAN High School football team works on trying to block a kick during Thursday afternoon’s practice at Ronan High School. The Chiefs will get ready to play at Butte Central at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

The last couple of season, the Ronan High School football team hasn’t had a quarterback controversy as they’ve prepared to head into the fall season.

Last season, the Chiefs had settled on having quarterback Brendon Blood as their starting quarterback headed into the 2018 season.

Blood entered the 2018 season as the starter in there then home-opening game against Butte Central. What started out as a promising start to their season turned into near catastrophe when Blood was lost with a season-ending knee injury in the season-opener to Butte Central.

After Blood was lost for the season, the then sophomore QB Eric Dolence, Blood’s brother, stepped in and completed the season, and his performance allowed the Chiefs to compete for an Montana High School Assocation Class A playoff spot up until the last week of the season.

Chiefs coach Matt Detwiler all last season praised Blood’s maturity.

“That was rough on our team for that injury to happen right off the bat,” Detwiler said in a previous interview with the Leader. “That was our third drive in the opening game of the season. You could just kind of feel the despair because Brendon is an amazing athlete and we built our whole offense around his abilities. It was tough on his brother (Eric) to see him put in the ambulance. That was a moment where he had to wipe off his tears, step into those shoes and grow up a year faster. He did an awesome job and it was blessing in disguise. He has an entire year of varsity experience under his belt.”

This year, as the Chiefs get ready to kickoff at 8:30 p.m. against Butte Central, they find themselves in a similar situation as last year.

Dolence’s performance earned him the starting role and is the definitive starter headed into the regular season.

The Chiefs, unlike Polson, will get a chance to play a non-conference opponent headed into their first official week of the season.

The Chiefs have a new motto: “Effort Is A Choice,” which operates under the premise that the amount of prep work they devote to football directly correlates with the team’s success as they prepare to enter the season against the Maroons.

“I can teach footwork, eyes and ball-handling skills,” Detwiler said in a previous interview with the Leader. “How much effort our players put out, I can’t change that. As a parent, player effort is how much work you want to put in. Whatever you want out of it, you will get what you are willing to put into it. There is nothing promised as to where we are going to come out this season. I am just excited for the season to get going and I don’t have to think about the start of the season. I can finally get after it and get going.”

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