TOWANDA — Two football seasons ended Thursday night with both teams wondering what could have been.
After delivering its most complete performance of the season, a 32-7 win over Trinity Academy in a Class 4A-District 12 finale, Cheney figured it could build on the victory if it had a chance.
Trinity expected to reach the playoffs, and a win Thursday would have enabled the Knights to continue their season.
But with 1-2 district records and the tiebreaker allowing Maize South to advance along with Andale, Cheney and Trinity have nothing to look forward to.
"I'm proud of those seniors," Cheney coach Dustin McEwen said. "If there's a way to go out, that's the way to go out for them."
Cheney rushed for 309 yards — 262 in the first half — as the Knights never found a way to contain a ground game led by Hunter Bolinger.
The Cardinals had rushing touchdowns on their first five drives. They didn't have a run longer than 19 yards but had 20 of at least seven yards on their way to 15 first downs in the first half.
Cheney called two pass plays early but scrapped that plan when its running backs found success.
"I would like to run and throw and have a nice mix," McEwen said. "But with what they were doing early we were able to get off the line and the backs were running hard. It's a lot more fun to win 32-7 with no completions than it is to lose."
Trinity answered Cheney's opening-drive touchdown with a two-play series that tied it 7-7.
Austin Kessinger broke a 45-yard run on the first play, followed by Morgan Burns' 35-yard touchdown.
Trinity's two prolific backs couldn't regain that electricity. Kessinger fumbled in Cheney territory on Trinity's second drive and he and Burns combined for 181 yards.
Turnovers kept Trinity from rallying — the Knights lost three fumbles and Scott Kempin threw a pair of interceptions.
"A game can swing so fast," Trinity coach Tyler Ryan said. "(Kessinger's fumble) was something that hurt us. There's going to be adversity in a game and we've got to learn to handle that and move forward."
Trinity Academy (5-4, 1-2) 7 0 0 0 — 7 Cheney (4-5, 1-2) 13 12 7 0 — 32
C—Bolinger 3 run (Miller kick)
T—Burns 35 run (Mork kick)
C—Bolinger 10 run (kick failed)
C—Wentworth 9 run (pass failed)
C—Bolinger 5 run (pass failed)
C—Keiter 5 run (Miller kick)
Rushing — Trinity Academy, Burns 17-98, Kessinger 11-83, Kempin 6-11; Cheney, Bolinger 21-135, Keiter 10-80, Dewey 8-42, Gould 6-33, Veach 4-9, Wentworth 1-9, Hubener 1-1.
Passing — Trinity Academy, Kempin 5-7-42-2; Cheney, Dewey 0-2-0-0.
Receiving — Trinity Academy, Kessinger 3-42, Green 1-1, Burns 1-(-1).