When Central Valley’s playoff game with Kamiakin turned into an offensive shootout, the defense was forced into a guessing game.
Too often, said Coach Rick Giampietri, the guesses were wrong.
“We got into a situation where we were going to double cover their receivers,” said Giampietri of CV’s season-ending 42-28 loss to the visiting Braves. “Then their running game became very effective in the second half.”
Trying to decide which way Kamiakin was going to go proved difficult.
“We had a hard time putting the clamps on them,” Giampietri said.
The result was that CV finished the season at 9-1 despite the fact the Bears piled up more than 450 yards of total offense and three seniors had superb days.
R.J. Del Mese passed for 301 yards and three touchdowns. Ryan Millar caught 9 passes for 199 yards and two of those scores. Giorgio Usai rushed for 160 yards and the other score.
“I figured if we scored 28 points it would be enough to win,” said Giampietri.
He didn’t expect the defense to enable Kamiakin to post nearly identical offensive numbers and more points.
The Braves traveled 64 yards to tie the game less than a minute after CV took a 21-14 lead with 1:58 to go in the first half. Kamiakin prevented the Bears from scoring twice when they were inside the 20 and after CV recovered a fumble near midfield.
And they won the game with a 30-yard pass interception return midway through the final quarter.
It was only the second interception Del Mese threw all year.
“Their free safety bit and what we had was open,” said Giampietri. “R.J. didn’t see the linebacker coming across.”
The game needn’t have come to that, he said. Critical was Kamiakin’s game-tying score before half.
“If we played solid defense right there, we get the ball after half and could have had a 10 or 14 point lead,” said Giampietri. “It would have made a difference.”
CV then could have double-covered Kamiakin’s passing game. Instead Bear defenders gambled on where the Brave rushers were going.
It worked a few times, but more often than not it didn’t and CV’s season came to a disappointing early conclusion.
“It will hard to say goodbye to the seniors,” said Giampietri. “They are awfully nice kids.”
Expectations met and missed
The 1995 season was one of expectations met but also expectations missed.
CV went 9-0, its first outright and unbeaten Greater Spokane League championship. But the team expected better in the playoffs.
East Valley probably exceeded expectations, finishing 6-2-1 and second in the Frontier League. But for a pair of field goals, one made and the other missed, the Knights would have shared the title.
“I’d have to say we were a bunch of overachievers,” said coach Jim Clements. “We feel good about the season.”
Expected to challenge for the Frontier title, West Valley was right on track until the final two games of the season. The Eagles were then left frustrated by two successive losses and a 4-4-1 season.
University had its best season since 1992, finishing at 4-5 and a top-three GSL contender until the season’s final two games. The Titans suffered two painful losses, by a touchdown to playoff-qualifier Mead and by a point to Gonzaga Prep.
What of next year?
CV will build around eight players who saw substantial action and a strong junior class that includes returning starting defensive lineman Will Beck, defensive back Nate McFarlane, tackle Preston Crossman and linebacker Garrett Graham.
“It can happen again,” said Giampietri of CV’s repeat title chances. “Anything can happen once you get the fever.”
University returns one of the league’s top runners, Tim Buchanan, and top lineman, Zaq Flanary, and will be fine at quarterback and receiver.
East Valley brings back its entire offensive line, T.J. Horgan, Ryan Stengle, Paul Shogren, Joe Furgason, Ken Skogen and Kris Rankin.
Also back is quarterback Brian Lamarche and several running backs with experience.
“I think we’ll be adequate,” on offense, said Clements. “Wide receiver is my biggest concern.”
That and the fact the Knights have to replace a defense that graduates just about everybody.
Like the Knights, WV brings back a host of linemen, including Beau McCarty and Ryan Stockton.
The Eagles have perhaps the league’s best player in quarterback-linebacker Ty Gregorak.
But the team is thin in its junior class and will likely play sophomores who were part of this year’s unbeaten freshman team.
Clean sweep for GSL volleyball
Not only did Greater Spokane League volleyball players make up the best teams in state, they were the smartest.
University High’s varsity was recognized for best scholastic achievement in the classroom at the same time GSL schools were finishing first and second on the court at the State AAA tournament.
The Titans have a composite 3.76 grade point average for fall quarter, best among 83 AAA volleyball teams.
Which made it a clean sweep for the GSL which had the top four regional finishers and three state placers and the top academicians.
University finished fifth in the GSL volleyball league as well.
Team members are Sally Andreson, Devon Bakken, Sarah Cheney, Jessica Cole, Jamie Hills, Sally Jamison, Kristina McAuley, Megan McInturff, Jennifer Repp, Laura Sanderson, Gretchen Smith, Jessica Spear, Angel Whalen and Leslie Whitten.