As the annual West Valley-East Valley football rivalry approached, the biggest concern was whether the game would be played.
“We better play,” said EV coach Jim Clements on Tuesday, adding it could have been any time from tonight to Saturday.
Area football officials went on strike this week over a pay method dispute and the game depended upon referee availability. Outside officials have since been assigned for the regularly scheduled 7:30 p.m. Friday time.
“It’s really a bad deal,” said WV coach Steve Kent. “If the teachers’ association goes on strike it’s essentially the same thing. Kids’ activities are at stake if you don’t cross the picket line.”
The Knights, coming off a bitterly disappointing 19-16 loss to Cheney, need to win Friday to maintain any championship hopes. A victory by the Eagles would keep them unbeaten and steaming toward an end-of-season encounter with Cheney.
Last Friday EV didn’t allow a first down for the final 27 minutes and rallied from a 19-0 deficit against Cheney.
The Knights attempted a game-ending field goal that was ruled no good.
“Look at the doggone statistics. We had more total yards, return yards and first downs and lost the game,” said Clements, who still wonders about the call.
“We stunk it up coming out of the chute but in the final analysis, the tremendous way the kids made a ball game out of it, they certainly deserved a tie, I think.”
A pair of Pullman turnovers, on a blocked punt and bad center snap in the shotgun formation, resulted in two short touchdowns during WV’s 26-14 victory over Pullman.
The Greyhounds, stymied on the ground, went to the shotgun and threw for 220 yards.
“It went like we expected defensively except they threw and made it interesting,” said Kent. “It was certainly not a Rembrandt but it’s the first homecoming game we’ve won in awhile and needed it.”
The pending EV-WV game is more a must for the Knights than Eagles, but is big nonetheless.
“It’s one of the few times, last year being another, that something other than the rivalry is on the line,” said Kent.
East Valley adjusted to Cheney’s potent early offense and shut down the Blackhawks. West Valley, said Kent, needs to take advantage of its line size in order to remain unbeaten.
The significance of this week’s game is not lost on Clements.
“We have a legitimate second chance if WV beats Cheney,” he said. “But we’ve got to take care of business first.”
Bears go for GSL title
Tonight Central Valley faces its last likely obstacle to a Greater Spokane League football championship.
The Bears play Gonzaga Prep, which suffered its first loss of the season last week, 40-20.
“Whether Gonzaga won or lost made no difference,” said CV coach Rick Giampietri. “Throw out what happened. Their playoff chances rest in this game and they may pull out all the stops.”
Over the last two years a mere point separates the team following a tie and CV’s narrow win. Giampietri predicts another war.
“They have to win to get where they want,” he said.
So, too, does Central Valley. A victory would make them 6-0 in the GSL with only two games remaining and wins over every contender.
“I feel confident our boys will play well,” said Giampietri. “The way the offense puts points on the board, it’s not devastating if we give up a few.”
Last week CV played perhaps its best half of football, scoring 34 points against Shadle Park.
“I was scared to death about Shadle for two or three weeks considering it was a 5:30 Thursday game with Prep coming up,” said Giampietri.
EV girls seek cross country title
After finishing third in the Richland Invitational last Saturday, East Valley’s girls cross country team is after a second straight Frontier League championship.
The Knights are at Plantes Ferry Park at 4 this afternoon against West Valley in a race between unbeatens.
“(Jessica) Riehle and (Heather) Harmon are running great,” said EV Coach Nick Lazanis. “I think we can bust them up. If not it will be interesting.”
In Richland the Knights scored 120 points, behind Mead’s 90 and Ferris’s 114. Overall, Angie Simmers was sixth and Anne Marie Adams eighth with times of 19:08 and 19:30.
Other runners, Korinda Godwin and Cara Smith ran 20:06 and 20:11, Carmen Cook ran 20:27 and Sally Wulff ran 20:54.
Central Valley’s Jenni Saling was 17th overall in 19:46 and EV’s Chris Henderson was 22nd in the boys race at 16:21.